Django Girls DC 2018 -- Redux

I returned to DjangoGirls, but this year as a coach. I supported 4 females as they installed Python (wooooo first Windows installation!), set up virtual environments and built their first blog using the Django framework.

Django Girls DC 2017

Django Girls is a non-profit organization that hosts workshops around the world to spread the Python love and foster safe learning spaces for women.

I was selected to participate in their 2017 Washington DC workshop. I spent the day working on my first nose-to-tail Django implementation and bugging my coach about syntatical differences on the uses of parentheses. I also got the chance to help explain some Python and OOP concepts to some of the less-experienced attendees, allowing me to practice articulating general programming concepts in spoken form.

Teaching Strategies Spring 2017 Hackathon

The inaugural hackathon at Teaching Strategies was a great success! I formed a team with my fellow App Support Engineer to build a utility tool that would ease one of our more time consuming and dreaded tasks.

Our hackathon project was an executable utilizing Traveling Ruby to bundle up shell scripts that would allow our integrated clients to update their data regardless of hardware and operating system or technical knowledge. The executable included basic data validation and CSV linting, to reduce load on the main application should the project ever be accepted for further development as a full fledged feature.


Technica is the University of Maryland’s all-women hackathon. In the year that I participated, Technica became the largest all-women hackathon event with over 850 participants. I served as a mentor, getting flagged down to answer questions, guiding teams through product design and even providing last-minute testing. My best moment at the event was assisting a team of high-school seniors that had built a game with Unity, featuring a pair of world-saving-fishnet-wearing-high-heel-stompin mannequin legs as its antagonist, get their work up onto Github just in time to qualify for judging.

Ruby Conf 2015

Not quite a project, but still noteworthy. In November 2015, I had the honor of attending Ruby Conf 2015 as an Opportunity Scholar. As a scholar, I attended the conference as a VIP (hello, front row seats to all keynotes), was matched up with a [mentor](, and received moral and technial support from Ruby Central staff and other mentors. I was interviewed by video folks doing a recap documentary of the conference, was able to attend a session given by the person who wrote the first coding tutorial I'd ever taken, lift weights with Sandi Metz, meet fellow The Iron Yard family members, meet Matz, get to know a fantastic group of aspiring Rubyists and beg Tenderlove for stickets of his cats.

Sessions I attended and valued, in no particular order:

  • How to stop hating your test suite by Justin Searls
  • Your own 'images as a service' by Andy Croll
  • Ideology by Gary Bernhardt
  • Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies ike a banana: parsers for greater good by Hsing-Hui Hsu
  • I estimate this talk will be 20 minutes long, give or take 10 minutes by Noel Rappin
  • The hitchiker's guide to Ruby GC by Eric Weinstein
  • Ruby's envrionment variable API by Jack Danger Canty
  • Messenger: the (complete) story of method lookup by Jay McGavren
  • Hardware hacking: you can be a maker By Christopher Sexton, Leah Sexton
  • The math behind Mandelbrot by David Bock
  • Ruby 2 methodology by Akira Matsuda

The Ruby Line/Navigate DC

The Ruby Line is an API that provide information about the upcoming WMATA metrorail arrivals, nearby Bikeshare dock information, WMATA metrorail and Uber fare estimates and walking directions.

The Ruby Line has evolved over three stages. A small feature set was originally assigned as a partnership with the Front-End Engineering course at The Iron Yard DC. In this first release, the API was built in Sinatra.

The second iteration came as a second partnership with the iOS Development course at The Iron Yard DC. For this assignment, the project was to be refactored for iOS front-end consumption and imported into Rails.

This project was refactored once again and added a fare calculator feature. In total, this API mashes up five different public APIs. There was also a switch from conventional Rails framework to using the rails-api gem (which will be folded into Rails 5 core) to cut down on the unecessary middleware. The API uses Rollbar for error monitoring and source code for all three versions are up on GitHub.

The API is paired with a sleek and user-friendly front-end to create the Navigate DC app. Navigate DC is currently deployed on Heroku.

Peace Corps Medlink

Peace Corps Medlink is a project resulting from National Day of Civic Hacking, sponsored by the White House, that makes it easier for Peace Corps volunteers to order needed medical supplies. You can learn more about the app on YouTube. My Iron Yard instructor, James Dabbs, is a lead developer on the project. I assist in issue resolution and feature development under his guidance. All code is public on GitHub.

Jungle Books

Jungle Books is a personal Ruby on Rails project built for my book club. A designated host can suggest books by searching through Amazon’s catalog and members can vote on them. Users are shown book details from Amazon API and can read reviews from Amazon customers without having to leave the app. A true conception to deployment effort by me, the front-end was handled with the help of Bootstrap. The app uses Devise for authorization and is currently deployed on Heroku.

Music Box

Music Box is a group project by The Iron Yard’s Ruby on Rails Engineering May 2015 cohort. Users are invited to the app where they can suggest songs to add to a group playlist. Songs can then be previewed and voted on for the culminating playlist. Songs are indexed via the Spotify API. During this project, I paired with two different classmates to build the song search feature and an administrative user dashboard. Uses HTTParty to access Spotify API data and TDD was done with Minitest. Originally built in Sinatra, the Rails version can be viewed on Github.