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 <ariel@gangplankhq.com> 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!

 

Chandler Science Cafe at Hack Night, “Mission to Mars” with Rebeca Rodriguez

Please join us for the Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Mission to Mars,” with Rebeca Rodriguez, M.S., Space Management, Aerospace Engineer & Founder, Xplore BoX on Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 7 PM.

Rebecca spent two weeks along with seven other team members from five different countries on a simulated mission at the Mars Desert Research Station, Utah. The Mars Desert Research Station is operated by The Mars Society to further the Society’s ultimate goal to explore and settle the Red Planet. Rebecca will talk about her experience at this Mars Analog Research Station, a laboratory for learning how to live and work on another planet.

The Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah.

The Mars Society’s Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah.

In addition, Rebecca is a STEM education entrepreneur and the Founder of Xplore BoX, a subscription service where students receive a package with carefully selected projects and activities to explore the science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

“When I was 11 years old I visited NASA Johnson Space Center and from that moment on I was hooked on space exploration and science research,” Rebeca said. “Fortunately, my parents were highly involved and provided many hands-on activities like model rocketry to fuel my passion of becoming an aerospace engineer. I credit those hands-on experiences that showed me the application of all the theory I was learning in school to the success of completing my aerospace engineering degree and master’s in space management. The hands-on projects and experiments kept me focused on what I would be doing after school. Once I was working in the space sector, I noticed kids did not have the same hands-on opportunities I did and therefore decided to start Xplore BoX. I hope Xplore BoX facilitates a convenient way to expose your children to the sciences and that it sparks and nurtures their interests.”

Science Cafés are live—and lively—events that take place in casual settings, are open to everyone, and feature an engaging conversation with a scientist about a particular topic. Chandler Science Cafe, first Wednesday of the month, 7pm, at Gangplank Chandler is presented in association with the Arizona SciTech Festival and Gangplank Labs Initiative.

Free, open to the public, all welcome.

Storm Chasers & Weather Geeks Unite: MonsoonCon Returns to Gangplank Chandler June 13, 2015

MonsoonCon (formerly know as AZ ChaserCon) returns to Gangplank Chandler,  Saturday, June 13, 2015, 10 AM to 6 PM, free. The objective of MonCon is to bring weather enthusiasts, weather professionals, scientists, spotters and storm chasers together to share, educate, network and inspire one another. I believe together we can build a community of people who will be able to encourage the study of Arizona’s weather with emphasis on the monsoon, stimulate proactive brainstorming conversations and increase public safety awareness.

MonsoonCon 2015 features 12 News Meteorologist Matt Pace, PhDKVOA News Tucson Meteorologist Jeff Beamish, and National Weather Service-Phoenix Meteorologist Char DeweyStorm chasers presenting at MonCon include Jerrod Harris, Kem Poyner, Bryan SniderWill WilkensMike OlbinskiTrey GreenwoodCorbin Lee Jaeger and MonCon organizer Christian Cleary. 

Like MonsoonCon on Facebook or follow @MonsoonCon on Twitter.

Social Media Boot Camp November 2, 2013

To learn more, please visit http://www.meetup.com/Gangplank-Avondale/events/145437152/

“Social Media Bootcamp” is an immersive experience in learning and improving all areas of your social media marketing . There will be classes ranging from Intro to Twitter, G+, Linkedin, Facebook, and Youtube to classes that help you to create better content. We will also have mentors to help critique your current social media accounts and a photographer to provide head shots.

When you are not in a workshop, enjoy our drop in collaborative workspace. Bring your laptop and work on creating social media accounts, get expert feedback and critiques from fellow social media users, and develop content for your social media or just work on a project while sharing the fun collaborative atmosphere.

Please note that for the weekend, our drop-in space will be on our second floor which is unfortunately not ADA accessible.

To learn more, please visit http://www.meetup.com/Gangplank-Avondale/events/145437152/

Hacknight Chandler

Every Wednesday night is Hacknight at Gangplank Chandler, from 6 PM to 10PM (or whenever the last person passes out :). Work late on, start up, or keep hacking with your projects. Share ideas with a community of fellow makers with passions spread across many various fields.

We have seen packs of dogs, kids creating permanent tattoos, Ruby on Rails (crazy right?) and much more go down here on these weekly Hacknights. Come down and get in on the action yourself, bring the family too there’s fun for all ages here. Are you in to Python? Arduino? Raspberry Pi? Node.js? Fortran? You’ll be in good company here, the WiFi and Power are free so bring your devices and show off your skills!

RSVP On Meetup.com

Gangplank Avondale hosts WordUP AZ

wordupazOn Saturday, March 16, 2013, Gangplank Avondale will host WordUP AZ, a one-day event for WordPress Developers. The event will kick off at 9:00AM and run until 3:00PM.

WordUP AZ will use the unconference format, giving attendees the opportunity to bring up topics they most want to learn about while also allowing them to share their own expertise.

This free event is open for developers of all levels. Lunch is provided.

To attend, signup at http://www.eventbrite.com/event/5567101350/efbnen.

Listen to a Folktale to Grow Your Business.

So in the midst of so much technology and business development comes a troupe of storytellers. Why storytelling when there is work to be done? Aren’t there other good things to do at a brown-bag besides telling stories?

Stories are catalysts to new understanding. I have been storytelling professionally since 1986. I’ve learned how even the simplest story can lead the listener to thinking differently or contemplating a bit more deeply about their own life and work. At other times, the story is just plain fun and simply meant to be enjoyed. You, as the listener, get to decide if you are listening for understanding or just to have fun.

Let’s take a look at a folktale. Here is a story that I told at the StoryRise brown-bag event in June. It’s short. Watch it before you read more of this article:

There are many ways to interpret that story. When I told it at this particular performance, I was thinking about what it means for the entrepreneur. I’ve created a few questions for that story to help you think about it in terms of your work as an entrepreneur or small-business developer:

1. Were you “asleep” before you started on the entrepreneurial road? It’s easy to just go through the motions at a job but not really accomplish anything. What were you doing before you started out on your own? Were you engaged with your work or just plodding through it?

2. The boy in the story lies down and finds that the ground is uncomfortable. What “uncomforts” forced you to move forward to your life as it is now? Why do you do what you do?

3. It was necessary for the boy to take action. He had to start digging up the ground to find the chest. He needed tools. What actions have you taken to move your work forward? Did you discover, find, borrow or create new tools in order to start “digging” into your business or creation? Do you have the right tools now?

4. Everywhere you look people are shouting about “starting your own business.” Maybe within your path is a “golden box” for you. However, the boy in the story can’t open it until he has dug deeper for the key. What is the “key” to your business? What or who is it that finally allowed you to unlock the box of treasures that is your work now? Are you still looking for the key?

5. The story does not end. It simply asks the listener to imagine the treasures inside the box. As you move through your life in your own business, what “treasures” are you finding in your work, your family, your understanding of the world and others? Is your box empty or full? Are you surprised by anything in the golden box?

Now that you have thought a bit more about the story, go back and watch it again. Let your subconscious work on understanding what the story says to you.

Just as with music or any art form, there are things going on below the surface of any tale. Next time you hear a story, think about this: what are the characters doing at any point? Those actions may be symbolic of what you need to do or stop doing. Objects (fields, tools, boxes, keys, locks) in a story may also be symbols intended to make you think, “Oh, I have something like that in my life.”

Don’t worry, you won’t have to work so hard every time you hear a story. Just as you have learned to listen to and appreciate music automatically, you’ll find that appreciating and understanding story will come as naturally.

Come to our next StoryRise at Gangplank or other location. Enjoy a story just for the fun of it and/or feel free to get all introspective.

More information about StoryRise is at StoryRise.

***
Sean Buvala, storyteller, is a coach for public-speaking and presenting skills and a mentor at Gangplank Avondale. You can learn more about him at seantells.com.

Event: June 15 Brown Bag – "Will Your Business Idea Be Profitable?"

spreadsheetBuilding a profitable business requires the ability to tract important financial performance information. At the Brown Bag presentation at noon on Friday, June 15, John Bradley, Ph.D., demonstrates how to use a “Proforma Financial Spreadsheet.”

John says, “Most people start a business to make money.” In his brown bag presentation, John will show how to use this spreadsheet tool to calculate startup costs, price points, sales goals, cash-flow and income statements.”

Bio: John Bradley joined Estrella Mountain Community College in 1992. While he gets paid to teach business and management, making dreams come true is what he does best.

He says that EMCC’s flexible Organizational Management Associate in Applied Science (AAS) Degree program is his best tool for business growth. John has a PhD in Education, an MS in Technical & Industrial Education, and a BS in Agricultural Industries. You can find more about him at johnlbradley.com.

John suggests that you bring your laptop, to get the most out of the presentation.

Here are the details:

When:
Friday, June 15, 2012
Noon – 1:00pm

Where:
Gangplank Avondale
525 N. Central Avenue
Avondale, AZ 85323

Cost: FREE

Event: May 18 Brownbag – "From Idea To Invention"

gearsEvery product you use, every service you employ started with an idea. The iPad. The fuel injector in your car. Even that ridiculous helmet that your Uncle Louie wears to the Arizona Cardinals games –the one with the two beer holders and the straw. All started with an idea. And now someone is making money on those ideas.

And we know you get those little nudges. Those sparks of innovation that hit while you’re working out or about to fall asleep. Wouldn’t you like to be making money on that idea?

On May 18, inventor Elia Martinez will be presenting her free seminar “From Idea to Invention”, helping you to navigate the often confusing process of turning ideas into salable products and services.

So if you’ve ever come up with an idea for something but weren’t sure how to take it further, grab your lunch and join us for the discussion.

Here are the specs:

When:
Friday, May 18, 2012
12:00 noon – 1:00pm

Where:
Gangplank Avondale
525 N. Central Avenue
Avondale, AZ 85323

Cost: FREE

 

Event: May 11 Brownbag – "Anatomy of a WordPress Theme"

WordPressEver wanted to change something in a WordPress theme but weren’t sure where to go to make the change? Fear not!

On May 11 at noon, Dharma Kelleher of Kelleher Web Design will be examining the various parts of the typical WordPress theme, explaining what they do and how they interact with the other parts. And all with her brand of outrageous humor.

People of all skill levels are welcome. So if you use WordPress for your blog or website, or have been considering it, grab your lunch and join us for the FREE seminar!

Questions answered. Reality questioned! Lunch eaten.

The Deets:

Friday, May, 11, 2012
12:00 noon – 1:00pm

Gangplank Avondale
525 N. Central Avenue
Avondale, AZ 85323