KubeCon Diversity Scholarships: A Committee Member and Former Recipient’s Perspective

By February 26, 2018 Blog

 By Kris Nova, ‎Senior Developer Advocate at Heptio, co-author of “Cloud Native Infrastructure: Patterns for Scalable Infrastructure and Applications in a Dynamic Environment,” and Kubernetes contributor

In 2016, I attended my first KubeCon + CloudNativeCon in Seattle, Washington. I was one of 5 diversity scholarship winners for the conference. The CNCF funded the trip, and the event dramatically changed my life. Almost 2 years later, I am now an ambassador of the CNCF and one of the members of the diversity committee. I contribute to Kubernetes, and am a published author. All thanks to the CNCF taking a chance on me and giving me an opportunity to participate.

The CNCF offers funding and support to help bring those from traditionally underrepresented and/or marginalized groups in the technology and/or open source communities to KubeCon + CloudNativeCon events. The diversity scholarship offers free registration, up to a $1,500 stipend for travel to KubeCon, and a number of networking activities once at the conference.

When I applied, I had no idea if I even qualified for the scholarship. I thought I was just an insignificant software engineer and an openly gay and transgender one at that. On a whim, I applied and was one of the lucky few to receive the scholarship. Now, as a member of the committee tasked with selecting the diversity scholarship winners, I can share that it is not always easy. We try to measure candidates based on how much we think they will benefit from the event and how the event could impact their technical goals. We look at technical fit and interest. We prioritize those who would otherwise not be able to attend the event. We never grade candidates based on what makes them diverse.

Figure 1: Kris Nova at KubeCon + CloudNative NA

If you are doubting if you should apply for the scholarship or not, I suggest you go ahead and apply! It’s a great opportunity to get your name out there, and last KubeCon we were able to take every candidate who applied and could attend the conference. There are no hard criteria for what qualifies a candidate, and each candidate will be reviewed by the committee. You can apply for the scholarship here. I would suggest sharing details about yourself, your technical goals, any work you are proud of, and links to places we can find out more about you (LinkedIn, Github, Twitter, etc). This is your chance to let us know how the event would impact you, and what you plan to do to take advantage of your time at the event.

We also appreciate when scholarship winners can share their story about the event via a blog after the event is over. Here is my original story for an idea of what others are writing about. Please reach out to the CNCF if you have any questions or feedback about the scholarship! Also feel free to reach me on twitter if there is anything I can do to help.

Scholarship deadlines for KubeCon + CloudNativeCon Europe 2018 close March 2nd, so hurry up and apply!