Watch Ather Sharif's inspiring Geek of the Year acceptance speech - Technical.ly Philly

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Aug. 25, 2015 8:24 am

Watch Ather Sharif’s inspiring Geek of the Year acceptance speech

“For me, the Geek of the Year Award is a triumph for the entire disability community,” wrote the software engineer.

Ather Sharif speaks at the 2015 Philadelphia Geek Awards.

(Screenshot)

After developer Ather Sharif emerged from the North Dakota car crash that paralyzed him, he didn’t use a computer for a whole year. But, with encouragement from the Philadelphia tech scene, he got back into programming.

Sharif, who said the turning point was when he spoke at the #hack4access accessibility hackathon last summer, is now a Google Scholar and runs a volunteer web accessibility consultancy. More recently, he won the much-coveted Geek of the Year award at the Philadelphia Geek Awards.

Mandatory selfie with two of the best geeks I know! @jamestyack @kevingong123 #phlgeekawards #alldressedup

A photo posted by Ather Sharif (@athersharif) on

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Watch his inspiring and charming acceptance speech below. It was filmed and produced by developer and filmmaker Andrew Gormley, who, in an accessibility nod, added subtitles to the video.

In Sharif’s speech, he thanks Geekadelphia for being so inclusive and fittingly so, the past winners for Geek of the Year have been female (2012’s Tristin Hightower) and people of color (2014’s The Black Tribbles).

Sharif also wrote a blog post about his win.

“For me, the Geek of the Year Award is a triumph for the entire disability community,” he wrote.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became Technical.ly's editorial product lead after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

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