It’s a Tuesday, I’m rocking out to the Rolling Stones’ “Exile on Main Street” album, and a few Defrag updates seemed appropriate.
First off, check out the Aspirations in Computing Educator Award from the NCWIT. The award is meant to identify teachers that are positioned to have an impact on the education and future of young women getting involved in computer science. Defrag will be asking all of our sponsors to chip in, and we’ll be putting together a sum to sponsor this (in fact, I intend for us to do this every year). The goal this year is to be able to award 10-12 outstanding teachers (grades K-12) with $1,000 for professional development in a computing-related opportunity. I’m really excited about this. For whatever reason, giving back has been top of mind for me this year — and, having seen how hard it is to get women to the forefront of a technology conference, I want to do everything we can to encourage America’s young women to get involved with science and technology. More to come on this as the award develops (and expect some announcements from the stage at Defrag).
Second, I’m pleased to announce that Brad Feld will be taking to the keynote stage to talk about “The Rise of the Machines.” I have an inkling what that’s about, I think. Anyone who knows the history of Defrag knows that it all started as an email exchange between Brad and I, and yet in the previous four years, Brad has only appeared on stage once. I’m glad that in year 5, we’ll have him as a keynoter.
The non-related link between those two announcements is that Brad serves on the Board of Directors of the NCWIT. At the end of the day, it’s all part of a concerted push I’m making this year to make sure that Defrag leads the way when it comes to women and technology (conferences). If you’re keeping track, the full scope of that now includes:
1. Presentations from wonderful speakers like Wendy Lea, Lili Cheng, Maggie Fox, Laura Merling, Mollie Rusher, etc.
2. The Kauffman Foundation Scholarship (for students/ramen-entrepreneurs) – where we’re setting aside at least 50% of the scholarships for women.
3. The invite-only “Women in Tech” lunch that Mollie Rusher and the good folks at On3 are putting on (hint: you must be a woman attending Defrag to get an invite), wherein they’ll discuss how to support and encourage greater participation of women in technology.
3. The Aspiring Educators Award we’ll be supporting through the NCWIT.
It’s not the end all, but hey, it’s a start — and I do think Defrag (as usual) is leading the way (Dear other tech conference organizers: time to step up). If you haven’t joined us in the past, I’d urge you to take advantage of the early bird rates before they expire on September 2nd. This year’s show is going to be an epic, not-to-be-missed, one they’ll be talking about for ages, kind of event.
And we’re not even done planning yet….;-)