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PennApps 2015

PennApps - a huge student hackathon run by the University of Pennsylvania right here in Philly - is looking for mentors. In addition, this year they've added a Civic Hacking route!

PennApps 2015 will take place over Labor Day weekend this year. Code for Philly will be speaking about civic hacking on Friday evening, and we encourage all our members who're interested to join in by being a mentor. Take a look at the site and signup form for more information.

Check out our executive team vacancies

Help us spread the word or apply yourself for one of these key lead volunteer roles we need to fill to take Code for Philly to the next level

Latest Project Activity

Spencer Snygg Update #11

A lot of cool stuff. We are well on the way to making an alpha launch of the question section in Philadelphia and allentown, PA on October 1st. We could really make use of anyone who can help integrate Google's Civic API or who knows anything about Open Civid Data ID's. We can also use help on the next stages of development - the learn about section and the user forum.

We just applied for a grant which would be awesome if we won.

To help with explaining the question part of the website to potential donors, we made a video:

Michiko Diby YadaGuru - College Application Reminders Update #17

Another awesome night at code for Philly. The Big news – Yadaguru has received a grant from Code For Philly to help us with the launch!
This is maadddd exciting.

We’re going to get t-shirts and some kind of promotion materials for parents and kids to spread the word about yadaguru. We’re planning to do our launch sometime in October at a city school. Thanks CFP!

As always it is the fantastic melding of minds that feels so good at CFP. Tonight I met with K who engaged me in challenging conversation that helped me to get ultimate clarity around our what Yadaguru does, succinctly, and how we are really different from what’s out there. I was encouraged by the Votewise crew who are able to describe Votewise in one sentence. So K helped me think about that too. I met M who is a medical editor and will help edit our FAQs and reminders for grammatical correctness and flow. And I met C who made me realize that we need a persona-out our key user. I met K who is a high school student and will give us feedback on the app and that’s exciting.
So, an incredibly insightful night with brilliant people!

Rich McMillen Philly Bike Coalition Survey App Update #5

August 2015 - Development and testing continues on. Rich and Roy have been adding features to the web portal that survey admins can use for reporting.

Current Needs: - Anyone interested in helping with our HTML5 + Cordova mobile apps. We're on the last stretch of tweaks and bug fixes as we want to start our next beta testing round. - Anyone interested in helping with our Django/Python + bootstrap enabled web portal - used for survey management and reporting.

…. note - Any experience levels welcome. Rich (who's typing this) has been learning Python over the past two months for the first time.

If you want to get in touch, email Rich at any time! (rmcmillen50 AT gmail DOT come). If you want to poke around more, check out our github repository linked above.



Dawn McDougall osmp 2015 Projects

Lloyd Emelle and Yash Prabhu, Cycle Philly team
Lloyd Emelle and Yash Prabhu, Cycle Philly team

Learn more about our:

Visit our GitHub organization to check out resources and osmp projects



A mobile application for recording bike trips, CyclePhilly is a project enjoying success because of a partnership between Code for Philly and DVRPC. Becca Nock, a MSN-PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania, is working with mentors Yash Prabhu, a senior software engineer and Android team lead at DramaFever, and Lisa Yoder, a web developer for Urban Outfitters. Becca is working on a new design for their iOS app.


Transpo -Art is a data visualization project showing movement of various modes of transportation across the city. The project is the brainchild of mentor Mjumbe Poe, a Digital Services Architect for the City of Philadelphia and Kara Lindstrom, “Enabler” for the ExCITe Center. Student mentees Rachel Han (UPenn) an Mabel Ogiriki (Lincoln University) are working on manipulating open transportation data using Python and Javascript and then synthesizing these datasets into visualizations using d3 and SVG. Mentor Sarah Johnson, the Community Outreach Manager for TechGirlz, is also contributing her programming expertise to the project.

What Hood

What Hood aims to settle the neighborhood border debate for all time by aggregating neighborhood borders drawn into heat maps showing the “identity” of a location. Kristen Gallagher, a development associate for ActionAIDS, is contributing to the user experience (UX) and lending front-end support. Mentors and project maintainers Jim Smiley, Senior Software Engineer for ReCollect Systems, and former osmp mentee LeeAnn Kinney, a front-end developer at BAYADA Home Healthcare, will be guiding her through making HTML, CSS, and JavaScript updates to the site to make it more user-friendly.

Philly Open Health Data

Designed to increase the accessibility of public health data for Philadelphia and the surrounding counties, this pet project of mentor Briana Morgan, a health planner and web coordinator at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, will allow mentee Dominique Clarke, Community Engagement Manager at Zip Code Wilmington, to hone her back-end skills. Chad Ostrowski, a Software Craftsman and Ruby on Rails developer, is on hand to organize the endeavor.

Map App for Beginners

What would osmp 2015 be without two Azavea mentors sharing their map-making expertise with this year’s cohort? Hector Castro, an Operations Engineer, and Matt McFarland, a Software Developer, will be helping mentees Christina Deemer, a UI/UX developer for Interactive Mechanics, and urban planner Danae Mobley to create custom web apps for the datasets of their choosing. Christina chose to map the distribution of Philadelphia Cultural Fund grant funds, the city government’s only mechanism for direct funding of arts and culture organizations. Danae is mapping data to show the impact of gentrification on Philadelphia’s elderly population.

Septa Ninja

Septa Ninja is a crowdsourced alerting system for public transit in Philly. Inspired by the MBTA Ninja project in Boston, this project was forked at the recent Code for Philly hackathon, Apps for Philly Transportation. Mentees Jen Dionisio, digital content manager for the Museum of the American Revolution and Lexi Cummins, the brilliant mind behind Geek Girl Brunch, are working with mentors Iain McCallum (Delphic Digital) and Jan Mlcoch (P’unk Avenue). Mentees have gone through the backlog of issues and will be addressing ones that match their skills and interests to improve this up-and-running app.

Mike Bok Septa Next Bus Update #13

Been working on in general debugging and performance issues. Finalized training against traffic data. For this I used google's directions api along the route and then trained against what google thought the duration time would be. Will take a couple of weeks to collect a minimal amount of data to train against for the main server though.

At the moment I have given up on neural networks. They seemed to not perform as well and were hard to tweak. If anyone else wants to try different algorithms please let me know and I can give them a csv file of some data.

Next I will probably work on performance graphing of the training process. The end goal is to have graphs etc on the site so anyone can easily scroll through all the routes etc and see how well things were able to train / predict etc.

Dawn McDougall osmp 2015 Mentees

Learn more about our:

The Mentees: 2015 Cohort

Domenique Clark

Dominique Clarke is a code newbie who loves exploring the intersection between tech and civic engagement. She has spent the past year building community through Philly Fellows and will spend the next doing the same as a Community Manager for Zip Code Wilmington and an organizer for Ela Conf. She likes her cheesesteak whiz wit and will fight to defend her preference. Domenique’s personality brings added perspective to the Philly Open Health Data project.

Lexi Cummins

Check back soon for Lexi’s bio!

Kristen Gallagher

Kristen works for one of Philadelphia’s largest AIDS service organizations, ActionAIDS. She has lived in Philadelphia her entire life, and during most of her adult life she has worked as a social worker. Kristen is interested in weaving community social services and open source in a way that can benefit all Philadelphians. Teaming up with Jim and LeeAnn, Kristen is bringing her unique experience and perspective to the What Hood project.

Christina Deemer

Christina is a UI/UX developer at Interactive Mechanics, as well as a student and TA for Girl Develop It Philly. Prior to joining Interactive Mechanics, Christina spent more than a decade as an arts manager and fundraiser for some of Philadelphia’s most well-respected arts and culture institutions.

What I love most about working in tech: building things from scratch, experimenting with new ways of doing things, and problem-solving/debugging.

Christina is a voracious reader, feminist, poetry snob, foodie, and proud introvert. She is bringing a similar voracity to her mapp-app project with fellow mentee Danae Mobley under the mentorship of Hector and Matt.

Jen Dionisio

Jen is a content producer specializing in science, history, and the arts. She manages digital communications for the Museum of the American Revolution, opening in Philadelphia in 2017. She starts teaching a course in digital content production for the University of the Arts’ Museum Studies program this fall. She’s excited to put her osmp2015 training to use for Philly’s cultural community. Some lessons learned:

1) Github is not as alien a platform as I remember. 2) It’s going to be a while before I feel comfortable with the command line. 3) There’s a really great group of folks working with osmp and Code For Philly, and I’m excited to get to know everyone better.

Rachel Han

Rachel is a rising sophomore at University of Pennsylvania majoring in Computer Science. She is interested in mathematics related computer science topics and robotics. She is a big fan of hackathons and open source projects. She wants to learn more about front-end development, especially interactive experiences and data visualization. Rachel is learning these skills on the Transpo-Art project.

I find people’s help most helpful, no matter if it’s about academic related topics or just casual hangouts and interchange of random ideas. People are inspiring and you should definitely talk to more!

Danae Mobley

Danae is an urban planner working in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods. She’s interested in making this city great while being able to use some of her creative skills. When she’s not learning about tech, baking and spending time with her family are Danae’s favorite things to do. She’s putting her urban planning background to practice on the mapp-app project.

I’m interested in learning more about best practices for front end development and web mapping. I also want to know how people have made their workflows more efficient.

Becca Nock

Becca is an MSN-PhD student in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania where she is studying Health Care Administration and Nursing Informatics. Her interest is in how we can use data and technology, particularly the use of mobile apps, to improve the health care provided to older adults and to help them live in the community for as long as possible. Becca is practicing her mobile app development with Yash on some improvements to the CyclePhilly app.

I am excited to learn the process to go through when I run into a roadblock while coding. I would like to learn what to do when I don’t have a mentor specifically assigned to help me work through my code struggles.

Mabel Ogiriki

Mabel is a CS student at Lincoln University interested in programming. Her vision is to make Philadelphia and her home country, Nigeria, more tech-wise, one programming language at a time. Mabel is working closely with Mjumbe and Sarah to accomplish her goals by working on Transpo-Art.

I’ve been trying to learn JavaScript and although it hasn’t been an easy language to get a hang of, I feel through constant practice nothing is unachievable. One positive thing I’ve learned is not giving up on any task I set aside for myself even though it may seem hard at first.

Dawn McDougall osmp 2015 Mentors

Learn more about our:

The Mentors: 2015 Cohort

Hector Castro

Hector is an Operations Engineer at Azavea, a geospatial analysis firm (and osmp sponsor!) specializing in location-based web and mobile application development. Previously, he was a Developer Advocate at Basho Technologies, and a software engineer at Wharton Research Data Services (WRDS). In his free time, Hector co-organizes Philly DevOps, a DevOps user group in Philadelphia. Hector is lending his extensive background to stand up a “blank-slate” mapping project.

Computers can be complicated. I’ve been dealing with them for a while, so I think that my experience might be useful in navigating beginners through the rough patches. Then, maybe some day those beginners will be able to enjoy careers in technology like I have.

The mentee chooses the dataset and the mentors walk the mentee through the process of mapping the information.

Sarah Johnson (tiered mentor)

Sarah started her IT career as a receptionist who asked why her company used pen and paper instead of a web application and ended up as the Manager of Technology. She learned web programming on-the-job with support from community tech user groups, eventually giving back to the same community by teaching with organizations like Girl Develop It and TechGirlz. Sarah joins us as well as a tiered mentor working on the Transpo-Art project, lending her experience and drive for self-directed learning.

Mentors in the Philly tech scene have given me the confidence to take changes and continue learning all kinds of tech topics. My favorite educational moments have been outside of traditional teaching environments so I’m happy to help others in turn. Additionally, Philadelphia is a small big city where we each have the opportunity to make it great. Civic hacking is a tool that we can use to improve life in Philly using our skills to contribute to the community.

LeeAnn Kinney (tiered mentor)

LeeAnn is a front-end developer living in South Philly. She is a web accessibility advocate, co-organizer and events coordinator for Girl Develop It Philly, co-organizer of LadyHacks and the upcoming Ela conference. Last year LeeAnn was a mentee (fellow) and wanted the opportunity to help get more women into open source and to give back to this specific program.

I’m excited to continue learning and contributing to open source projects while helping others just getting started.

LeeAnn is contributing to the What Hood project.

Iain McCallum

Iain is a self taught web developer who somehow managed to convince people to pay him. He is now full-time at Delphic Digital and says he “couldn’t be happier”. He is also excited to be part of osmp 2015,

There’s some pretty awesome projects and some pretty awesome people - being a mentor kind of drops you right in the middle of it all.

As a mentor Iain is contributing his skill and can-do attitude to the Septa Ninja project.

Matt McFarland

Matt works with Hector at Azavea as a software developer. He works primarily with Javascript, Python and c# writing map-based web and mobile applications. Matt created the “Mapp-App Beginner” project with Hector as an opportunity for a self-designed project option for the mentees. Matt is tag-teaming with Hector to help Danae and Christina navigate the process of digital mapping.

I’m interested in helping more women join the tech community and beginner advance their skill with an eye towards professional software development.

Jan Mlcoch

I love living in the city of Philadelphia and working to make it a better place.

Jan studied computer science at the University of Virginia, and currently works at P’unk Avenue in South Philly doing development and project management. He enjoys cycling and community building. For the mentorship program Jan is working with Iain, Jen, and Lexi on Septa Ninja to improve upon the deployed app generated from the recent Code for Philly hackathon, Apps for Philly Transportation.

Briana Morgan (tiered mentor)

Briana lives at the intersection of public health, tech, and system-level service design. She’s really into data and the stories told by data, especially when used in the pursuit of social justice. She also loves exploring Philly, learning too many things at once, and drinking coffee. And donuts. She really loves donuts. Briana joins the program as a tiered mentor working on her own project that was also contributed to last year’s series called Philly Open Health Data.

I’m really looking forward to supporting other women as they get their footing in our local tech community. We have an amazing network already, and I’m excited to help more women get involved.

Briana is working with Chad and Domenique to put the currently disparate data into meaningful conversation.

Chad Ostrowski

Chad is a bi-ped doing his thinking with an Indo-European language. He is a rubyist & JavaScripter, creator, enjoyer of cats, the Internet, space, earth, laughter, disambiguation, and the edge of what is known. Chad is picking up his work from last year (yes, yet another osmp OG!), he is taking the lead on the Philly Open Health Data project.

I learned web development through teaching myself and through an unofficial apprenticeship program. I think it’s an awesome way to learn, and I want to pass that gift onto others. Also, the lack of diversity in the tech world makes me sad.

Mjumbe Poe

Mjumbe has been involved with civic technology for the last several years. He is currently a Digital Services Architect with the City of Philadelphia. He was an inaugural Code for America fellow, a board member with The Hacktory and Coded by Kids, an occasional mentor for new developers, an amateur carpenter, and an all-around good guy. Mjumbe offers his skills and his tech-art project co-created with ExCITe Enabler Kara Lindstrom, Transpo-Art. He’s working with Sarah and Mabel on the vast pool of data driving the web app to increase the robust data visualization.

I like learning how to help people learn; it’s incredibly gratifying. Also, one of my favorite things about the tech community in Philly is how there are so many people willing to give a little time to help others out. So, whenever I can, I try to contribute to that atmosphere. Lastly, it’s really important that we take every opportunity to make the tech community more representative of the city in general.

Yash Prabhu

Yash is a senior software engineer and Android team lead at DramaFever Corp. She has been developing Android applications since 2010. Yash is an osmp OG—she was a mentor at GDI’s pilot “Summer of Open Source” program and has TA’d several GDI classes. Yash has an undergraduate degree in electronics engineering, and a masters degree in computer science from University of Pennsylvania.

I would love to teach version control and mobile development to others and in turn see more engineers consider a career in Android development.

This year she is working on the Code for Philly project CyclePhilly.

Jim Smiley

Jim is a software engineer with ReCollect Systems, a startup that works with municipalities to get their residents to recycle more. He’s also currently the web editor for Philly and Geek Award Civic Hacker of the Year nominee. Jim is another osmp OG—this year he brings another project called What Hood that crowdsources neighborhood borders. If anyone can draw neighborhood borders, and if a system can calculate the “average” then there might be more equity in the names of neighborhoods, because it matters. He’s partnering up again with tiered mentor LeeAnn Kinney and mentee Kristen Gallagher to work on the project.

I like the idea of balance, and it doesn’t seem like the technology industry has it. I was a mentor last year and felt like I really benefitted from interactions with people other than white men.

Lisa Yoder (tiered mentor)

Lisa is a front-end developer at Urban Outfitters currently learning the Rails stack and a TA for GDI Philly. She’s also a lover of travel, reading, and delicious food. For osmp Lisa is working with the Cycle Philly team.

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