Encouraging women to experience the marvels of data science was
the focal point of Space Apps events
around the world Friday. The main stage for the 5th International Space Apps
Challenge and the Women in Data Bootcamp was hosted by Space Apps Pasadena at Cross Campus in California.
Over 140 participants were given top-level introduction to coding and data
Keynote speakers such as Kimberly Bryant of Black Girls Code talked about the next generation of coders and emphasized the importance of getting girls interested in tech early. Her organization has introduced over 10,000 students to programming and technology. Dr. Anita Sengupta of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory shared a behind-the-scenes look at how she and a team of NASA engineers successfully landed the Mars Curiosity Rover. Michelle Easter, founder of Mind Makers brought her team of “rock star engineers” including NASA JPL’s Bobak Ferdowsi and Isis Anchallee the software engineer who started the #iLookLikeAnEngineer movement.
A Space Apps storytelling booth provided innovators with storytelling strategies and encouraged them to craft their own stories. Emily Sky of Oppeos prepared participants to own their story and make their best pitch.
Inspirational speakers also included Emily Lakdawalla Senior Editor of The Planetary Society, and Kiki Wolfkill Studio Head of Halo transmedia and entertainment at 343 Industries. Intel Fellow Amber Huffman discussed her model concept of “competence, confidence, and perseverance” for achieving audacious goals. Alex Tosti CEO and co-founder of blink blink described how she hacked a camera rig to help her better display her prototypes and grow her startup. Creative scientist Dr. Kate Stone shared an impressive and moving story of hacking cultural perceptions.
In Pasadena, ten curated “Stardust Stations” showed applications of data, demonstrated simple hardware projects, and taught hackathon skills. Participants got started with microcontrollers, and learned how to find, prepare and interpret data. They used APIs and wrote basic code, connected sensors and built basic circuits! Stardust Stations were conceived and hosted by community leaders, designers, engineers, developers, and startups who represent some of best technology companies in the world.
Participants lined up for one-on-one sessions to learn how to solder from Mind Makers who also gave 10-minute pop-up tutorials on binary. Creative minds from Microsoft, Novalia, Intel, NASA, JPL, IBM, Socrata, rolled up their sleeves and worked alongside participants, imparting new skills, forging new bonds, and showing that any one with the drive to seek out resources and a passion for Earth and space has a place at Space Apps.
Some three million people were reached around the #SpaceApps hashtag. Check out our Storify for curated social media stories, vidoes and photos.
Elyssa Dole is the NASA Datanaut Community Manager, and Space Apps Data Bootcamp Coordinator