Meet GOTO Chicago’s Grant Winners

April 15, 2019

With GOTO Chicago around the corner, we’re so excited to introduce the winners of our Diversity Grant. The grant, sponsored by Bloomberg, was created to help cover up to $500 in travel and hotel costs for those underrepresented in tech, along with a complimentary pass to attend the main conference days on April 29 and 30.

We’re constantly working to create an inclusive environment at GOTO, and we actively look for a broad range of tech topics and speakers to feature in order to create unique and inspiring events. This year’s Diversity Grant plays an important role in making sure we stay committed to our goal of making all of our events accessible, safe and inclusive for all.  

Below is a look at a few of the applicants we selected. We asked each winner why they wanted to attend GOTO Chicago and what they hoped to get out of the experience. Read on for a look at their answers…

  • Keylor Chavez is a full-stack developer from Costa Rica who now lives in London. He received his bachelor’s from Tecnológico de Costa Rica.
    • Why do you want to attend GOTO Chicago? I started working as a full-stack developer about two years ago, and one of the goals that I’ve set for myself for this year is to further develop my backend development expertise. I also want to get into the specifics of developing secure and scalable software.
    • What do you hope to get out of the experience? As a Costa Rican, I want to bring awareness to the quality of engineers in that part of the world and hopefully make the companies attending consider Central American engineers in their recruitment efforts. I’m also excited to let fellow Latinos and Central Americans know there are people like them working for tech companies in the US and Europe and attending high-quality conferences. If they feel represented, they will know that they can also achieve these things!
  • Saloni Shah is a senior software engineer who has worked with organizations such as ChickTech and Write/Speak/Code to improve the representation of women in tech.
    • Why do you want to attend GOTO Chicago? GOTO Chicago is a great conference with lots of opportunities to learn and network with great minds.
    • What do you hope to get out of the experience? I would like to attend to make new contacts and up my tech game!
  • Brianne Caplan is data scientist at a retail analytics startup called SwiftIQ. She is also the founder and president of Code Our Dreams, a non-profit dedicated to equipping students with the resources to build iOS applications that make a positive impact in our local communities.
    • Why do you want to attend GOTO Chicago?Lifelong learning is something I emphasize to our student cohorts. When mentoring, especially high school girls, I frequently receive feedback that there is too much to learn in the software development space, or that other students (usually male) have been coding for years, so it would be impossible to keep up with them (read: so why even try?). I have often felt this, too. Imposter syndrome is something I am aware of, but I believe attending conferences like GOTO and opening myself up to learning opportunities and experiences is critical to my goal of lifelong learning and combatting imposter syndrome that is so prevalent in the tech space.
    • What do you hope to get out of the experience? I am hoping to gain inspiration and perhaps inspire others. I am the only Data Scientist at my company and also the only technical woman at my company. The opportunity to meet others and make connections with people who share my interests and aspirations would be incredible for me.
  • Janiece Jones-Williams is new to the tech field. She is a mother of three and co-owner of two businesses. She recently completed a coding boot camp and is a part of the Girls Who Code Club in Detroit.
    • Why do you want to attend GOTO Chicago? GOTO Chicago seems so beneficial because it offers such a diverse litany of speakers in various IT fields speaking on various subjects that I could never learn on my own in two days. I think will allow me to gain knowledge on a vast amount of topics over a short period.
    • What do you hope to get out of the experience? I hope to gain a better understanding of the different fields in technology through engagement with experts.
  • Ursula Lucia Cervantes is a software engineer with more than 6 years experience in web development. She created WarmiLab in Peru to teach girls how to code.
    • Why do you want to attend GOTO Chicago? I would love to be part of the GOTO Chicago experience to learn about new trends and connect with industry experts.
    • What do you hope to get out of the experience? I’m particularly interested in the Machine Learning and Quantum Computing sessions because I’d like to learn how algorithms are developed for quantum computers and the potential they have.

Special thanks to our Chicago Diversity Grants sponsor Bloomberg for making this possible!