Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Mozilla All Hands London

*Disclaimer: This event happened last year. As many of you know, from my Instagram and social media, I have a completely different hairstyle now.*

What is Mozilla All Hands London?

Mozilla All Hands London is a cross organization workweek for staff and volunteers of Mozilla. People who have spent the past year working on teams remotely all gather to work in person. This allows for greater productivity and creativity flow.

Many open source contributors understand the drawbacks from trying to push big projects with a team that is located all over the world. To compensate for time zone differences and resource restrictions, Mozilla hosts this huge event two times a year. Last year was my first year attending as a volunteer for Mozilla's Campus Club campaign.

Fast forward a few months, I am now deep in the open source trenches... I am now the Mozilla Reps North American Regional Coach. Like any coach, this just means I am an advocate for my team, a motivator, organizer, and resource gatherer. Moreover, my team is a group of North American open source super stars!

What's so cool about Mozilla All Hands London?

1. I know more staff and volunteers at Mozilla now!
Connections: Open design, leadership toolkit, Mozilla IoT/connected devices, Mozilla Participation (Mozilla Reps, Campus Clubs, etc.)

2. Present to the CEO of a company! Who? ME!     
Opportunity to present to Chris Beard (Mozilla CEO) on the importance of the Mozilla Campus Clubs initiative

3. Using my engineering education for good:      
Designed an example Campus Club activity/workshop

4. The world of Open Source contribution is hard to understand and is non-linear     
Learned and witnessed the Mozilla organization policies/hierarchy (This is important for understanding how a community is governed).

5. Open Source's biggest Cheerleader in Boston!     
Motivated, more dedicated to the cause of free and open source web

Meet & Greet with Mozilla CEO Chris Beard

group photo

A fellow Mozilla volunteer and I (She is from Africa - how cool! I would love to visit.)

Changing the "normal" image of an engineer ONE GIRL AT A TIME

What's REALLY cool about Mozilla All Hands London

Top experiences from Mozilla All Hands London

1.      Meeting other campus clubs and leaders (India, Philippines, Argentina, Italy, etc.)

2.      Hearing about other Mozilla projects and how they all connect

3.      Building personal connections with fellow Mozillians

4.      Experiencing London (food, music, culture)

5.      Learning about other Mozilla opportunities: I enjoyed and valued doing this in-person because there are hundreds of Mozilla wikis, websites, and Telegram channels that I would have to read in order to find something that was simply communicated to me in-person (saving everyone a lot of time!).

Grammarly yours, Semirah D

P.S. I've rewritten this blog post so many times.. I'm relieved to finally have this content out! I mean this event happened summer 2016... just a showcase of how hectic my life is. Every time I typed out a post or did a write up on Word, the content always ended up erased or disappearing.

It's like the universe didn't want my readers to see how awesome it is to contribute to open source until 2017. 

keywords: #womenintech, #womeninstem, #womeninos, #opensource, opensource, Mozilla, firefox, women in engineering, women in tech, black girls code, black female engineer, natural hair, short black girl engineer, sound of charm, tech blog, girl tech blog, girl engineer, converse, London, tech conference, technology, foss, fosdem, contributor, north America, usa, Canada

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

New England International AutoShow | Toyota Boston

OMJ Media Photography

*Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by SheBuysCars and Toyota. All content and expressed opinions are my own.*

Monday, January 2, 2017

Track Suit

Augusta Active Tracksuit review

3 out of 5 stars

3 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

4 out of 5 stars

Jacket: $37
Pants: $33
The price was rated 3 out of 5 stars because there are so many other affordable alternatives. In all of the cheerleading/dance teams that I've done, our tracksuits ranged $40 - $60 and that included embroidered/bedazzled logos.

The Augusta tracksuit earns a 4 out of 5 for style. The tracksuit is adorable and their whole line of athletic gear is pretty cute and fitting for your workout needs. As you can tell in my photos, the suit is versatile and can be worn for casual errands (like an Adidas tracksuit).

The Augusta tracksuit is comfortable but it isn't very comfortable which is why it earned 4 out of 5 stars. The fabric is soft and the suit is easy to put on and wear. The jacket and pants fit snuggly on my curves.

Performance was rated 3 out of 5 stars because (as you can tell in the photo above), the white stripe has gotten dirty from normal use. For an athletic jacket, I need something that can roll with the punches, just as hard as I do. The jacket and pants are great for post-workout, jogs, and other light activities. However, it does not withstand with anything tougher than that. 

I used the tracksuit for more than just traveling from the gym back to my home so, I need a tracksuit that can work for multiple occasions. I'm curious as to how their leggings would hold up in a crossfit workout or Zumba class. Would they be tough enough to roll and jump around?

Also the fabric on the back of the jacket is slightly fraying. It looks like it occurred due to me wearing another jacket on top of it. This is another reason why the Augusta tracksuit doesn't meet my standards for durability in athletic wear.

What's your favorite athletic gear brand from 2016?? I plan on wearing my faves to beat my new year's resolutions and tone up for spring break!

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Disclaimer: The Augusta tracksuit was provided complimentary however, opinions are all honestly mine.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Women in Business Killing The Game

Lesley Jane Seymour, media entrepreneur former editor of MORE Magazine and Boston Blogger Royalty, Semirah Dolan

The Massachusetts Conference for Women experience this year was one big affirmation and motivation to get rid of my Imposter Syndrome. The Massachusetts Conference For Women is the largest women's conference in the state, offering community and connection, information and inspiration, motivation and momentum.

I attended a handful of workshops held by amazing women in business killing the game, however, everything I learned tied back to the reoccurring motif of imposter syndrome. You all know (my faithful readers) that from personal experience, I’m going to tie the case of imposter syndrome to the woes of being a women in engineering.

What’s Imposter Syndrome??

Do you fear that you’re a poser? Do you question if you are worthy? Are you scared that you couldn’t possibly be qualified to fill the shoes required in your position?

Sadly that’s a fear that strikes many of us – especially women [in engineering].
HGTV Real Estate TV Show Host, Egypt Sherrod and Boston Blogger Royalty, Semirah Dolan

How Women in Engineering can kill the Imposter Syndrome curse:

1.     If you need help stopping imposter syndrome, seek it!
Keys to seeking help: We are all competing in innovation so, take it upon yourself to find a mentor or co-worker that you can bounce ideas and thoughts with. It will take time to find the right person BUT in that time, build yourself and your network UP!

2.     You are in your position for a reason, don't doubt why you are in your seat, hit the gas pedal and go! If you fail, so what: you either get a blessing or a lesson

Keys to professional self-doubt: if you feel constrained or threatened at work then you probably haven't invested in other relationships, build relationships with the other team members so that it lessens the odds and chances of one individual or group constraining you.   

3.     Faking it, till you make it? if it works.. go with it!
[Need proof? Peep how I did the impossible at my first hackathon with no experience here]

Key to Faking it: while your faking it, ask questions! The more you know, the easier ‘faking it’ becomes. Soon it will all be real, with more time/experience.
Carla Harris, Wall Street powerhouse and Boston Blogger Royalty, Semirah Dolan
Self – doubt is crippling and presents one of the greatest barriers to becoming an authentic leader. [This #MassWomen workshop] Brought me close with some of today’s most prominent women to share invaluable leadership lessons for increasing my confidence and presence. Using their real life experiences as they climbed the ladder, they helped me reach beyond my comfort zone and explore strategies to eliminate feelings of inadequacy and achieve authenticity including:

Why executive presence matters;

How to deal with and overcome fear, self-doubt and imposter syndrome;

The importance of building trust and credibility to accomplish more; and

How to find and use my most powerful  and genuine voice.

Panel Group Photo
Parting tips:
As you climb and build your experience, your skills go with you. They don’t stay at the startup you spent a year at, or the internship you did for 3 months, or the classes you took for four years. Your skills are portable and adaptable.

Your Java skills aren’t contained to your Java class.. Your negotiating skills aren’t contained to office hours during finals week. I  take my skills and use them to build the next chapter on this engineering journey, and so can you!
Book Author Luvvie and Boston Blogger Royalty, Semirah Dolan

Fave Workshop Details: Overcoming the Imposter Syndrome to Become the Authentic Leader You Envision (POE)
Thought Leader: Lesley Jane Seymour, media entrepreneur former editor of MORE Magazine
Hannah Grove – Executive Vice President and CMO, State Street Corporation
Carla Harris – Wall Street powerhouse and author, Expect to Win
Nina Tassler – CBS Entertainment and author, What I Told My Daughter: Lessons from Leaders on Raising the Next Generation of Empowered Women
Emcee: Jackie Glynn, DELL EMC VP of Diversity

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

Keywords: women conference, women conference recap, blogher, bloggy bootcamp, professional conference, glimpse, women supporting women, boston business women,

Saturday, December 24, 2016

When You're Santa's Favorite Elf

My holiday party outfit came from this year and it was adorable! I received so many compliments on it and would totally go back to 3wishes for flirty themed dresses. I wouldn't recommend for lovelies under 18, but to the divas 18+, has some wicked cute themed outfits and dresses.

Enjoy the photos of Santa's favorite Elf! After making sure that everyone else has beautiful gifts, it's the Elves turn to see what's under the tree

I love the detail of the bow and corset lace on the back. It was my favorite part of the dress. The dress is a velvet-like material and is breathable and comfortable for wrecking havoc at your holiday party. It was easy to dance, jump, run, and strut in the dress so, there are no limits in this ensemble.

For the pictures, I wore red Rockport heels and it suited the look for a holiday party setting. However I think black tall boots or simple flats would do great as well.

For a themed costume, this dress is very good quality. Like if I stored and cleaned it properly, I could wear this dress next year. Usually costumes are good for one weekend of fun and then its life is over. However, this dress could survive a few more events.

I may totally be put on the blogger naughty list for doing a review on a lingerie website however, I think that they sell some completely appropriate pieces. I aim to be a professional women and that includes being mature in what I promote online. Women are usually shamed for baring skin or dolling up.. I'm  speaking for women in tech more specifically since that is the personal experience I can speak to.

I am publishing this blog post to 1. Enjoy the holidays 2. Feel good, look good, and be good. Ladies in engineering, yes we are already walking on thin ice in the industry but, my advice to you would be to stand for something or else you will fall for anything. In other words, reflect on your personal boundaries. 

You can find my dress here and it is currently on sale.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

*Disclaimer: This dress was complimentary of All opinions are my own and completely honest.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Next Year I Will Ace The Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing

This was my first year attending the Grace Hopper Celebration for Women in Computing and I am so thankful for the amazing opportunity. #GHC16 is a huge tech conference for women in Houston, TX. The mission is to foster an environment for growth, productivity, and success for all 15,000 women engineer attendees.  

I am sharing my experience and successes from GHC16 with you because, maybe my lessons learned will help you at a future conference OR it will serve as a motivation/inspiration to see someone have a positive experience at Grace Hopper (and/or in engineering).  The title of this blog post implies that I failed at this year’s conference but, no, it was quite the opposite.  Going into this convention with 1 month of prep time, no expectations, no resumes printed out, and a rough game plan for the week, I came out with amazing successes.

LinkedIn Grace Hopper Booth, source

Here are the THREE LESSONS I LEARNED FROM GRACE HOPPER that helped me ace my experience:

1.       Have Your Elevator Pitch Ready!

No one knows who you are or why you are there so be prepared to tell them. Recruiters talk to hundreds and thousands of prospective candidates during the convention so they don’t have time to walk through your resume or get a rambling story about who you are. Make sure you can introduce yourself in 30 seconds. If you want to go even further than that, have a customized pitch for different scenarios.

What will you say to a recruiter at a booth?

What will you say when you randomly meet a recruiter while walking to the convention and need to seize the moment?

Will you have the same pitch for an engineering recruiter and a research/lab recruiter?

How will you pitch yourself to someone the same level or age as you? (undergrad to undergrad, professional to professional, etc.)

My conversations with recruiters were completely different from the conversations I had with other undergrads and casually networking conversations. For fellow women engineer undergrads, I want to expand my network, make friends, add each other on social media, etc.

For a recruiter, I want to see if they are hiring for a position that I want, submit my resume, add them on LinkedIn, etc.

2.       Have A Goal/Objective for GHC

What do you want to get out of this convention experience? A summer internship, job, research opportunity? Having a goal will allow you to narrow down what workshops to attend, what booths to stop by, what after party's to attend, etc. Knowing what you want will help you be more efficient and deliberate in your decision making, however, it is totally okay to go with the flow (if that is what you are comfortable with).

Having an objective/goal was important for me because of 2 things:

One: Recruiters would literally ask me, “What do you want? An internship, invite to an event, etc.” Being able to tell them what you want will get you closer to having that thing.

Two: I attended Grace Hopper as a speaker for Mozilla and as an undergrad. For Friday of GHC16, my objective was to facilitate a successful open source workshop during the Hackathon for Humanity and recruiting for the Mozilla Campus Clubs initiative. For the other 2 days, my goals were different and were centered more around being an undergrad seeking a summer internship.

Women in Tech Book Signing

3.       Make Friends and Connect (sounds corny but this one is my fave!)

I made some pretty cool connections just by talking to the people next time. From arriving to the airport in Boston to leaving the Houston airport, I networked the entire time. In many occasions, it was not deliberate. Sometimes you just end up walking or sitting next to a recruiter or a group of girls that are also from Boston (yay! new Boston women engineer friends *waving hi!*). My favorite random interaction was when I asked this random woman if I could split a taxi with her to the airport, and that I would Venmo her the money. She ended up being a Venmo engineer! How ironic and super cool to Venmo someone that developed the Venmo app? I got to have a ride to the airport with her and some other Venmo engineers, talking and connecting all the way there!

I never know what could happen so, I try to be prepared and open to life and this has helped me tremendously.


How did I do it? Honestly, I love conventions. Which puts me at an advantage point. I love preparing for conventions, submitting my resume to companies early, and just the overall preparation and execution process I talked about in a previous blog post. However, that process usually takes 2 months’ minimum. I didn’t know that I was going to Grace Hopper till 3 weeks before so I couldn’t fully prepare for the convention, amid: midterms, traveling for interviews, and life. Which means that I had to get rid of the anxiety and just get comfortable with impromptu situations and adjusting to my environment quickly. I think that I performed extremely well at Grace Hopper being that I passed out 40 resumes, had 4 onsite interviews/4 phone interviews, and some job offers. Before getting to GHC16, I did have 1 interview already scheduled but the rest all happened at the convention.

Since this year’s convention had such an awesome outcome, I wonder what I could achieve with more prep time?

Grammarly yours, Semirah D

Grace Hopper Must Read:

tags: #GHCOSD16 #GHC16 #GraceHopper2016 #GHC2016, hackathon for humanity, open source day, mozilla, open source, Django, webvr, python, aframe, #mozillausa #soundofcharm #semirahd #semirahdolan #mozlove #teachtheweb #community #womenintech #womoz #opensource #volunteer #education #inclusion #digitalinclusion #fsa #firefox #inspire #tech #iloollikeanengineer #mozlearn #mozscience #moztechspeaker

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Being a Speaker/Mentor for Mozilla Campus Clubs at Grace Hopper’s Open Source Day

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Houston to represent Mozilla at Grace Hopper. More specifically, I was recruiting for Mozilla Campus Clubs and facilitating a workshop on WebVR and Mozilla’s A-Frame.

I have been volunteering with Mozilla for the past year. I started volunteering with them because I wanted to strengthen my technical skills. Now I am a Mozilla North American Reps Regional Coach & apart of the Campus Advisory Committee for Mozilla Campus Clubs. For the Grace Hopper Open Source Day, Emma Irwin, Larissa Shapiro, (both very active Mozillian leaders) and I, brainstormed and built the workshop layout for the participants that would be participating in our hacks/projects.

Our mission for the GHC16 Open Source Day was to present on: Mozilla Campus Clubs, Mozilla’s mission and open source barriers/solutions. It was important for us to present this content because our participants had varying backgrounds of open source and Mozilla as an organization.

Before moving forward to our two hacking activities for Open Source Day we walked through the importance of open source. We presented the following questions and participants put their thoughts on big papers we had up.
  1. Opportunities & Barriers: What makes a good open source experience?
  2. How do we design a program that is inclusive of technical AND non-technical people?
  3. What incentivizes students on Campus to engage in clubs at the intersection of technology and activism?

It was great to see other undergraduates do rapid brainstorming around these problem statements and put up their thoughts. These are some of the questions I asked myself when I started my Mozilla journey. I had minimal exposure to the idea of ‘open source’ on my campus and within my studies. I had to do a lot of research, learning, and growing to get where I am now but I still have a long way till full understanding.

The participants had the option to work on a python/Django project with Emma or join me in a WebVr/UX project using Mozilla’s A Frame. It was an amazing and humbling experience to facilitate a workshop. The ladies in my group ranged from undergraduates to legitimate professional engineers. Working equally with someone of a higher caliber than me was wicked cool and stunning (In my mind, if you are a fulltime engineer vs an undergrad, you are of a higher caliber! You graduated from the engineering struggles and now run in the world of solving REAL problems). Don’t get me wrong, undergrads are fully capable of solving real world problems but, ultimately, all of us strive towards that fulltime position after graduation.

Coming back to the topic, the participants all grew from our workshop in their own ways. One FEMGINEER
(Female + Engineer = FEMGINEER)
accomplished her first pull request on Github… another, was wicked excited to try Mozilla’s A Frame when she returned home. To us, these are great success metrics in line with Mozilla’s mission of having the internet as a free and open resource to all.

Overall, Grace Hopper was a smashing success! I could not have planned for a more eventful experience. Merely having a speaker badge with Mozilla’s name on it during the convention, was a huge conversation starter around open source. I was continuously learning, advocating, and growing all 3-days of Grace Hopper. Hopefully the ladies we engaged with during the hackathon are interested in advocating for the open web on their campus.

Grammarly yours, Semirah D 

#GHCOSD16 #GHC16 #GraceHopper2016 #GHC2016, hackathon for humanity, open source day, mozilla, open source, Django, webvr, python, aframe, #mozillausa

Monday, August 8, 2016

Give Back To Your Community: Hair Cuttery Share-A-Haircut Program

Hi yall! Hair Cuttery (a local hair salon/barbershop) is doing a back to school haircut fundraiser. Basically, get a haircut with them and they'll give a haircut to another child in need. SUPER EASY :) For more info about the fundraiser continue to read below.

Zach loved his haircut!

Hair Cuttery to Support Thousands of Underprivileged Children with Back-to-School Share-A-Haircut Program. For each haircut purchased, one will be donated to a child in need—just in time for the new school year.

Hair Cuttery, the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, will be donating back-to- school haircuts to children who need it most this summer. From August 1-15, for every child up to age 18 who purchases a haircut at one of Hair Cuttery’s nearly 900 salons, one free haircut certificate will be donated to a disadvantaged child in the community.

“A new haircut for a special occasion is something we all take for granted,” said Dennis Ratner, Founder and CEO of Hair Cuttery. “Our Share-A- Haircut program ensures that children in our communities aren’t deprived of that simple, but essential, service. If we can send those students back to school with added confidence and a smile on their faces, then we’ve done our job.”

This summer, Hair Cuttery is aiming to donate tens of thousands of free haircut certificates ahead of the new school year. Certificates will be distributed with the help of more than 100 local government and non-profit organizations in communities across the country. Since 1999, the Share-A- Haircut program has donated more than 1.89 million free haircut certificates valued at nearly $30.35 million.

2016 marks the 17th year of Share-A- Haircut, with Hair Cuttery’s most recent campaign donating 55,000 haircuts to victims of domestic violence this past spring. The company has an established history of charitable giving and has supported a range of local and national causes, including St. Baldrick’s Foundation, American Red Cross, The National Network to End Domestic Violence, American Cancer Society and Girls on the Run.

About Hair Cuttery
Hair Cuttery is the largest family-owned and operated chain of hair salons in the country, with nearly 900 company-owned locations on the East Coast, in New England and the Midwest. A full-service, value-priced salon, Hair Cuttery offers a full complement of cuts and styling, coloring, waxing and texturizing services with no appointment necessary, as well as a full line of professional hair care products. Hair Cuttery is committed to delivering a delightful client experience through WOW Service including a Smile Back Guarantee. Hair Cuttery is a division of Ratner Companies, based in Vienna, VA. For more information visit:

Grammarly yours, Semirah D

*Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However any views or opinions belong solely to the blog owner. I received compensation in exchange for this review*

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Spotlight on Scientific Sisters: Sqaure's Saqi Mehta

Saqi featured me on her Reigninit women engineers appreciation blog so, I wanted to do the same and share with you guys an inspiring story of another women engineer inspiring others to find THEIR inner engineer.

Between post about hackathons, company acquisitions, and conference tips, I hope to build a little corner of encouragement and positive perspectives.

Tell us a little about yourself along with a fun fact.
My name is Saqi Mehta and professionally I love to wear a lot of hats: Career Counselor, Writer, Manager, and Women in Tech + Diversity advocate :)

I started off my career working at MIT and later on Harvard Business School (Boston pride!) as a Career Counselor and Coach for engineering + business students. I loved seeing all of these companies come in to recruit and wanted to experience the other side of it, so eventually went to VMware, The Walt Disney Company, and now Square. I now lead the University Recruiting Team and help to bring in the next generation of talent to the company in the form of interns + new grads. I honestly think I have one of the best jobs at the company as I get to travel to different parts of the country and am invigorated by the education space and meeting so many passionate students like you!

Fun fact: My favorite sport is trapeze flying: I've done it in NYC and highly recommend prior skill required :)

What # (hashtag) would define your life journey?

Favorite website/app:
Soul Cycle! I'm obsessed with their high energy workouts and love booking bikes on their app :)

Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted (if any):
Outside of work I co-founded ReigningIt, which profiles women in tech. I'm so inspired to read their stories everyday :) I've learned that no matter what your background or past experience is, it's never too late to learn something new. Follow your dreams and wish big as something bigger and better than what you imagined may come true for yourself. 

Song that makes you want to dance:
Shut Up And Dance by Walk The Moon

Technical and/or life challenge you've faced and how you overcame it:
I've moved many, many times: attended at least 14 schools before college and have lived in 7 states. It was tough to adjust to new environments and classmates, but over time it's taught me to be tough and embrace uncertainty - something that's helped me a great deal in the workforce!

Ideal job / where you see yourself in 10 years:
I'd love to be my own boss! I envision starting my own company where I can consult on recruiting, career counseling, and diversity. I'd also love to see ReigningIt grow into its own force, perhaps with an annual conference like GraceHopper!

If you could help Women Engineers in Training flourish upon entering the industry, how would you do so? 
I'd like to think I do this everyday through my work, but there is still way more to be done. All companies should start a mentorship or buddy program to pair women together for any questions or technical help. We need to support professional development like attending conferences like GHC and Blavity. Companies need internal programs like Lunch & Learns, Tech Talks, and Hack Weeks to support Talent Development. Last but not least, remember that there is no "I" in "Team" - when one woman succeeds, we all succeed collectively!

Thank you Saqi for your time!

Grammarly yours, SemirahD

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