Fusion RiseUp: NASA Builds Community and You Can Too

Back in November, Jeanne Brooks (fellow member of Tech LadyMafia) reached out to me to ask for me to speak at an upcoming hackathon for Fusion RiseUp. Though I’ve spoken at events before, for the most part it had been through JCC Association and JCC events. I had never been asked to speak as me, as a professional.

To be honest, I was surprised. I couldn’t help but wonder, in the pool of amazing women that we belong to, why would she ask me? Of course, that may have had something to do with a bit of my own confidence issues in the moment, but what came back was a list of reasons as to why I was indeed more than qualified.

As nervous as I was, I said yes. This was not an opportunity that I could miss. And boy, am I glad I did.

Instead of speaking about development or hacking in a traditional sense, I spoke about building community. Back in November 2012, I attended NASA Social Final Journey of Atlantis. As you may (or may not) know, even getting to Orlando was an adventure (thanks Hurricane Sandy). Community building carried on long after the event ended, and there is now a group of individuals that are a part of my extended network with a shared love for all things space. Read more

Hack’n Jill

On Saturday, I participated in my second hackathon: Hack’n Jill. Hack’n Jill was created due to a gender imbalance often present at hackathons, inviting 50 men and 50 women developers and designers to join together and develop apps with the theme of Hack Your Summer.

My team was fortunate enough to have three developers and three designers. We designed Why Don’t We, a fully functioning iPhone app designed to highlight events nearby to cure summer boredom. Every member of the team was essential to creating and promoting a fully functioning product. It was an absolute pleasure to meet them and hopefully we will be able to collaborate in the future. Read more