Copyright Chris Kendig Photography
Copyright Chris Kendig Photography

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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.

Copyright Chris Kendig Photography
Copyright Chris Kendig Photography

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.