Tag Archives: adacamp dc

Kicking impostor syndrome in the head: lessons from AdaCamp DC and SF

Impostor syndrome is a common reaction to doing publicly visible and publicly criticised work like that done in open technology and culture; it’s a feeling that you haven’t earned and aren’t qualified for the status you or your work have and a fear of failing publicly and being discovered to be an impostor. It is very prevalent among women in the space, many of whom have been socialised to value other’s opinion of their work above their own, and to do things “by the book”.

At the Ada Initiative’s AdaCamp, impostor syndrome is such a popular topic of discussion that five sessions ran on it at AdaCamp DC in July 2012. More recently at AdaCamp San Francisco Leigh Honeywell ran an opening session for most conference attendees on combating impostor syndrome.

Video: Denise Paolucci, “Overcoming Impostor Syndrome”

As a result of the AdaCamp DC discussions, at linux.conf.au 2013 in January Ada Initiative board member and Dreamwidth Studios co-founder Denise Paolucci gave a talk on Overcoming Impostor Syndrome, sharing the strategies that were discussed at AdaCamp DC. Denise’s talk has great strategies for both sufferers of impostor syndrome and for allies and leaders to help people realistically judge their own work and to seek help and support when they need it.

Talk transcript at the bottom of the post.

Denise’s talk also appeared recently at Open Source Bridge in Portland.

Values exercise: Leigh Honeywell

At AdaCamp San Francisco, one of Leigh Honeywell’s exercises for participants was based on the hypothesis that impostor syndrome is a manifestation of stereotype threat — the tendency of people to perform in ways that confirm stereotypes of groups they identify with, such as women performing worse on a math test if its mentioned that the test is looking for gender differences in performance — and had participants perform a values exercise that they can use before doing something like writing a resume or taking a test.

Leigh’s exercise is based on Miyake et al’s finding that writing about one’s values helps combat stereotype threat. Participants identify five values (from a list including examples such as Decisiveness, Pleasure, Self-reliance and Wisdom) that are important to them, and write about one value. The worksheet also asks them to describe a time when they were asked for advice, ie treated as an expert. With this short, simple exercise, participants are primed for a more realistic, positive assessment of their own ability and achievements.

Leigh has released the values worksheet under Creative Commons Attribution, and welcomes contributions.

Talk transcript: Denise Paolucci, “Overcoming Impostor Syndrome”

This talk transcript is based on the caption file for the video of Denise’s talk, prepared by Mirabai Knight of StenoKnight CART Services.

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AdaCamp DC final report: "The experience profoundly changed me"

AdaCamp attendees © Adam Novak

“AdaCamp DC was a fantastic experience, one of the best conferences I’ve been to!” – Anonymous AdaCamper

AdaCamp is an unconference for women in open technology and culture and the people who support them. About 100 people attended the AdaCamp DC, held on July 10 – 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. AdaCamp is organized by the Ada Initiative, a non-profit devoted to increasing the participation and status of women in open technology and culture, which includes open source software, Wikipedia and related projects, fan fiction, and more.

A huge thank you to all of our sponsors who made AdaCamp DC possible: the Wikimedia Foundation, the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora, Yammer, GitHub, Twitter, SocialCode, Google, NetApp, and Adafruit.

Impact of AdaCamp DC: “The experience profoundly changed me”

Many people were inspired and re-energized by AdaCamp DC, and left with new motivation to both participate in open tech/culture and to work to make it more supportive of women. One attendee told us, “The experience profoundly changed me. I’m looking into volunteer and educational opportunities that I would not have considered before attending AdaCamp. And I really want to share what I’m doing.” Another says, “[One of the best things about AdaCamp was] learning about imposter syndrome and making the connection of how we hold other women back by not promoting our knowledge […] Hugely important stuff — probably life altering in my case.

Leslie Birch, AdaCamper © Adam Novak

Leslie Birch says, “I’m leaving with new tools like IRC, bug trackers and mentor lists. I have a new found desire to reach out to other women that identify as “geek”, “feminist” or both. And most of all, I’ve created partnerships that will lead to exciting workshops at our hacker space.”

Another attendee says, “AdaCamp was a phenomenal event! I’m grateful to the Ada Initiative and AdaCamp attendees for helping me stay inspired to fight for open tech, open culture, and women’s involvement in both.

In our survey of AdaCamp attendees (45% response rate), 93% said their goals in attending AdaCamp were met well or very well, and 91% said they would definitely recommend AdaCamp to others.

About the attendees

About 100 people attended, who lived in at least 10 countries, including Japan, India, Myanmar, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Australia, the UK, Canada, and the US.

We worked hard to make AdaCamp DC diverse in many different ways. Some statistics from our post-conference survey (45% response rate):

AdaCamp DC attendees © Adam Novak

  • 25% listed their race or ethnicity as other than white or Caucasian
  • 28% were born outside the United States
  • 19% spoke a language other than English as their first language
  • 49% were not employed as programmers or IT specialists
  • 22% were students, professors or researchers

Travel scholarships were very important in increasing diversity in many different ways: geography, language, income, age, culture, and race. We thank all of the AdaCamp DC sponsors for making it possible for us to award 11 travel grants!

AdaCamp DC welcomed people of all genders and sexuality. From one attendee: “I LOVED learning about new things and the diversity of attendees. I found the prominence of the LGBTQ community very inspiring.

AdaCamp DC attendees © Adam Novak

Women of all ages are creating and using open technology and culture and we were happy to have a wide range of ages at AdaCamp. About one quarter of attendees were 25 years of age or younger, and about one fifth were over 40 years of age, with the remainder evenly distributed between ages 26 to 40. Our youngest attendee was 18 years of age.

What we did

Most of AdaCamp DC was in unconference format – people suggested session topics and went to the sessions they were most interested in. Many of the sessions were round-table discussions, but exceptions include a Python tutorial, a self-defense lesson, and a presentation on the GNOME Outreach Program for Women.

AdaCamp DC attendees © Adam Novak

Lunch was an hour and a half long, allowing longer, more casual conversations. Each day ended with a feedback session. The first evening, people went out to dinner in groups of about 8, organized around interests like operating systems, yarn and fiber arts, and hackerspaces. Dinner sponsors included Azavea, Facebook, Red Hat, Wikimedia Foundation, Intel, and Mozilla.

We ran over 65 sessions over 2 days, and over 40 of the sessions were documented on PiratePad. One attendee wrote, “I attended sessions on Imposter Syndrome, Burn Out, Lifehacking, and Setting Boundaries and Saying No. It was AWESOME. I arrived at AdaCamp well aware that I am currently burnt out and have difficulty setting boundaries, but I had no idea 1) just how burnt out I am, 2) the extent to which Imposter Syndrome affects me on a daily basis, 3) how much I desperately needed to attend these sessions, 4) how many other women have experienced similar issues and therefore have useful advice. I feel as if I’ve returned to my regular life with dramatically increased motivation and clarity. Thank you!”

AdaCampers from Philadelphia © Adam Novak

The Impostor Syndrome session was so popular that it ran four separate times. Connie Berardi says, “I had no idea how prevalent imposter syndrome was among women. It was mind-blowing to see these movers and shakers in our industry relate to feeling unaccomplished. When the entire room raised their hands to declare war on this phenomenon, I was truly moved. I might have come alone… but I left with an army.

Another attendee wrote, “[One of the best things about AdaCamp was] learning about imposter syndrome and making the connection of how we hold other women back by not promoting our knowledge — whether written, in media or by teaching. Also evaluating the language we use in this area, to be sure we are sounding confident and not making disclaimers. Hugely important stuff — probably life altering in my case.

All of the session notes were transferred to the Geek Feminism wiki by Sara Smollett, where they will be migrated into long-term pages as appropriate.

Networking and building support groups

AdaCamp DC attendees © Adam Novak

Many people appreciated the informal and supportive environment. One attendee wrote, “The informality made the sessions non-intimidating especially when the subject was unfamiliar and in a non-formal setting, I think it’s easier for women–and it definitely was for me–to ask questions or add to the subject without the socialized pressure to remain silent. I wasn’t afraid to be wrong about something if I said anything, because the point was to not to teach, which is by nature less interactive, than for everyone to learn.”

Another person says, “I’m a shy person, so the first day was really difficult for me, but at the first session I realized that I was among not only amazingly smart women, but also very generous people. The imposter’s syndrome session was empowering. The hands-on python session made me giggle with delight at discovering something new. The session on how to get involved in open source projects was an epiphany. I’ve already found a project that I want to get involved in!”

Leslie Birch says, “It made me feel a lot better that I wasn’t alone. In the end, I do think that is the AdaCamp experience in a nutshell — realizing that none of us are alone and in fact, we are strong when working together.”

Blog posts

Many AdaCamp attendees wrote blog posts about their experience.

Pamela Chestek, AdaCamper

Pamela Chestek, an intellectual property expert at Red Hat, wrote about AdaCamp for OpenSource.com. “The beauty of a conference for people who are all part of a large minority within in a field is that no one had to be that “representative.” We were free to ask questions about things we didn’t know or didn’t understand, without carrying the weight of an entire group of people on our shoulders. Which meant that we could learn more and explore more—which meant that all of us walked away knowing something (and probably a lot of somethings) we didn’t know before.”

Fembot Collective posted a comprehensive overview of AdaCamp, including a collection of favorite quotes. Some of my favorite quotes included: […] If you feel worthy to attend the imposter syndrome session, please go to…

Maírín Duffy wrote three blog posts, AdaCamp: The Magic Wand Session (Day 1, Session 1), AdaCamp: Kill Yer Boss and Take His Job (Day 1, Session 2)
, and AdaCamp: Geek Moms (Day 1, Session 3). From “Kill Yer Boss”: “Despite the provocative name, this wasnt a session about murder. […] The main goal was to talk about why there is a ‘glass ceiling’ for women who have ambitions to work their way up the corporate ladder, and to brainstorm some strategies for busting through it.

Joseph Reagle and Christine Spang in discussion at AdaCamp DC

Joseph Reagle and Christine Spang in discussion at AdaCamp DC. © Maírín Duffy 2012. Licensed CC-BY-SA

Andrea Horbinski, committee chair of the Organization for Transformative Works, wrote about her experience at AdaCamp DC. From her list of takeaways: “Destroy all silos. Open stuff is not served by people not communicating, or by people remaining in their (literal or metaphorical) bunkers and silos working solely on their own thing.”

Chit Thiri Maung, a Mozilla Rep from Myanmar, wrote about her trip to AdaCamp DC. “I was used to live ‘Listen and [Agree]’ environment. But during this AdaCamp they teach me [ideas like] ‘Stand Up and Speak out’ for our Opinion.”

OpenGeo blogged about all the open tech/culture conferences their employees attended this summer. Camille Acey attended AdaCamp DC. “She felt privileged to be a among 100 women from around the world selected to attend the event. The conference was highlighted by two-days of illuminating discussions and brainstorming sessions on initiatives to increase the involvement and status of women in ‘open stuff’. She brought back many ideas and suggestions that were eager to hear more about.”

Netha Hussein, AdaCamper

Netha Hussain, a medical student and active Wikipedian, wrote about her trip to the U.S. for AdaCamp and Wikimania: “Flying 19 hours with 7 hour transit just for a three day stay at the US is worth it only if you are planning to do something big. My three day trip to the US, with two of the days spent at the Ada Camp was worth it as every moment spent with the Ada campers was highly stimulating.

Future AdaCamps

Anasuya and Gayle, AdaCampers © Adam Novak

AdaCamp DC was so successful and inspiring that we are committed to holding more AdaCamps in the future, as often as we have time and funding to do so. Attendees suggested many different places for the next AdaCamp, including Berlin, India, and the San Francisco Bay area. We don’t have firm plans for the next AdaCamp yet but will announce as soon as we do. If you’d like to be notified of the next AdaCamp, sign up to our announcement mailing list or follow us on Twitter.

Thank you to all of the AdaCamp DC attendees and AdaCamp DC sponsors for helping us run a fantastic conference! We couldn’t have done it without you.

AdaCamp DC attendees © Adam Novak


The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible.

Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.

Ada Initiative news, July 2012: AdaCamp DC, Wikimania keynote and West Coast meetups!

Help the Ada Initiative!

You can help with the Ada Initiative’s work, which is funded by our generous donors and sponsors. You can make a difference for women in open tech and culture: support us by making a donation or becoming a sponsor today!

The Ada Initiative in July: AdaCamp DC, Wikimania keynote and and West Coast meetups!

July was a great month for the Ada Initiative, with our second AdaCamp held over two days in Washington DC for 100 attendees. Discussion topics included fighting impostor syndrome, Geek Moms, Women Editing Wikipedia, Fandom, Feminism & Social Change, Soft Circuits, Job Seeker/Were Hiring!, and Feminist Hackathons.

Immediately following AdaCamp was co-founder Mary Gardiner’s very successful “Fostering diversity” keynote to the Wikimania conference, and the following week we held the first Ada Initiative meetup, in San Francisco, meeting many of our key supporters and donors in the area, followed by a meetup for Google employees the following day.

To all our donors and supporters: thank you for your support in July, making all this possible!

In July’s news

AdaCamp DC: building community and fighting burnout and impostor syndrome

I started camp wondering what open source tech shared in common with gnomes, to discovering the wonderful GNOME project which encourages women to learn code and create their first patch”. Talk about shock and awe :0. Im leaving with new tools like IRC, bug trackers and mentor lists…” – Leslie Birch

AdaCamp is an unconference for women in open technology and culture and the people who support them. 100 people attended the second AdaCamp on July 10 – 11, 2012 in Washington, DC. Attendees came from at least 10 countries, including Japan, India, Myanmar, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Australia, the UK, Canada, and the US.

It was AWESOME. I arrived at AdaCamp well aware that I am currently burnt out and have difficulty setting boundaries, but I had no idea… how many other women have experienced similar issues and therefore have useful advice. I feel as if Ive returned to my regular life with dramatically increased motivation and clarity. Thank you!” – Anonymous

We ran over 65 sessions over 2 days. Session topics included Hands on Hacking, Geek Moms, Women Editing Wikipedia, Burnout and Lifehacking, Fandom, Feminism & Social Change, Soft Circuits, Job Seeker/Were Hiring!, and Feminist Hackathons, to name just a few. In total, over 40 of the sessions were documented on PiratePad.

If you couldn’t make it to AdaCamp DC, but are interested in attending future AdaCamps or other Ada Initiative events, please subscribe to the Ada Initiative blog or subscribe to Ada Initiative email announcements.

The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible. Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation. Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.

Mary Gardiner’s Wikimania keynote: Fostering diversity

Photo of Mary Gardiner keynoting Wikimania (3/4 shot)

Mary Gardiner keynoting Wikimania, © Alejandro Linares Garcia, Creative Commons BY-SA

On July 12, Ada Initiative co-founder Mary Gardiner gave the opening keynote to Wikimania 2012, the world’s largest conference for Wikipedia and related projects. Over 1400 people were in attendance, including several hundred people attending the co-located Tech@State conference. The keynote was part of articles in Slate, The Verge, and Wikinews.

The title of the keynote was Fostering diversity – not a boring chore, a critical opportunity.” In it, Mary described how various social change movements around the globe increased diversity in their ranks, and what they gained from it. While the Wikipedia community is not first and foremost a social change movement, free access to the sum of all human knowledge” is an almost unimaginably strong force for social change, and many Wikipedians see their work in that light. Diversity is an important part of that goal; as Mary puts it, To incorporate the sum of human knowledge you have to incorporate the sum of humans.”

Mary outlined several ways to improve diversity. People often fear that creating communities for underrepresented groups within a project leads to isolation and drop-outs, when the opposite is true. The more you encourage people retain parts of their identity that are important to them, in my case as a woman, the more you enhance their other identity as a Wikipedian.” Extending invitations specifically to underrepresented groups, such as the GNOME Outreach Program for Women, is effective for many reasons. It is the Wikipedia community that has the power that to reach out to the powerless rather than the other way around.”

The video is not yet available, but the slides are available from Wikimedia Commons and the Wikinews story includes extensive notes from the keynote as well as audio-only recordings.

Selena Deckelmann’s first month as Consulting Director of Development

Selena Deckelmann

Ada Initiative advisor and open source expert Selena Deckelmann joined us as Consulting Director of Development from July 1.

Selena has worked on a huge number of projects in her first month with us including developing our plans for funding mix and reviewing our fundraising strategy; reviewing our fundraising materials; helping us prioritize our programs; and connecting with our donors and discussing our programs and our path from here with them. It’s been amazingly helpful to have Selena focussed on the organization’s long term plans while we worked hard on AdaCamp DC and our other events in July. Thank you Selena!

Meetups in San Francisco and at Google

On July 16, we held our first Ada Initiative meetup, in San Francisco. Ada Initiative co-founders Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora, and Consulting Director of Development Selena Deckelmann enjoyed meeting old and new Ada Initiative friends.

Mary and Valerie also met some of the Ada Initiative supporters among Google employees the following day at lunch on Google’s Mountain View campus. Thank you for all your thoughts on our work, and thanks again for your generosity, your donations in 2011 collectively made the Google employee gift-matching program our second Bronze sponsor!

Ada Initiative advisors in the news

In addition to Mary’s Wikimania keynote, two of our advisors also gave keynote talks in July!

  1. Sarah Stierch gave a keynote entitled The Visual Experience – Gender and Ways of Seeing Wikimedia” at Wikipedia Academy in Berlin; and
  2. Alex “Skud” Bayley’s keynote was “What’s Next? From Open Source to Open Everything” (for which, see her 2011 blog post on moving from open source to “open stuff”) at the GNOME Users And Developers’ European Conference (GUADEC) in A Coruña.

During her trip to GUADEC, Skud also launched a new open source project for home and community gardeners gathering information about planting times, seed sources and other resources.

Francesca Coppa was a radio guest on Heresay Culture on Stanford University’s KZSU-FM. She was also interviewed for Thanks to fan fiction, we get Harriet Potter and erotic Twilight, in the Kansas Star Ledger and Original Fiction In All The ‘Shades’ Of Fandom on NPR’s Morning Edition.

At Wikimania, Sue Gardner gave her customary overview of the Wikimedia Foundation’s activities: “Wikimedia Foundation: The Year In Review and The Year Ahead”, her slides are available from Wikimedia Commons. Sarah Stierch also made several appearances at Wikimania, including her 10 Women in 10 minutes hack-a-thon and the Wikimedia Community Fellows panel.

Sarah Stierch was successfully nominated to become an administrator of English Wikipedia with over 200 Wikipedians supporting her nomination.

Upcoming events for women in open technology and culture

See our calendar for a full listing, and submit any additional events to share@adainitiative.org.


Sponsorship opportunities

Instant sponsorship of the Ada Initiative is available through our Venture Philanthropist sponsorship program for sponsorship amounts between $2000 and $9999 (USD) with a minimum of hassle. Other donations of $500 or more are eligible for Supporting Sponsor recognition.

Contact sponsors@adainitiative.org for larger sponsorship packages.

AdaCamp DC preliminary report

AdaCamp DC, the second conference for women in open technology and culture, wrapped up on Wednesday. About 100 people attended, who lived in at least 10 countries, including Japan, India, Myanmar, Argentina, Spain, Italy, Australia, the UK, Canada, and the US. Ages ranged from 18 years old to over 50. Their open tech/culture fields included Python workshops, soft circuits, fan fiction, Linux, open geographical information, open data, open courseware, and Wikipedia and related projects. Attendees were volunteers, professionals, students, hobbyists, and academics, and came from the government, large corporations, non-profits, volunteer communities, small businesses, and educational institutions. We’re very pleased with the diversity of our attendees.

Selena Deckelmann and Rebecca Refford at AdaCamp DC

Selena Deckelmann and Rebecca Refford at AdaCamp DC. (c) Máirín Duffy CC-BY-SA

We ran over 65 sessions over 2 days. Session topics included Hands on Hacking, Geek Moms, Women Editing Wikipedia, Burnout and Lifehacking, Fandom, Feminism & Social Change, Soft Circuits, Job Seeker/We’re Hiring!, and Feminist Hackathons, to name just a few. In total, over 40 of the sessions were documented on PiratePad.

The Impostor Syndrome session was so popular that it ran in at least three separate sessions. One attendee said, “I had no idea how prevalent imposter syndrome was among women. It was mind-blowing to see these movers and shakers in our industry relate to feeling unaccomplished. When the entire room raised their hands to declare war on this phenomenon, I was truly moved. I might have come alone… but I left with an army.”

One of the most popular sessions was the Python Beginners Workshop in which several attendees learned to program for the first time. “It is hard to do workshops at un-conferences, but you can’t put a price on getting someone in front of a terminal and writing a new line of code. It’s empowering to enable the success of another human being,” said Connie Berardi. Leslie Birch said, “I’m leaving with new tools like IRC, bug trackers and mentor lists. I have a new found desire to reach out to other women that identify as ‘geek’, ‘feminist’ or both.”

Joseph Reagle and Christine Spang in discussion at AdaCamp DC

Joseph Reagle and Christine Spang in discussion at AdaCamp DC. (c) Máirín Duffy CC-BY-SA

One popular feature of AdaCamp was the “Wall of Compliments.” The idea is to combat Impostor’s Syndrome and increase everyone’s enjoyment of the conference by writing compliments on sticky notes and adding them to a wall. Other attendees “take a compliment” and either keep them or give them to other people to wear on their badges.

Wall of compliments at AdaCamp DC

Wall of compliments at AdaCamp DC (c) Máirín Duffy CC-BY-SA

Finally, AdaCamp DC got a lot of compliments on the conference food. Rebecca Garcia tweets, “#AdaCampDC You are spoiling us! First Ethiopian food now Lebanese food? :) Best conference food ever.” Sisi Wei writes, “Ethiopian food for lunch? #adacampdc and @adainitiative are putting other conferences’s cuisines to shame.” Remember, bad conference food is a choice, not a requirement!

Thank you to everyone who helped make AdaCamp DC a success, starting with our conference organizers, Caroline Simard, Deb Nicholson, Kellie Brownell, Noírín Shirley, Sarah Stierch, Katie Bechtold, and Denise Paolucci. Thanks especially to Sarah Stierch for organizing the conference dinners, writing a dining guide for DC, helping arrange photography, and spreading the word about AdaCamp DC and the various travel scholarships available to AdaCamp DC attendees. Selena Deckelmann also helped arrange photography, organized the sessions, and gave the organizers general assistance. Gayle Karen Young graciously offered to facilitate our feedback sessions and offered various organizational resources. Katie Bechtold was our eyes and hands on the ground in Washington, DC. We thank all of our day-of volunteers who ran registration and helped with setup and cleanup. Finally, we thank everyone who attended AdaCamp DC!


The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible.

Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.

AdaCamp DC starts tomorrow!

Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. by Bernt Rostad, CC-Attribution

Capitol Building in Washington by Bernt Rostad

We’re very excited to be making last minute preparations for AdaCamp DC, an Ada Initiative event focused on increasing womens participation in open technology and culture.

We have over 100 invited AdaCamp participants, including Sue Gardner, CEO of Wikimedia Foundation, Sarah Stierch, Wikimedia Community Fellow and advocate for women in Wikipedia, and Joseph Reagle, author of Good Faith Collaboration: The Culture of Wikipedia, together with AdaCampers we introduced on our blog in June.

Coming to AdaCamp?

If you received an invitation to AdaCamp, we’re looking forward to seeing you tomorrow. Please contact adacamp@adainitiative.org urgently if you haven’t received attendee information by email, or if you have any remaining questions.

Missed out on AdaCamp?

If you are in the DC area, many AdaCamp participants will be at Wikimania later in the week. Online registration for Wikimania has closed, but onsite registration is possible on 10–11 July (10:00–17:00) and 12 July (08:00–10:00).

We hope to hold future AdaCamps in different locations around the world. If you are interested in attending future AdaCamps or other Ada Initiative events, please check the Ada Initiative blog or subscribe to Ada Initiative email announcements.


The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible.

Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.

Ada Initiative news, June 2012

You can help with the Ada Initiative’s work, which is funded by our generous donors and sponsors. You can make a difference for women in open tech and culture: support us by making a donation or becoming a sponsor today!

AdaCamp DC update

Photograph of Sophia Chung

AdaCamp DC attendee Sophia Chung

AdaCamp DC, on July 10–11, 2012, is in less than one week’s time! All applicants should have been notified regarding their attendance, please contact adacamp@adainitiative.org if you weren’t notified or have any questions about the event.

We’ve enjoyed introducing several AdaCampers on our blog in the last month: we hope you’re as excited about having all of these people in the one room as we are.

New sponsor in June

We welcomed our last major AdaCamp sponsor in June, with the Wikimedia Foundation becoming the event’s first Gold sponsor.

Wikimedia Foundation

Other events

Photograph of Stephanie Alarcon using a soldering iron

AdaCamp DC attendee Stephanie Alarcon (photograph by JJ Tiziou, used with permission)

If you missed out on applying to AdaCamp DC, or couldnt make it, but are interested in attending future AdaCamps or other Ada Initiative events, please subscribe to the Ada Initiative blog or subscribe to Ada Initiative email announcements.

If youre in the DC area, many AdaCamp attendees will also be attending Wikimania 2012 later in the week. Registration for Wikimania does not require application and remains open until July 4.

Selena Deckelmann joins us as Consulting Director of Development

Were happy to announce that Selena Deckelmann, Ada Initiative advisor, PostgreSQL expert, and open source community leader, has accepted a position as Consulting Director of Development at the Ada Initiative. Selena begins work in July on developing a long-term funding strategy for the Ada Initiative, in addition to contributing to our mission and strategy.

Now that we have our organisational structure in place, the Ada Initiative is ready for long-term planning and settling on a strategy for growth. Were thrilled to have Selenas expertise and energy at this crucial time for the organisation.

Ada Initiative advisors in the news

Sumana Harihareswara gave a very well received keynote talk at Open Source Bridge, Be Bold: An Origin Story”. Sumana also featured in the inSCIght podcast: Episode 27: Ladies Who Learn And Code.

Sarah Stierch gave an address at the George Washington University graduation ceremony where she graduated with a MA Museum Studies. Congratulations on your graduation, Sarah.

Incoming and outgoing advisors

Gayle Karen Young joined the Ada Initiative advisory board in early July. We first began working with Gayle Karen in her capacity as Chief Culture and Talent Officer at the Wikimedia Foundation, but quickly grew to rely on her advice in many areas. She is also the Board President of Spark, a non-profit dedicated to increasing the investment of young people in womens human rights both internationally and domestically.

Donna Benjamin stepped down from her position on the Ada Initiative advisory board in June. Donna began advising the Ada Initiative before our launch, helping us raise awareness and shape our mission. Her experience as a small business owner and open source community leader were especially valuable to us as we built the Ada Initiative from the ground up. Please join us in thanking Donna for her service!

Upcoming appearances

Washington DC:

  • July 10–11, 2012: Mary and Valerie will both be attending AdaCamp DC.
  • July 12–14, 2012: Mary and Valerie will both be attending Wikimania 2012‘s main program, as well as the opening reception.
  • July 12, 2011: Mary and Valerie will both be attending the GLAM Night Out at the Newseum.
  • July 19, 2012: Valerie will be attending Gallup’s Evidence and Impact: Closing the Gender Data Gap” event.

Bay Area, California:

  • July 16, 2012: Mary and Valerie will both be attending the Ada Initiative supporters party in San Francisco.
  • July 17, 2012: Mary and Valerie will both be having lunch on Google’s Mountain View campus. If you are a Google employee and want to join us, please email contact@adainitiative.org for more information.

Sydney:

Upcoming events for women in open technology and culture

See our calendar for a full listing, and submit any additional events to share@adainitiative.org.

New sponsors

Since our tax exemption was granted in May several employers have matched their employees’ donations to the Ada Initiative over the last year. Thank you to everyone who has submitted their donation for employer matching.

We’d like to thank Google employees, with Google’s employee gift matching program becoming our second Bronze sponsor by matching your donations.

We’d like to thank Atlassian employees, with Atlassian’s employee gift matching program becoming a Venture Philanthropist sponsor by matching your donations.

Thank you also to employees of Microsoft and 1st Playable Productions for submitting donations for employer matching.

Sponsorship opportunities

Instant sponsorship of the Ada Initiative is available through our Venture Philanthropist sponsorship program for sponsorship amounts between $2000 and $9999 (USD) with a minimum of hassle. Other donations of $500 or more are eligible for Supporting Sponsor recognition.

Contact sponsors@adainitiative.org for larger sponsorship packages.

AdaCamp DC applications now closed

Final applications for AdaCamp DC have now closed: thank you to our many applicants for their enthusiasm about the event, and we’re looking forward to meeting many of you in 2 weeks time. (2! Weeks! Time!)

Received an acceptance email?

If you received an acceptance mail, please follow the instructions to register for the event: we need confirmed registrations for venue and catering purposes. If you are not sure whether you registered or not, please contact adacamp@adainitiative.org.

Applied some time ago but never heard from us?

We believe we have sent out decisions by email to everyone who applied to attend prior to Friday June 15. If you applied before June 15 and have not heard from us with a decision about your attendance, please contact adacamp@adainitiative.org.

Waiting for a decision?

We are making decisions on the remaining applicants over the next few days and will notify all applicants this week. If you have applied to AdaCamp after June 15 and have not heard from us with a decision about your attendance by Friday June 29 2012, please contact adacamp@adainitiative.org.

Missed out on applying? Couldn’t make it?

If you missed out on applying to AdaCamp DC, or couldn’t make it, but are interested in attending future AdaCamps or other Ada Initiative events, please subscribe to the Ada Initiative blog or subscribe to Ada Initiative email announcements.

If you’re in the DC area, many AdaCamp attendees will also be attending Wikimania 2012 later in the week. Registration for Wikimania does not require application and remains open until July 4.


The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible.

Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.

Meet an AdaCamper: Stephanie Alarcon

Applications to AdaCamp DC are still open! (Last day!) We’re excited to introduce some of our accepted AdaCampers, to give you a sense of who you’ll meet if you come along.

Photograph of Stephanie Alarcon

by Becca Refford, CC BY

Tell us a little about your home community and/or your work.

I am a sysadmin, hackerspace organizer, and treehugger. I live in Philadelphia, where I work at an academic library keeping their Linux systems humming. I also help organize The Hacktory , a space for making, learning, and experimenting. My other big interest is electronic waste, which was the topic of my master’s thesis in environmental studies.

What is (one of) your key open techology/culture communities or projects? What do you enjoy about it?

I’ve always gotten a kick out of being part of the open source movement simply by choosing to work with open source operating systems and software. Though I don’t make these things, I do help them proliferate.

My early experiences with the open source philosophy completely clicked with the DIY mentality I grew up with, so it was an easy fit. The idea that you should be able to take your stuff apart and see what it’s made of has become engrained in how I think about everything. When the hackerspace movement took root in the US a few years ago, it too was an easy fit. I’d been hanging out with geek friends experimenting with fun things from fermentation to RFID to using iron filings suspended in oil to look at the pattern in a credit card mag stripe. So when the idea became more formalized into shared spaces where people could do this all the time, it spoke to me. Even more than that, I was drawn to the idea of using these spaces to learn and teach. I love helping people discover that tech stuff is way less intimidating than it looks. I like subtly ushering people to the realization that their fear is probably based more on someone else’s confusing explanation or investment in making it look difficult, than in the learner’s ability to grasp it. Open technology makes it easy, or at least possible, to open the hood and see how simple or complex a tool really is. That turns untouchable mysteries into puzzles to play with. That distinction is very empowering.

Photograph of Stephanie Alarcon using a soldering iron

by JJ Tiziou, used with permission

How has being a woman in your community changed during your involvement in it?

It’s hard to say what has changed for women and what has changed for me personally. Certainly it’s much easier to hold my own in a technical discussion than it was when I first started out, but that may have as much to do with getting comfortable in my own skin than any sea change for women in the tech world. The numbers of women system administrators haven’t budged much since I fell into it.

However, it’s undeniable that over the past 2–3 years, the collective voice of women in tech has gained a strength that I’ve never seen. It’s so refreshing to see woman-positive projects like PyStar, and simultaneously see incidents of sexism regularly recognized, called out, and addressed. There’s now a critical mass of people who are unwilling to tolerate sexist stupidity, and these days if you speak out against it, it’s easier to believe that you won’t be alone. This is a credit to women having the courage to stand their ground, and to our allies who are willing to face the problem, recognize that this is hurting everyone, and say enough is enough.

Outside of your involvement with open technology/culture, what are you interested in and working on?

I love working on bikes, recycled sewing projects, and old houses. I’d like to get into e-textile design, specifically from an environmental perspective. How can we make amazing washable technology that avoids the e-waste problems we already have? Last, I’m told that the bulge in my abdomen indicates that I should expect a tiny human spawn to emerge late this summer! It’s super exciting to think about greeting my little one, and working toward improving the childcare and education systems for all of us. My housemates have already noted that we’ll have to make some calculus textbooks available on our shelves for curious young readers to discover. :-)

Are you planning to propose any sessions at AdaCamp? What will they be?

Yes. My friends from The Hacktory and I are hoping to present a hands-on workshop that we wrote called “Hacking the Gender Gap”. You can read about it here: http://www.thehacktory.org/?p=2471


The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible.

Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.

AdaCamp DC applications close tomorrow, June 22!

Tomorrow (Friday June 22) is the final application deadline to attend AdaCamp DC. Applications are open to people from any region, but we especially encourage people from Washington DC and surrounding areas to apply to attend and take advantage of their local AdaCamp.

AdaCamp is a Ada Initiative event focused on increasing womens participation in open technology and culture. AdaCamp brings together people to build community, discuss issues women have in common across open technology and culture fields, and find ways to address them.

We encourage applications from people who consider themselves “non-technical” or not technical enough. We found that many people assume that AdaCamp is only for coders or computer experts, which is definitely not the case!

AdaCamp DC is a 150-200 person unconference in Washington, D.C. on July 10-11, 2012. It is co-located with Wikimania 2012, the global conference for Wikipedia and related Wiki projects. The best way to learn what the event will be like and who you will meet there is to meet some of the DC AdaCampers on our blog!


The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible.

Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.

 

Meet an AdaCamper: Leslie Birch

Applications to AdaCamp DC are still open! (Closing Friday!) We’re excited to introduce some of our accepted AdaCampers, to give you a sense of who you’ll meet if you come along.

Photograph of Leslie Birch

Leslie Birch, self-portrait

What’s your name, or pseudonym?

Leslie Birch – “Zengirl”

Tell us a little about your home community and/or your work.

I’m in Philly in what I would now call its “Era of Creativity”. I haven’t seen this much art, entrepreneurship and green culture since the 90’s! With that being said, despite all of this greatness, it’s still hard to find ways to connect with women in tech areas — especially interactive/electronics. By day I have my own production company, creating videos for nonprofits, and by night I like to dabble with ideas for interactive pieces. That includes anything from a geisha style hair ornament that changes light patterns with the tilt of a head, to the idea of creating a touch sensitive spider’s web that makes nature sounds. I like art that reminds people that they are alive and puts them smack dab in the moment.

What is (one of) your key open techology/culture communities or projects? What do you enjoy about it?

I think all of this started with Wired Magazine and their NextFest. I just found myself interested in things that light up and go beep LOL. I was lucky enough to stumble across an art/tech/education group in Philly called The Hacktory. I remember taking my first class on LED “throwies”, and then another doing a chocolate mold that was created with a vacuum press, and then progressed to a basic class on Arduino Micro-controllers. I finally got the guts together to teach a class on soft circuits — a glowing felt flower that uses conductive thread, and now I find myself interested in almost anything with sensors. I think what I enjoy the most about all of this is that you don’t have to go to MIT or have a degree to participate. One of the miracles of the web is that you can learn anything, from soldering to making textiles into sensors — it’s just a huge library open 24/7 — I thrive on that. I think there is also the thrill that a lot of women aren’t involved yet — it’s kind of like being an explorer and there is the fun of sharing it and growing it. I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that entry into one area, means entry into all areas. If you had asked me a few years ago if I would ever touch a micro-controller, the answer probably would have been “no”. Now, I’ll ask questions and touch anything that I see — I think the latest was looking at the programming for the Kinect while at another Hacktory gathering. My only fear is running out of time to see and do it all!

How has being a woman in your community changed during your involvement in it?

This is a deep question that I’m still digging at. I will have this ready by the time AdaCamp rolls around.

Outside of your involvement with open technology/culture, what are you interested in and working on?

The problem of homelessness in Philly really bothers me. So, I’ve been working on an idea for a tv show where a sock puppet named “Joy” spreads her good ideas about how to help people each day. Think random acts of kindness crossed with the idea of dispelling myths about homeless people. It’s amazing how one idea can spur so much collaboration — we now have a professional puppet, a theme song, and soon a virtual backdrop for the show. I recently had an interview with the real “Big Bird”, which was also amazing. Any other spare time I have is spent outdoors — volunteering at a Japanese Garden, birding, boating or camping and indoors — cooking up some vegan fare or doing seated meditation. It all falls into the bigger picture of practicing Zen Buddhism for me. Sometimes I worry about whether I’m going to become a monk myself, but then I remember that I’m not supposed to be thinking about the future.

Are you planning to propose any sessions at AdaCamp? What will they be?

Let’s just say amongst my camping friends I’m considered the Arts&Crafts Counselor. There may be a late night “come gather and let’s do this kit” thingy. And yes, it will include light or sound. Well, that depends on whether you are allowed to have open fires in DC. ;)


The Ada Initiative thanks our AdaCamp DC sponsors for making the event possible.

Thank you to our Gold level sponsor the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thank you to our Silver level sponsors: the Linux Foundation, Intel, Facebook, Red Hat, Collabora and Yammer.