Code Sisters: Closing the Gender Gap

I am happy to announce that Saturday, May 23rd will be the OFFICIAL kickoff of “Code Sisters,” a monthly, structured tutorial/workshop session for women learning to code. Each month, from 9:00 am to noon, we will teach a beginner level web development topic in a workshop/tutorial format. After a lunch break, there will be time for practice, project work, and mentoring.

These sessions are geared to help participants procure valuable skills, as well as gain the confidence to form their own software projects and join the hacker community at large. We expect women who complete these courses will be able to share their own software projects at events like the weekly Hack Nights that Gangplank hosts on Wednesdays.

In the meantime, the more advanced or adventurous have an open invitation to Hack Night and the “Code Purple” lounge, where Code Sisters and their “bros” can network, connect with mentors and project partners, and practice their skills.

If you know of a woman who might be interested in the group, please let her know about it. If you have skills and knowledge you want to share, please contact Ariel Strong <> or one of the people listed below.

We are actively looking for mentors – male or female – and would welcome your input and help as we put together future sessions.

Help from the Pirate Ship

From talking to ‘Plankers the last two months, I’ve gathered lots of ideas on how to structure an initiative to get more women into coding or just tech in general. I’ve heard many (sometimes opposite!) opinions on how to approach putting a Gangplank group together and lined up a number of potential mentors.

Thank you all. I appreciate the input, especially how to decide on a language and start learning as well as links to resources that we can use.

In fact, the response was so positive with so many good ideas, I wasn’t sure where to begin.

Opening up Code Sisters (unofficially operating at Gangplank since January) to a wider audience seemed like a logical place to start, but we needed a more structured format.

The dilemma was solved on Saturday, April 25th, after a Railsbridge Workshop for women hosted by Infusionsoft. Five Gangplankers attended the introductory Ruby on Rails event – Catherine Leyen, Eileen Kane, Ariel Strong, Trish Gillam, and Christopher Murray (who provided extraordinary technical support!).

There was consensus among Gangplank’s attendees that the format used for Railsbridge would be a perfect fit for Code Sisters’ purposes. The environment was nurturing and proved fruitful for learning a new skill. All of the women left with a decent understanding of the Ruby framework, thanks to the support of the team of volunteers, mentors and organizers who worked with each sub-group of the 50+ attendees.

On top of having a solid structure, Railsbridge provides their coursework online for free. It covers a variety of languages (Ruby on Rails, Javascript, CSS, HTML) and we intend to take full advantage. Soo…

The Shape of Things to Come…

This is only the beginning. We really don’t know how things will take shape, and we will adapt as we go. We want you to join us in this adventure and maybe eventually even steer the ship. In the spirit of Gangplank, we will be dangerous. Yaarrrgh!


Novel Critique Group: First Meeting Report

The first meeting of the Novel Critique group was a great success. In it, we defined the terms the group. We covered the difference between a critique and criticism, as well as discussing the submission guidelines and methods. Our group will be using a Google Drive folder to share files, allowing both Word and Google Doc file formats.

We had five people at our group, and we are eager to see how the group grows. Our group size will be limited by the total word count submitted. For now, we will be working under the guidelines for the Aspiring Novelists, limiting submissions to 5000 words, and a total word count of no more than 40K words for each meeting.

We look forward to our next meeting, on March 31st.
For more details, or if you want to join the group, contact David at:

1st Annual AZChaserCon Recap

Last week, I had the pleasure of welcoming Christian Cleary (@monsoon_madness) and the Arizona Storm Chaser community to Gangplank to host the first (and hopefully annual) Arizona Storm Chaser Convention, or AZChaserCon.

Storm chasers play a key role in assisting intergovernmental organizations in understanding local weather events while they also help the local and national news report many of the fascinating Arizona weather events with their photos, videos, and stories. Arizona has some uniquely beautiful and fascinating weather events that are only known to the world by the work of these dedicated citizen scientists and their thrilling antics in the southwest deserts.

Christian Cleary, known best by his twitter handle @monsoon_madness, knows the power of community and collaboration in the tight-knit circle that makes up local storm chasers, government meteorologists, and news media. He was inspired to bring everyone together and found Gangplank to be the perfect host.

During the day-long event, held Saturday June 14th, Christian welcomed the likes of 3TV’s Royal Norman, 12 News’s Dr Matt Price, and National Weather Service’s Dr Ken Waters, as well as many members of chaser and citizen science community. They came together to collaborate, socialize, learn, and share the crazy antics of their hobby as they ready for another Arizona Monsoon season. There was community socializing, occasional jokes about haboobs, nerdy weather talk, and tons of great pictures of local storms.

I asked Chris to share more about his event and he wrote this for us:

Gangplank is the definition of community. When you walk through the door, the environment is uplifting, full with positive vibes and great people. And if you’re tech savvy, trust me, this is the place to be.

I live in Chandler and have a huge passion for weather. I storm chase the monsoon storms as well as tornadoes on the Great Plains. Recently, I decided to host a conference specifically for chasing the AZ monsoon that would bring weather enthusiasts, weather professionals, scientists, spotters, and storm chasers together to network, share experience, and inspire one another. A friend suggested I look into Gangplank as a possible venue.

I scheduled a time to meet with Chris L, who gave me a tour and invited me to host my event there. He also introduced me to Eileen K and the two of them helped guide me and set this conference up. On the day of the event, Jeremy S volunteered his time to host us and helped me with technical issues.

On June 14th, I hosted the first ever Arizona Chaser Conference at Gangplank, Chandler. The event exceeded all of my expectations. All of the people who attended the conference had nothing but great things to say. They enjoyed the facilities and the conference. Huge shout out to Chris, Eileen, Jeremy, and the whole Gangplank Community for making this possible. I can’t wait to host AZChaserCon next year at this amazing place. I hope that I can give back to the Gangplank community what they have given me. Without their support and sponsorship I would not have been able to host this event.

Well, Chris, let me give you and your people some praise too: you guys were a great group and gracious considerate guests. We loved having you join our community and share yours with us. We look forward to AZChaserCon ’15!

For more info check these out:

Upcoming Events

No Events