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The Creative Bridge Towards Innovative Technology

 


 Today, there are people who sit around and discuss solutions and there are people who are the solution. Meet Rashida White, a young professional who is intelligent, savvy and enthusiastic about the future of technology. In the digital world, she is a junior instructor and creative leader who is constantly designing new experiences. Rashida also spends a significant amount of time mentoring underserved young adults through music and self expression. Our reality is based on what we have been exposed to. The more tools we have to look at reality, the more ways to lead to understanding. Interactions and real life experience is constructive towards awareness and cultural sensitivity.
Rashida's charisma and dedication to the arts and technology is truly inspiring and most importantly defines her passion for community empowerment. She has a simple yet profound view of how technology will continue to advance successfully. Innovative technology in 2014 is about rolling up your sleeves and finding not just new ideas but ones that are effective in the real world. I believe human connection is the key to cutting edge resources in #technology. Find out how Rashida White ended up making history at the White House. 

 Give me a little about your background.  
 I am a User Experience Designer, Teaching Artist and a musician. I am passionate about bridging the digital divide and empowerment through creative expression. Designing experiences that model behaviors that exist throughout everyday interactions, both digitally and in the "real world".  In the day, I work for General Assembly as a Junior Instructor for their User Experience Design Immersive program. The rest of my time is spent mentoring low income and underserved young adults (18-26 years old) for Koplin and Propati Partners, providing design and technology education and training to underserved communities through captivating our youth and inspiring progress. I also work as a teaching artist for Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls (WMRC) and Brooklyn Arts Council, teaching music and empowering our youth through creative expression. With that being said, it is important for me as an educator to lead by example and empower individuals with a supportive community to help achieve their dreams. Thus, I am passionate about creativity, education, equality, equal opportunity and cultural sensitivity.


How did you get involved with Out in Tech and why? 
I got involved with Out in Tech researching different technology networking events here in NYC. I thought it would be beneficial for me to network and get to know people out in tech, and be able to have my own community in the tech world.  


I've heard some people say why is the lgbt community drawing attention to themselves? Why do they need their own space in the tech world? How do you approach this?
I think for anyone, regardless or what career you are in or lifestyle you lead, need connections and emotional attachments in external sources. I feel it is important to build a perception of yourself from your world view. In other words, building communities and people who are empathetic to you and your needs makes life easier because you exist in a network.


Why are organizations like Out in Tech important? 
Organizations like OIT are important because it brings visibility to our community within the tech world. With visibility comes representation and opportunities to network with others. These types of organizations have made it possible to tackle some of the issues within our community and solve it with technology.

Congrats on being one of the few selected to go to the White House. Tell me about your invite and what  you where able to accomplish at the first lgbt innovation summit.  
Out in tech sent out an email blast to past Out In Tech (OIT) attendees with an opportunity to be a part of an inaugural LGBT Innovation Summit sponsored by the White House Office of Public Engagement and the Office of Science and Technology Policy. Because of limited spaces, they asked those who were interested to apply. I decided to apply because there are things I am passionate about and would like to meet like minds to partner with and build solutions for not only the LGBT community, but for everyone. OIT had over 200 applicants and they blindly selected 15. I was one of the 15 selected to represent OIC at the White House. What we were able to accomplish was bringing awareness to issues in specific communities within the LGBT community. We were then able to utilize one another as resources to see if we could tackle these issues with technology. Many connections were made that day and I’m excited to see what tech solutions are going to come out of it.


In your perspective as a member of this organization, a woman and person of color, what type of universal wisdom will keep technology innovative? 
Empathy


Are these meetings open to allies?
Of course! Allies are always welcome and the White House LGBT Innovation Tech Summit had a strong representation of LGBT allies. How someone chooses to identify is none of my business, I am more concerned with what you have to offer, what I can give to you and how we can learn from each other. 


What have you gained from your experience? 
I realized how important it is to represent who you are and offer your services to folks, as you never know who is in need of your skills.

Do you prefer being called geek or nerd? Why? 
I really don’t have a preference, but if I had to choose one, it would be ‘geek’. I think they both have been reclaimed over the years and have become more of a compliment instead of a put down. 

How can we find out about meetings and workshops? 
Check out Eventbrite and Meetup.com.

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