Above and Beyond Scholarship – Julita Inca Chiroque
Year of Scholarship and Conference Attendance: Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 2012
Country of residence at the time of receiving the ACM-W Scholarship: Peru
Julita Inca Chiroque is a High-Performance Computing Scientist. She has worked as a High-Performance Computing Software Specialist in the nuclear fusion field at UKAEA after graduating with a Master’s in High-Performance Computing at the University of Edinburgh in 2019. She has previous experience in High-Performance Computing in the U.S. at ORNL, where she worked with supercomputers such as Titan and Summit in 2018. Julita has over 10 years of experience working on worldwide Linux projects such as GNOME and Fedora. She has also been working in the IT industry in Peru for companies such as IBM, GMD and Atento Peru. She was a researcher and lecturer at universities in Peru, such as UNI, USIL and PUCP. She works as a reviewer of the Technological Magazine of ESPOL-RTE and also as an online trainer at BackTrackAcademy. She is a creative professional who writes actively in her blog. She is a worldwide speaker, graphic designer, content creator, press communicator, and photographer.
What has been a highlight of attending the conference (utilizing the ACM-W Scholarship)?
It was the first time I went to an overseas conference of outstanding and innovative private companies such as Google, IBM, Xerox and other top universities such as Uni of Texas, Illinois, Manchester, Hong Kong, and others. I was able to witness PhD and MS-level cutting-edge projects. This strongly inspired me to be an excellent Computer Science professional.
How did attending the ACM-W-sponsored conference impact your career?
Being one of the three winners in the ACM-W around the world positively impacted my career; it encouraged me to start off my computer science career in an international way. I was able to see how many successful women were directors and insightful leaders in the field. It gave me the confidence to plot my own path to success.
What has been your career highlight? What are you most proud of?
I am proud of being a role model for many students and professionals around the world. GNOME and Fedora mostly helped me to broaden my exposition on this matter. I was able to be a leader in my community, and in my role as an ambassador, for the part of the world from where I come.
What aspects of your career have you found challenging?
This computer world is led by a guys club. I did not only feel the difference of being a woman in IT in Peru, but I also felt the same in the two countries I have worked for, such as the US and the UK. I am still working on being a calm thinker like some of my male colleagues. However, I also feel my communication and interpersonal skills put me ahead.
What would you recommend to young people thinking of a career in computing?
First of all, determine the path in computing you want to follow. Nowadays, we have AI, HPC, data analysis, quantum computing, and other subsections that are part of the computing world. As soon as you decide your path, learn the algorithms that rule that sub-field. The programming language is later. You can study the impact of how to apply that technology in a specific sector, to finally choose an organization according to your knowledge and values.
Anything else you would like to share with us that we can highlight about your story?
Like all stories of success, I faced several failures in my life, but I learned from those early failures. That made me the strong, positive, ambitious woman I am today. I developed my creativity by learning new skills every day. I am still learning, looking to improve myself each day, not just to be a better professional but also to better serve the community around me.