Meet Jessica—Senior Software Engineer at @Clockwork_Tweet and former #HacktheGap participant and mentor. On the blog, Jessica dishes about her first HTG experience, stretching skills, and empowering others
Throughout the past month and a half I have had the privilege of interning with Hack the Gap. I have gotten to know the two women behind Hack the Gap: Jenna Pederson and Kristen Womack. And I’ve had the opportunity to work with them on a professional level. Before I met them one morning I was doing some research on Hack the Gap. I came across this video and for the rest of the day, the song, Lizzo and Caroline Smith’s Let ‘Em Say, was blaring through my headphones. I had never felt so empowered. I knew that despite my heavy workload I had to take on this internship.
The first time I met Jenna and Kristen, I was incredibly nervous. I was a mere college student about to meet two people who, through the internet, seemed cooler than I was. When I arrived early for our first meeting it took me about ten minutes or so of sitting across from Jenna to realize that she was who I was looking for. Despite the minor hiccup of arriving early, the meeting was successful (no surprise there!). I connected with their mission to promote and nurture women and minorities in technology here in the Twin Cities.
I’ve learned through this experience that it’s important to be choosy when planning an event of this nature. Jenna and Kristen make sure that the companies that support Hack the Gap really believe in fostering women and minorities in technology. They live Hack the Gap’s mission to amplify the voices and cultivate talents of underserved people in our community.
What always interests me in entrepreneurial endeavors is the moment when the founders decide that they need to take action. What takes a person from identifying a problem to actually deciding to do something about the problem? For Jenna and Kristen this moment came after being on one too many diversity panels. They decided that instead of continuing to talk about women and diversity in technology, they were going to start doing something about it.
The passion that Jenna and Kristen exhibit continues to amaze me. At some point during every meeting we discuss the subject of companies talking the talk but not walking the walk when it comes to diversity initiatives. Jenna and Kristen are doing something about the issue of diversity in tech. It is inspiring to work with people who are so passionate about creating change.
I cannot wait to see all of the hard work being done for this event come to fruition. If you want to get inspired and help hack the diversity gap, join us at Hack the Gap 2017!
Kira Taylor is a current senior at the Carlson School of Management and a current intern with Hack the Gap. Connect with her on LinkedIn!
Meet Nora Helf, a previous participant at Hack the Gap and a middle school teacher in Minneapolis. Nora currently teaches a STEM class to 6th graders! They teach their students how to code! Before becoming a teacher, they worked in the Department of Natural Resources after getting their B.S. in Environmental and Natural Resources Management from the University of Minnesota.
Like you, Nora loves technology. Nora signed up for Hack the Gap because they wanted to push themself to see what they could accomplish with a team. Hack the Gap reminded Nora that collaboration is the best way to work. Nora came into the event with the intent to create something for their students. They worked with fellow hacker and teammate Angeliki to come up with a hardware/software combo visualizing brainwaves for students to learn about being calm and meditative.
Hack the Gap has inspired Nora to pursue a career in teaching technology-based content and although they will not be attending any hackathons in the near future, (they have curriculums to refine!) Nora would love to attend another one and see what they can do with a team. Nora loved being surrounded with people who were supporting and cheering them on. Nora believes that it's important to see women and non-binary people coming together to work on technology, because many people have never seen something like Hack the Gap before.
Hack the Gap brings together women and non-binary people to work and collaborate on technology. If you want to get inspired and see what you can do in a team join us at Hack the Gap 2017!
Our 3rd annual all-women hackathon will be held January 14-15, 2017 at Target Plaza Commons in downtown Minneapolis! We are excited to welcome Target as our “Change Agent” sponsor for this hackathon. We are honored to have Target’s support.
Want to know what really comes out of a hackathon? We’ve been following 100 hackathon alumni since the 2015 and 2016 Hack the Gap hackathons. Some of attendees left inspired to change jobs, come closer together as part of the tech community, and a handful have ventured off to start their own companies.