Category Archives: News & Reviews

Barbara Merrill in Tanzania

Barbara Merrill, Tanzania 2016 img_0080

Barbara Merrill describes herself in her email signature as a “Certified Ergonomist and A Very Good Friend” – and she is indeed both. Barbara is also a parishioner at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and a person with albinism (PWA).

In these last two capacities, Barbara celebrated her retirement by traveling to Tanzania to help albino children and their families. She worked with a Cerebral Palsy Clinic, visited the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) Step by Step school and other schools in Arusha, participated in an Albinism Conference to educate village leaders in Ngorongoro Crater, and visited an Asante Miriamu Foundation clinic and children’s camp in Kigoma and Kabanga.

This month, Barbara gave a report to St. Andrew’s called “Trip to Tanzania” about her 5 November 2016 – 12 December 2016 travels. Some facts she presented about Tanzania:

  • 70% of the population is rural
  • Capital Dar es Salaam and Dodoma
  • 68% below poverty level
  • Large percentage of population under 15 years old Generally high birth rate about 5 per woman
  • High infant mortality rate – nutrition, early and frequent pregnancies, inadequate maternal health.
  • Tourism is about 20% of the Tanzanian Economy

One of the most interesting of her slides for me was called “Myths About Albinism”

  • PWAs are ghosts
  • Mother slept with a white man
  • They don’t die just fade away
  • Magical powers
  • PWAs are evil
  • Albinism a curse or punishment
  • PWAs have pink eyes
  • Albinism is contagious

Thanks to Barbara for her dedication, teaching, and great heart!

Barbara Merrill, Kabanga Camp, Tanzania 2016 img_0080

Barbara Merrill, Asante Miriamu Gates Tanzania, 2016 img_0084

Barbara Merrill Tanzania 2016 img_0066

Images Copyright Barbara Merrill 2016

Leave a comment

Filed under Church, News & Reviews

TechWomen Kyrgyzstan Delegation, and Uzbekistan Trip

Kyrgyzstan TechWomen Opening Event 13 September 2016

In February-March 2017, I will join the TechWomen Delegation to Kyrgyzstan in Central Asia. I look forward to working Yelena Filipchik and other TechWomen Fellows in Bishkek, spending a week giving talks and making presentations to women, girls, technical startups and the STEM community.  After the week in Kyrgyzstan, Saida Yusupova has invited me to Tashkent in Uzbekistan for a few days to help give Technovation training on mentoring and leadership.

So far, I have been focused on getting my flights sorted out.  Spending hours on the Hipmunk travel site, I discovered that (depending on the day of the week) you can economically get to Bishkek from either San Francisco or San Jose, flying through Istanbul, Moscow, Dubai, Frankfurt, or Beijing.  My flights will go through Dubai. Just travel time (not counting layovers) will be about 20 hours each way.

It cost about $1,000 less to buy two round trip tickets: California-Kyrgzstan-California and Kyrgzstan-Uzbekistan-Kyrgzstan than to book a single trip.  This means I have to transfer my bag from airline to airline myself but the layovers are very long, so there is time for that.  I am still thinking about what to do during the unavoidable 19+ hour layover in Dubai coming home.

I am also reading up on what to see in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan on the Lonely Planet website.  The TechWomen Delegation orientation meeting by IIE is next week.

Yelena Filipchik, Kyrgyzstan, with Mentor Certificate, Dec 2016

Uzbekistan TechWomen Pitch Poster October 2016

Kyrgyzstan TechWomen Pitch Poster October 2016

Saida Yusupova and Katy Dickinson, TechWomen, October 2016

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

Introducing Harpswell Women

Harpswell Women in Cambodia 2016

Today I ran a blogging workshop online for 18 women, of whom most were in Cambodia with the Harpswell Foundation school in Phnom Penh.  The women are college students in Psychology, International Relations Agronomy, Mathematics, Medicine, Communications, and Dentistry, among other study disciplines.

Harpswell in a Nutshell

“We operate two dormitory and leadership centers for university women in Phnom Penh that provide free housing and food, leadership training, and critical thinking skills to some of the brightest and most ambitious young women in Cambodia while they are attending universities. Our students attend 20 different universities in Phnom Penh… Our alumnae are becoming a powerful wave that will help move Cambodia into the future.”

Some of their stories:

  • Srey Pov is one of the Harpswell women who is working on a video project in her home village of Siem Reap. She says that: “…the video project brought me closer to my past dreams, and that it has given me the opportunity to share my story with other people.”
  • Somaly Soun is from Sihanoukville, which is a beautiful fishing village on the beach where they eat a great deal of seafood.  Her mother is a housewife.  Somaly is a first year student studying to be a Dentist. She says: “I want to tell the world about my community and how they live.”

We created this blog post together.  I learned of the Harpswell school from Heather Ramsey, Trish Tierney, and Amanda Schwartz of WAKE International.  I am delighted to meet these impressive students!

My “How to Blog: Best Practices” slides are on Mentoring Standard’s website.

Harpswell Women in Cambodia 2016

Harpswell Women in Cambodia 2016

Harpswell Women in Cambodia 2016

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).

Images Copyright 2017 by Harpswell Foundation

Leave a comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, Mentoring Standard, News & Reviews

What the Presiding Bishop Said

Tweet from RealEpiscopal 11 Jan 2017, Katy Dickinson and Presiding Bishop Panel on 7 Jan 2017, photo by Elrond Lawrence

“You are doing it.  Keep going.” is what Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry said in Salinas, California, on 7 January 2017. I was a member of the panel that asked questions after his keynote. From my notes, my opening question was:

“The Silicon Valley has a skewed population.  In the high tech world where I work, there are about 25% female, 4% Latino, and 2% Black in the computing professions.  In Elmwood Jail where I lead an Education for Ministry seminar each week, men and women are separate and there are 42% Latino and 29% Black. I feel like I live in two worlds. What can we do to reach out, to bring this divided community together?”

When Bishop Michael answered “You are doing it.  Keep going.”  I heard that the answer lay in outreach ministries like mine – and in telling people about that work. Individuals with a foot on both sides can connect a community.

It is a good but a little scary to have an experimental program succeed so well.  I have been thinking a great deal about what Bishop Michael said – and about what to do next.  The Episcopal Diocese of El Camino RealSaint Andrew’s Episcopal ChurchCIC, and EfM have strongly backed our jail-based seminar during the last year.  My first step was to talk with the CIC Chaplain for Elmwood, and then with the EfM program at the University of the South – School of Theology, about starting an additional class at Elmwood.  They support expanding the program.  Now to find more funding!

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).

Images Copyright 2016 by Katy Dickinson and Elrond Lawrence

 

1 Comment

Filed under Church, News & Reviews

Being the Only Woman in the Room

TAB, Sun Microsystems Technology Advisory Board, Greg Papadopoulos, Steve Ward, Ivan Sutherland, Danny Hillis, Dave Patterson, Mike Splain, June 2008

This week I met the Rev. Liz Milner, new CIC Chaplain for Elmwood Jail where I hold a weekly Education for Ministry (EfM) seminar in a men’s medium-security dorm. During this introductory conversation, I mentioned to Liz that I was comfortable working as the EfM Mentor in a men’s facility. After so long working as an executive in Silicon Valley technical companies, I would have to be comfortable being the only woman in the room!  NCWIT reports that only 25% of US professional computing jobs are held by women, with numbers much lower at senior levels.

For decades I designed and managed programs for Sun Microsystems such as the TAB – Technology Advisory Board, pictured above. It was an honor to work with world-class innovators and leaders like Ivan Sutherland, Greg Papadopoulos, and Danny Hillis, but with very few exceptions, they were all male.

Women in technology meet each other at conferences, like the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing (over 15,000 attended in 2016 – about 90% of whom were women), or in professional programs like TechWomen or Technovation.  We keep aware of our accomplishments as a group by means of projects like the Notable Technical Women cards and posters, and by awards such as Women of Vision. Women geeks are often the only female in the room – but there are many rooms!

EfM at Elmwood Jail, Katy Dickinson, Patrick Ryan, 4 inmates, Milpitas CA, Aug 2016

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).

Images Copyright 2008-2016 by Katy Dickinson

1 Comment

Filed under Mentoring & Other Business, News & Reviews

Presiding Bishop Speaks in Salinas

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Curry was featured at an all-day event at Sherwood Hall in Salinas, California, on Saturday, 7 January 2017. I was on the panel that asked questions after his keynote presentation. I was also on the Tech Team that helped to create the event – with my husband John Plocher and the Rev. Stephenie Cooper.

With the “PB” on the stage was our own Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, and the Rev. Canon Stephanie Spellers.  On the panel with me were Dave Mora (former Salinas City Manager), and the Rev. Ian Dellinger (Rector of St. Stephen’s, San Luis Obispo).  The moderator was Joe Heston (President & General Manager of KSBW).  A video of the event is in development.  About 650 attended the event.

Thanks to my EfM Co-Mentor Karen Carlson for the photo of me on the stage!

John Plocher, Clay Whittington, Rev. Stephenie Cooper, Canon Stephanie Spellers, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Dave Mora, Rev. Ian Dellinger, Joe Heston, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017, photo by Karen Carlson

Canon Stephanie Spellers, Bishop Mary Gray-Reeves, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry, Joe Heston, Salinas, 7 Jan 2017

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).

Images Copyright 2017 by Katy Dickinson and Karen Carlson

3 Comments

Filed under Church, Home & Family, News & Reviews

Guadalupe River High

Guadalupe River at Alma/Lelong - with Paul, San Jose CA 8 Jan 2017

The Guadalupe River in our San Jose backyard is supposed to rise very high tonight – according to NOAA (the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or Weather Service):

NOAA - Guadalupe River Above Almaden Expressway, 3:15 pm 10 Jan 2017

We and our Willow Glen neighbors along the river have been watching it with care. Twenty years ago, the other bank overflowed and water came up from the storm drains to wet our basements.  The Guadalupe River Flood Protection Project by the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the United States Army Corps of Engineers has been working against a repeat of that disaster.

On 9 February 2015, I posted “Guadalupe River – Happy to Be Wet” with pictures of how high and low our river can go.  I measure by the distance of the stair railing (about half way up the bank) relative to the water. Two days ago, the railing went almost entirely under – NOAA’s measurement was 7.94 feet.  Tonight, the river is predicted to rise to 9.6 feet.

Guadalupe River at Alma/Lelong, San Jose CA 8 Feb 2015
8 Feb 2015

Guadalupe River at Alma/Lelong, San Jose CA 29 Sep 2016
29 Sep 2016

Guadalupe River at Alma/Lelong, San Jose CA 8 Jan 2017
8 Jan 2017

Guadalupe River at Alma/Lelong, San Jose CA 8 Jan 2017
8 Jan 2017

If you want to receive Katysblog posts by email, please sign up using the Sign Me Up! button (upper right).

Images Copyright 2015-2017 by Katy Dickinson

Leave a comment

Filed under Home & Family, News & Reviews