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Kirstie Whitaker wins runner-up in the Rosalind Franklin Appathon

Many congratulations to Dr. Kirstie Whitaker and her team for their runner-up award in the Rosalind Franklin Appathon 2016!
Have you attended a scientific conference, only to see a programme or panel discussion that it is almost entirely dominated by white, middle-aged men? This is unfortunately not an uncommon occurrence, and it is this lack of diversity that inspired Dr Whitaker and her team. In recognition of the need for a more balanced representation of gender and minorities at conferences, Dr Whitaker sought to increase both the profile of and accessibility to information about women and minority researchers across a diverse range of topics in academia and technology.

STEMM Role Models

Kirstie’s team – friends from her time in graduate school at UC Berkeley – have founded the STEMM Role Models project. They are building a database of women researchers, developers and engineers that will proove to be a valuable tool for programme planning. With filters and customisable keywords, organisers could easily navigate a rich trove of information, including blog links, journal articles, YouTube videos, and even a list of previously given presentations with accompanying testimonials. The idea is a bit like TripAdvisor, but than for researchers and not restaurants. The goal is to ensure that conference organisers are able to access a diverse and representative group of the most exciting researchers in their field worldwide.
Kirstie is mentored by the Mozilla Science Lab, an initiative of the Mozilla Foundation exploring how the power of open source can change the way science is done on the web. As a member of the inaugural Open Leader’s Cohort she is demonstrating her commitment to the open philosophy: that “by working together and sharing our skills and knowledge we are stronger than we could be alone”.

The STEMM Role Models project is being developed openly on GitHub and Kirstie was keen to encourage everyone to share their expertise. “If you can criticise a website, find typos, broken links, non-intuitive design, then you can contribute! And if you want to work on search optimisation, database design and simply spreading the word we would love to have you help drive the project forwards. Check out our guide for contributors for more information.”

On 2nd and 3rd June, Kirstie will be leading a satellite site (at UC Berkeley) of Mozilla Science Lab’s 2016 Global Sprint. Over these two days people from around the world will contribute to tens of open source projects. If you’re in the UK and want to spend a little time in one of the evenings, Kirstie will be broadcasting live from California and mentoring anyone who wants to get involved.

Once again, many congratulations to Kirstie and the STEMM Role Models team!

Written by Elijah Mak. 

Posted on 20/06/2016

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