Code for Philly, the local civic hacking meetup, intimidated LeeAnn Kinney.
“I didn’t think there was a place for me at Code for Philly,” she said late last month to the crowd at the showcase for Girl Develop It’s Summer of Open Source Fellowship. “I thought it was going to be a lot of intense tech guys working in Rails.”
Now, Kinney, 33, a front-end developer at Bayada Home Health Care, heads to the meetup every week to work on a map of wheelchair accessible SEPTA stops. She got started on the project with the Summer of Open Source Fellowship, which paired fellows with mentors and projects in an effort to get more women working on open source software. Kinney, along with 11 other fellows, would head to Code for Philly a few times a month to work on projects with their mentors.
Kinney said her relationship with her mentor, Jim Smiley (who, full disclosure, is Technical.ly’s contributing web editor), has changed since the beginning of the summer.
“Before, I was relying on him a lot, asking him a lot of questions,” she said. “Now, we’re pair programming.”
They studied programming framework AngularJS together, too.
According to other stories that were shared during the fellowship showcase, the program helped other women find their place in the tech community, too.
Fellow Gelsey Torres started coding in 2008 but couldn’t find a community in Philly, said her mentor and Pipeline Deals developer Chad Ostrowski, who prefaced the story with: “This isn’t my story to tell.”
For fellow Ashley Bernard, a recent Penn grad and freelance web designer, the fellowship taught her that “programming is collaboration.”
During her fellowship, she worked on the contributors page for the School District Budget Visualization, a project built during last spring’s EdTech Hackathon and one that several open source fellows contributed to. Bernard, 23, of West Philly, said she’ll continue to work on the visualization because it’s a project that hits close to home: she went to George Washington High School in Northeast Philadelphia.
Here’s what some of the other fellows worked on, plus who their mentors were (you’ll notice lots of Azavea mentors):
- Mica McPheeters: OpenPlans’ Shareabouts. (Mentor: City of Philadelphia Civic Tech Director Aaron Ogle)
- Ashleigh Respicio: School District Budget Visualization. (Mentor: Kristi Centinaro)
- Sally Kong: Wheelchair Accessible Transit Trips. (Mentor: Azavea’s Kathryn Killebrew)
- Yujean Park: Philly Open Health. (Mentor: Sungard’s Jenn Voss)
- Jessica Barnett: School District Budget Visualization. (Mentor: P’unk Ave’s Olivia Haas)
- Gelsey Torres: Philly Open Health. (Mentor: PipelineDeals’ Chad Ostrowski)
- Ashley Bernard: School District Budget Visualization. (Mentor: Drama Fever’s Yash Prabhu)
- LeeAnn Kinney: Wheelchair Accessible Transit Trips. (Mentor: Jim Smiley)
- Lizzy Stellato: Open Tree Map. (Mentor: Azavea’s Matt McFarland)
- Erin O’Brien: School District Budget Visualization. (Mentor: City of Philadelphia Chief Data Officer Tim Wisniewski)
- Lauren Pittenger: Open Tree Map. (Mentor: Azavea’s Rick Mohr)