Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 25

nonprofit for her time
- or making a cash
donation. That was a big
CHEROKEE
An Iroquoian language, Cherokee
selling point for Hellesen
uses a written syllabary devised
because, again, the
by Sequoyah, a Cherokee scholar.
company philosophy
Cherokee has the most literature
aligns with her beliefs.
of any Native language, and you'll
find Cherokee speakers primarily
Hellesen is also
in Oklahoma and North Carolina.
involved in workrelated initiatives. "I
help out with Microsoft
Knowing that she had
DigiGirlz, a summer program
Native people supporting her
for girls interested in computwas vital. "I had a community
ing," she says. And she is working
behind me that I wanted to
to attract more Native students
make proud," she says. "That
into the STEM fields through a
has helped push me through
mentorship program called
the hardest times."
iUrban Teen. "I work with four
In her junior year Hellesen
was awarded a scholarship from or five students, mostly
upperclassmen or just starting
Microsoft. She also helped
their careers," Hellesen says.
organize a 36-hour hackathon,
Hellesen is clearly in a job
and Microsoft was a sponsor.
she loves. The eight engineers
There she met a company
recruiter who encouraged her to on her team reach design
keep in touch. She did, and was decisions based on consensus.
"We all present our thoughts
hired right out of college.
and have to defend our ideas,"
One reason Hellesen likes
she explains. "We decide as a
being a software engineer at
group. That's how you get the
Microsoft is that she says the
company's values align with her best product." (If you like the @
Cherokee heritage. An example feature in Microsoft Office 365,
she gives is her participation in a you can thank her team.)
While Hellesen's job may be
company-sponsored hackathon.
stressful at times, she knows she
"Hacking is really awesome
can persevere and find the
because you can work on
humor. "I laugh a lot," she says.
something that's important to
"It's something that's helped me
you," she says. She lists projects
through a lot of hard times. It's
under development, like a
probably my favorite thing
3-D-printed prosthetic, a
about being with my family
doorbell that lights up to aid
- we just laugh and have a
deaf people, and an optical
good time. At AISES too! I miss
character-recognition program
it when I'm not there."
that can read stories in the
Hellesen will be there in
Cherokee language (an official
Denver, recruiting at this year's
Microsoft language) from an
National Conference. She
1825 issue of the Cherokee
especially wants to tell freshman
Phoenix newspaper. The
program can translate the stories and sophomore students about
into English, helping to save the Microsoft's Explorer Program, a
language and make it accessible summer internship in Seattle.
Looking forward she sees a
to all Cherokee people. "The fact
that I can stop working on Word future where she will manage
for three days and work on this, a majority female/minority
team. "It's important to me to
that's really important to me,"
be able to grow strong technical
Hellesen explains.
women in a field where there
She is also pleased that
aren't nearly enough of us," she
Microsoft matches her
says, echoing her theme of
contributions to nonprofits,
perseverance.
whether she is volunteering
- Patty Talahongva
- where the company pays the
aises.org

Tule River Tribe is a proud sovereign nation
that strives to improve the livelihood of
their members, their community and their
surrounding communities.
Visit us online at www.tulerivertribe-nsn.gov

The fabric of our society
is woven with copper

Technology is expanding to benefit nearly
every aspect of our lives. Thanks to STEM.
Thanks to copper.

FALL 2017 * WINDS OF CHANGE 25


http://www.tulerivertribe-nsn.gov http://resolutioncopper.com http://www.aises.org

Winds of Change - Fall 2017

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Winds of Change - Fall 2017

Contents
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Intro
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover1
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover2
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Contents
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 2
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 3
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - 4
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Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover3
Winds of Change - Fall 2017 - Cover4
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