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.

Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Collective Genius for a Better World”

Please join us Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 7pm, at Gangplank, 260 S. Arizona Ave., Chandler, AZ 85225, for the Chandler Science Café at Hack Night, “Collective Genius for a Better World,” with Dennis Bonilla, NASA Contractor & Senior Digital Strategist – Valador, Inc.

Dennis Bonilla, Design Manager. Senior Digital Strategist. Community Manager. NASA Contractor.

Dennis has a decade of experience communicating complex concepts using video games, infographics, and interactive platforms to inform and empower communities. Dennis has created federal websites, designed visualization software for NASA, and worked on documents presented to the U.S. President. Dennis is also currently the community manager for http://LAUNCH.org, a sustainability program developed by NASA, Nike, the U.S. Department of State, and USAID.

Dennis will be discussing his work with the NASA Open Innovation Team, the NASA Office of the Chief Technologist, and the NASA Office of Human Capitol.

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.

Get Your Sewing On at Gangplank Avondale

Gangplank Labs just got an industrial sewing machine. Rated at 1/3 horsepower, this 1950’s era machine can sew through leather, canvas, and probably thin plywood. Some assembly required – look for future updates to see when it’s time to bring your tough sewing projects to Hack Night. (Hack night happens every Tuesday from 7-9PM. It’s free, and everyone’s invited!)
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Chris is interested in using the machine  to sew a finished edge onto some rugs, Elia is interested making her own super slim leather wallet, and Heather wants to make custom fit leather sandals. What will YOU make?

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

Arduino Night

ArduinoCome join us at Gangplank Chandler the third Wednesday of every month. Arduino Night is an evening to share your project and work with others on completing Arduino based projects. It is held in conjunction with Hacknight, so there will be plenty going on and lots of great people to interact with.  Oh yeah…and pizza.

Mike Benner's Arduino Prototype Board

Arduino Prototype Board

Some of the current projects include a bathroom monitoring system, a Jeopardy style buzzer system, RFID to web service, Ghost Hunting device and even a cloud computing management tool. We also have a Epilog Laser Engraver/Cutter on site to create custom cases and mounts for your prototypes and plenty of helpful people. If you have ever thought about getting into the embedded device arena, this is your opportunity.

Don’t have an Arduino? No sweat come on down and borrow one of ours. Don’t have a project? Come join in with one already in progress. Don’t have any more excuses? Great! We’ll see you there.