NCWIT 2012 Summit – Flash Talk, Jinisha Patel

JEFFREY FORBES: I’m going to ask our first speaker to come up on the stage. So, Jinisha Patel is a winner of the NCWIT award for aspirations in computing and a student of computer science in engineering at Union County College. Her talk is programmed because you’re worth it.

JINISHA PATEL: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen and thanks Jeff for the introduction. My talk is basically saying and breaking stereotypes that we all face. We are told that being a computer science and engineering major you’re supposed to be an introvert. For me I am not an introvert, I talk to a lot of people, I’m very bubbly. Growing up I was always playing with the boys. I only had two friends, girls, that were girls, and I used to play soccer, cricket, video games and everything. And my parents were like, “What is wrong with her? Why is she hanging out with all the boys?” You see all these girls hanging out doing their hair, braiding it and I’m over here kicking the soccer ball coming home, all the dirt on me. And then there were two computer science majors that came as tenants in our house and I saw this computer and I was like, hah, what is this? This is amazing. And I look at it, and I fell in love. I was at their house twenty-four seven. I never even went home. My mom would scream from across the playground. She’d be like, “Jinisha, come home.” And I would just pretend that I never even heard her. Just cause. And they were all just be wondering are you sure she’s a girl? My mom actually calls me her son because I’m very, I’m a very a tomboy and bubbly and everything that you wouldn’t expect me to be if you look at me. And people get surprised when I tell them I’m a computer science and engineering major, which I [crowd laughs] This is how I reacted when they were putting up my own computer that my mom bought because she wanted me to stay home at one point to come home and eat and stuff. So I was so excited, I was like come on man what is so taking so long? You gotta put this stuff up, I gotta go on this. And this is me [crowd laughs] This was exactly me this is how I looked. I was like, “Yes, yes, yes!” Finally I got my dream, it was my big, big dream that I had my lapped computer and I, I kinda learned computer by myself because my parents didn’t go to college. None of my parents are STEM people. And these were my friends, they were like, “Where is she? Gotta play soccer, man, where is she? I don’t see her.” Cause we had all these groups, little things set up and I never showed up and they’re like, “Wow, she dropped off the face of Earth.” This was my mom. Cause, this was when all because I didn’t work. And when you come from an Indian family, you are expected to help your mom and your sister. Yeah I didn’t really get all, off the computer, at all. I would be, my mom would be making chiputtees and I would be like, cause I didn’t really wanna stay. This was my reaction. Say hi to Ryan Gosling. I had to. It says, “I had a feeling about her.” Same with my first computer, I didn’t even. I knew that there was something in that thing that. And then I was introduced to the NCWIT community. This is actually one of the posts where the girls lost their iTouches that were given to them as winners. So I was, everybody was telling them, “Oh you should download this app. You could track your iTouch.” For me, this was my idea. Let’s just go all Sparta on them, be like, “This is NCWIT give me your iTouches back!” Cause of course we don’t want to, forget it we go all Sparta on them. It’s great you go to a community and you see people that are all like you and you don’t expect them and they accept you the way you are. This semester, my professor was, let me just say I went up during the first day I was like, “Hi I have a little Java knowledge, would you mind giving me some extra work? Maybe something that I don’t know. And he’s like, “Go sit down.” And I was like, this was my reaction. This was just like me, I never even attended a single lecture guys. I’m letting you know that. I was like, “Just give me an N.” The funniest thing I got an A. All the guys in the class took all my lab programs and I tutored them during my final exams. And they all got B pluses. During internship interviews this I went to an internship interview, 40 people. Five of them were girls, three of them were business majors and two of them were computer science majors. And this was me I was like, computer science major here. You need something? And this is what we were doing after that. When our internship was up like, we got this. We got this in the bag. We definitely got this in the bag. That’s with everybody, I met Marissa, she’s also a winner and I’ve never even met her. I’ve just talked to her. I’m working on a mobile app called Techicks, which is given an opportunity by NCWIT and this is what I think we are doing. At least, that’s what I think. That’s what my boss thinks. Hi Doug wherever you are. But there’s a little bit secret, we do this. We download turtles on the Google Plus thing, but I don’t think he knows yet, but we’re just kidding of course Doug, we work sometimes. But it’s great, I’ve never even met any of these girls before. I talk to them through phone, through video chat, and we’ve got so much closer. I’m just letting you know that program because you’re worth it. Because it’s very easy to be a easy, breezy, beautiful CoverGirl. But to be original and to be a easy, breezy, computer girl is hard. Just because you like barbies or you like soccer, or you like video games, doesn’t mean that you have to be that person. You could be anything that you want. Your passion is what really makes you, not your likes and dislikes. [crowd applause]

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