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Trio of DC's Top Female Coders Hail from Federal Innovation Shop

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By Hallie Golden April 29, 2015

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Three employees of 18F, the digital fix-it arm of the federal government, were honored at Tuesday night’s inaugural DCFemTech awards, recognizing the D.C. area's top female programmers.

18F tied only with AOL as the organization with the most employees honored.

Out of a pool of almost 80 nominees, 30 women were selected by a committee based on the impact their programming work has had on their organization and the community, as well as the level of complexity in their code.

The awards were organized by DCFemTech, a collective that collaborates and shares resources as it works to expand the presence of females working in the tech field while helping those already in it.

“We decided that some sort of awards would be a great way to not only recognize the achievement of women that fly under the radar very frequently, but also to raise attention to the topic of women in tech, and specifically furthering the cause of getting more women in technology positions in Washington, D.C.,” Shana Glenzer, co-organizer of DCFemTech, said in an interview with Nextgov.

(Rich Kessler Photography)

Each person who submitted a nominee was required to answer the question, “How did this nominee's code and/or technical projects over the last year help to achieve business goals or further an organization's goals?”

Here’s how they answered the question for 18F’s award recipients:

  • Leah Bannon, 18F product manager, tackled a wide array of projects at her own organization and “she never steps back from a challenge,” stated the nomination information. Bannon has also worked as co-captain of the volunteer civic hack group, Code for D.C., and has led the Tech Lady Hackathon, an annual civic hacking and training event for women.

  • Kaitlin Devine, director of engineering at 18F,helped to create FBOpen, a digital platform showing small businesses how they can work with federal agencies. She has also been active in her support of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

  • Jacqueline Kazil, 18F innovation specialist, in addition to working on other agency projects, helped modernize the FOIA process. "Her code is instrumental in revolutionizing how government develops and delivers software,” stated the nomination information. Kazil was also an organizer of Pyladies meetup, a Python training program.

Each of the committee’s 12 members evaluated every nominee and awarded her a score. The scores were then tabulated and averaged. The top 30 scores received an award at the event held at Google DC headquarters.

“I've been involved, as many of these women have, in the women in tech scene over the past year and a half, and many of the women that are leading some of these [tech] groups in their spare time have federal government jobs,” Glenzer said.

Two other award recipients are full-time employees of the federal government: Rebecca Bilbro, a data scientist at the Labor Department, and Rebecca Goodman-Sudik, an IT specialist at Smithsonian Libraries.

(Image via KieferPix/ Shutterstock.com)

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