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May. 30, 2014 12:03 pm

Why ‘Girl Develop It’ launched an open source fellowship

Women make up less than two percent of the open source developer community, according to a 2007 survey by the National Center for Women & Information Technology. The Philadelphia chapter of women's tech education group Girl Develop It wants to get those numbers up, and it's starting locally.

Mark Headd leads a workshop on Demystifying Open Source to kick off Girl Develop It's Summer of Open Source Fellowships. Photo by Kristi Centinaro.

Full Disclosure: Local Girl Develop It coorganizer Corinne Warnshuis is Technical.ly's events coordinator.

Women make up less than two percent of the open source developer community, according to a 2007 survey by the National Center for Women & Information Technology. The Philadelphia chapter of women’s tech education group Girl Develop It wants to get those numbers up, and it’s starting locally.

The group just kicked off the Summer of Open Source, a summer fellowship focused on open source software. It’s the first fellowship of its kind in the national Girl Develop It community, said GDI organizer Corinne Warnshuis, who, full disclosure, works for Technical.ly.

Through a member survey it put out last year, GDI Philly found that 10 percent of the respondents had contributed to free and open source software in some way, Warnshuis wrote on her blog. The fellowship is an effort to build on that interest and to engage developers in a longterm project, she said.

Organized by Warnshuis and Happy Cog developer Cat Farman, The Summer of Open Fellowship will pair 12 women with mentors who will help them work on open source projects throughout the summer. The group is partnering with civic hacking group Code for Philly to host bi-weekly project nights where the fellows can work with their mentors. Mentors include former city Chief Data Officer Mark Headd, P’unk Ave developer Olivia Haas and Open Plans developer Aaron Ogle.

If this pilot goes well, the hope is to expand the fellowship to some of the more than 30 GDI chapters across the country, Warnshuis said.

GDI is looking for sponsors to help pay for food at the project nights. Email Corinne Warnshuis at corinne AT girldevelopit DOT com for more details.

Out of 24 applicants, GDI chose these fellows:

  • LeeAnn Kinney
  • Lizzy Stellato
  • Ashleigh Respicio
  • Gelsey Torres
  • Yujean Park
  • Lauren Pittenger
  • Erin O’Brien
  • Jessica Barnett
  • Mica McPheeters
  • Tiffanie Stanard
  • Sally Kong
  • Ashley Bernard
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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes began as lead reporter at Technical.ly Philly in July 2012. Previously, she was a city services beat reporter for the Philadelphia Daily News, as part of a project called “It’s Our Money.” She is learning to drive, learning to bike (in the city) but is an expert at taking SEPTA. She grew up in North Jersey and Manila, Philippines but she left the tropics for Bryn Mawr College, where she majored in linguistics. She now lives in West Philly.

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