Written by Maggie Deptola, osmp program coordinator

The Open Source Mentorship Program (aka osmp) is underway, with this year’s cohort of 9 mentees and 12 mentors meeting bi-weekly at Drexel’s ExCITe Center to talk tech and work on projects. After two sessions of learning the open-source basics, the mentees have finally been paired with projects and looking forward to making awesome contributions to great civic projects.

While the mentees are picking up useful tech skills and getting acquainted with the civic tech scene, they are also gaining insight on the power of open source. It’s not just a practice, it’s a community. By working one-on-one with their mentors, the cohort is learning by doing. This experiential learning will serve them well as they become established in both the open source practice and community.

Our goals in running this program are to introduce more women to open source and increase their percentage of commits. As well, we aimed to bring diversity to the civic tech community. So far we feel confident that both have been well-achieved. We’re incredibly proud of this impressive group of women and excited to see how they continue to grow in the program. Read on to learn about osmp 2015 projects and project teams!


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.

The osmp 2015 cohort will be working on these projects throughout August and presenting on the work they’ve done at our closing event on August 26th! The exciting and valuable work the mentors and mentees are doing is made possible by our “OSM” sponsors: Azavea, Delphic Digital, PromptWorks, Chariot Solutions, and our weekly sponsors.