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DEI / Funding / Web development

3 projects from Interactive Mechanics’ diversity-oriented fellowship program

For nine months, three devs learned how to go from idea to commit.

Developer Ebonie Butler talks about the process of building her website. (Photo by Roberto Torres)

As part of a broader push to bring bring more inclusivity to the tech world via hiring practices, Old City interactive design shop Interactive Mechanics started a fellowship program back in September with the goal of bringing representation and inclusion in tech.

At the end of a blind selection process, three technologists, who also happened to be Black women, were chosen to spend nine months — part-time, mostly remote — working on their soft and hard skills.

“By keeping the process under a blind application, our fellows know they’re the top candidates out of the pipeline,” said Amelia Longo, the company’s director of strategic initiatives. Longo said the inclusive strategies for hiring she laid out in this guest post remain in place.

We caught up with the fellows at the fellowship program’s demo night. Here are the projects yielded by the up-and-coming devs:

Butler, who was redesigning the website for her radio show about heavy metal, hit the reset button mid-fellowship when things weren’t up to her standards and redesigned from scratch. The site lets her post her latests radio shows and YouTube videos.

“I learned you can do anything you can put your mind to and that taking small steps to put yourself out in the tech world has big returns,” said Butler, whose next move will another training program: an apprenticeship at Yikes, Inc.

The purpose of this site is to highlight inventors of color and offer a platform for students and teachers to use in the classroom. Worthen built an API that connects a database to the front-end of the site.

“Continuing with this project I’d like to add capabilities like sorting inventors by categories,” the former journalist said. “One piece of advice: don’t do this by yourself but surround yourself with people to support you. It can get very lonely very fast.”

(And psst, we hear Worthen is on the market for a dev job so reach out if you’re looking.)

  • The Adventures of Mae Jemison by Madilynn Whittle

Whittle was unable to attend the demo night built an adventure game about Mae Jemison, the first Black female astronaut. Here’s an interview with Whittle, a computer science major at Stockton University.

Last year, there were 40 applicants for the fellowship. This year, applications open on June 15th. In the meantime, developers and technologist can apply to become speakers in the next cohort. (Full disclosure, associate editor Juliana Reyes was a speaker during the fellowship.)

Companies: Interactive Mechanics

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