Andrea Delgado-Olsen is the founder of Native American Women in Computing. Check out her interview with CMD – IT
Tell me about your life growing up.
I was born in Oakland California and grew up 10 miles away in Orinda during my middle school years. My father was a financial business manager for the Peralta School District, my mother was the Director of the San Francisco Bay Area field office for the Office of Special Counsel. I grew up surrounded by strong women – my mother, my grandmother and my great grandmother. I also had a large extended family, our most recent family reunion had over three hundred people.
Did you start off in Computer Science?
I actually started out studying biotechnology at a local community college, I loved math and science. I ended up getting into teaching in 1998, after I had my first son. I took an early childhood education class and then took 12 units to become a teacher by getting my certificate of completion. I taught pre-school in Moraga for 15 years and I had two more children.
How did you end up in Computer Science?
When I went back to school to finish my Bachelor’s degree, in 2013, I took a contemporary computing class and loved it. I had a great professor at Mills College who became my mentor and a good friend. I graduated from Mills College in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in education and then continued studying at Mills for a Master’s Degree in Computer Science. My professor, Ellen Spertus, a long time member of Systers, recommended to her students attend a conference for women technologists, the Grace Hopper Celebration. I, along with three others, applied to be volunteers at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. We were accepted! We took our midterms, hopped in a car and drove to Phoenix with my husband driving us. I was a typical newbie but I loved it and went to all the sessions I could. It was inspiring to be at a conference surrounded by other women in Computer Science.
Happy Ada Lovelace Day! Today, in honor of Ada Lovelace, the world celebrates all of the accomplishments of women in science, art, design, technology, engineering, and math. Each year, Adafruit highlights a number of women who are pioneering their fields and inspiring women of all ages to make their voices heard. Today we will be sharing the stories of women that we think are modern day “Adas” alongside historical women that have made impacts in science and math.