Meet Team #ChiHackNight at the Code for America Summit

Published on Sep 28, 2015 by Christopher Whitaker

Keep an eye out for the Chi Hack Night shirts!

Keep an eye out for the Chi Hack Night shirts!

The Chi Hack Night will be sending 13 members of our community to the Code for America Summit September 30th - October 2nd, 2015.

While we’re there, you can follow the Chi Hack Night delegation on Twitter at @ChiHackNight or with the #chihacknight hashtag.

Here’s our delegation roster, in alphabetical order:

We had everyone who’s going answer a few questions about themselves and what they’re looking forward to at this year’s Summit.

We can’t wait to meet everyone there!


Rose Afriyie

CEO and Co-founder at mRelief

Rose_headshot

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I joined hack night because I believe in making an ongoing commitment to gather with people who care deeply about making a local impact. I also value that a space exists where people can gather and contribute expertise in data science, computer programming, and other superpowers.

What are you presenting at the Summit?

I’m presenting on using human centered design to improve social service delivery.

Who are you interested in meeting?

I’m really excited to connect with 18F about Privacy and Civic Technology Projects. I’m also thrilled to meet folks at Gov.UK because their screening tools are first rate in the industry.

What would you like to brag about?

I’m also excited to announce that their mRelief tool which helps program providers customize screeners for their community has gone into Private Beta. They encourage thought leaders in civic technology to request an invite at beta.mrelief.com.

What is your favorite Chicago food?   Vegan Cocoa Mousse Cake custom made at the Chicago Diner. It is a must-eat if you are ever in the city.

Cathy Deng

Developer at DataMade

cathydeng

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I joined Chi Hack Night because I dig cross-pollination! There are so many interdisciplinary conversations & projects happening at any given time.

What are you presenting at the Summit?

Open source tech is great in theory, but I thinks that in reality, open source projects are too-often intimidating & confusing. My workshop (Wed 2-3pm) will focus on how new folks can make sense of open source projects & how maintainers can be more welcoming to a wider audience.

Who are you interested in meeting?

Folks who dig information design, folks who are working on something playful/creative, and folks who want to reflect on civic tech failures.

What would you like to brag about?

This is my second year speaking at the summit - last year I talked about my work on Expunge.io.

What’s your favorite Chicago food?

My least favorite Chicago food is deep dish “pizza” & my favorite is Mario’s Italian Lemonade.

Demond Drummer

Founder at Coderspace

demond drummer headshot

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I joined Chi Hack Night to connect with civic-minded technologists. Previously, I was an organizer at Englewood Codes where I helped launch the Large Lots program. I am now a founder at Coderspace in Chicago.

What are you presenting at the Summit?   I will be presenting on Digital literacy and power at Digital Inclusion Meets Civic Tech (Wed 9/30, 3:15pm, Salon C).

Who are you interested in meeting?

Anyone interested in digital literacy - from basic skills to coding.

What would you like to brag about?

I am now a founder at Coderspace in Chicago. CoderSpace youth learn how to code and work together to build websites for local businesses and organizations. They operate on a team-based, project-based learning model. Coderspace believes the best learning happens in context and within teams.

What’s your favorite Chicago food?

Chicago is Italian Fiesta.

Derek Eder

Founder at DataMade and Chi Hack Night

derekeder

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I started the Chi Hack Night because I needed a place to work on civic tech projects outside my 9-5 job. Now, civic tech is my 9-5 job, so I go to talk to amazing people and scheme about new projects.

What are you presenting at the Summit?

I will be presenting with Adam and Claire on the panel Communicating with Citizens Using Data Visualization where I’ll be debuting a new project.

I will also be presenting on the civic volunteerism model we have pioneered at the Chi Hack Night, how it has evolved over time, and how others can nurture similar communities in their cities at Lessons from Organizing Chi Hack Night

Who are you interested in meeting?

I am interested in meeting up with all the wonderful friends I’ve gotten to know in the last four years.

What would you like to brag about?

I’m is the founder of the civic tech shop DataMade, where I’ve worked on numerous projects including Large Lots and Chicagos Million Dollar Blocks. This is my third year attending and second year presenting at the Summit.

Here’s my presentation last year on Largelots.org with Demond.

What is your favorite Chicago food?

It was deep dish pizza, but after years of having deep dish every Tuesday I now favor empanadas.

Adam Hecktman

Microsoft’s Director of Technology & Civic Innovation for Chicago

adamhecktman

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I originally joined to meet the people in the civic tech space and learn from them. I quickly discovered that it’s the people, especially the folks that come to Chi Hack Night, that make civic tech fun and rewarding. And it is the people that I meet that make me want to work even harder and so that I can contribute more.

What are you presenting at the Summit?

I will be hosting a panel entitled Communicating With Citizens Using Data Visualization on Wednesday at 3:15.

Who are you interested in meeting?

Everyone. We can learn a great deal from our colleagues in this movement that are in other cities.

What would you like to brag about?

I’m proud of the true community of thoughtful, intelligent, and interesting people in the civic tech space in Chicago and also about how the city government participates, and how the public sector employees encourage others to join in and create.

What’s your favorite Chicago food?

I’m a vegetarian, and firmly believe that nothing beats a Veggie Chicago-Style hot dog.

Josh Kalov

Open data consultant with Cook County

josh

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I joined hack night because I wanted to work on civic tech projects. I was one of the very first members of hack night and now lead the Education Breakout Group. I now leads open data efforts at Cook County as part of my work with Smart Chicago.

Who are you interested in meeting?

People working in government or with government on Open Data.

What would you like to brag about?

I’m also one of the project leads for schoolcuts.org - a site that helped parents understand the data behind the Chicago school closings.

What is your favorite Chicago food?

Portillo’s Italian Beef.

Claire Micklin

UX Designer at the University of Chicago

clairemicklin

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I first discovered Chi Hack Night through Chicago Women Developers, who sent out an invitation to the Divvy Data Challenge presentation. I attended the presentation and was fascinated by all opportunities at Chi Hack Night to make apps that helped citizens and government engage better with their cities and communities.

What are you presenting at the Summit?

I will be speaking twice at the CfA Summit. First, on Wednesday, September 30 (3:15-4:15pm), I’ll be speaking on a panel called Communicating with Citizens Using Data Visualization which explores how data visualizations can be used to engage citizens around government transparency, transportation issues, urban planning, and environmental resiliency.

Then, on Thursday, October 1, (4:30-5:30pm) I’ll be co-presenting with Derek at the Lessons from Organizing Chi Hack Night. Derek will focus on how Chi Hack Night is run and what makes it successful. I will present a case study on how she managed the process of creating My Building Doesn’t Recycle, a project that which was brought into existence at Chi Hack Night.

You can also catch me demo-ing My Building Doesn’t Recycle at the Tech Fair, on Thursday, October 1, 12:30-2:30pm.

Who are you interested in meeting?

People who are interested in how a user-centered design process (ideation to shipping and beyond) and how it can be leveraged to produce civic tech that is engaging and has impact. I’m also interested in civic tech that is aimed at affecting policy change.

What would you like to brag about?

I’m is the proud parent of a now-thriving formerly stray, toothless, tailless cat named Matias.

What’s your favorite Chicago food?

El Milagro Tortillas and tortilla chips.

Genevieve Nielsen

CTO and Co-founder at mRelief

Genevieve2

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I joined Chi Hack Night when I was first learning how to code because I wanted to apply her new skills to social problems. I had also heard about the fantastic projects that were coming out of the group and wanted to learn more about them!

What are you presenting at the Summit?

I’ll be presenting alongside Rose Afriyie, Brendan Babb, and on Using Human Design to Improve Social Services Delivery on October 1st at 2pm. We will provide examples from mRelief, a web and text messaging service that helps check their eligibility for public assistance.

Who are you interested in meeting?

People interested in civic technology, especially people who are working on text messaging solutions!

What would you like to brag about?

I’m the Chief Technology Officer of mRelief’s text messaging service - which recently started helping people in Chicago find early learning opportunities.

What is your favorite Chicago food?

Deep dish pizza.

Hunter Owens

Developer at The Impact Lab

Hunter Owens

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I joined Chi Hack Night because of the community of folks that has sprung up around interesting topics and helping people keeps me coming back.

What are you presenting at the Summit?

I’ll be facilitating an UnConference session on Student Data, For Students. Come talk to me about open data standards for student information!

Who are you interested in meeting?

Folks who are interested in education, data standards and ETL pipelines. Also, the greater civic tech community.

What would you like to brag about?

I has somehow survived (and enjoyed) 4 winters in Chicago, despite being California born and bred. I’m also a recent graduate from the University of Chicago and currently work at the Impact Lab.

What is your favorite Chicago food?

Malort. (Ed - gross)

Eric Sherman

Consultant

ericsherman

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I was already active in local politics and studying public administration when I joined Chi Hack Night. I am and remain very curious about organizational functions in government and how government could operate more effectively.

Chi Hack Night sucked me in first with interesting presentations related to civic hacking and engagement and effective tools for individuals and agencies. Then, I started getting involved in the various working groups, applying my current skillset and learning new skills.

Who are you interested in meeting?

I would love to meet any fellow GIS/Geography/Data Science people.

What would you like to brag about?

About two months ago I started working full time as a self-employed consultant. I’m learning a ton while doing some interesting work!

What is your favorite Chicago food?

Carnitas tacos from Taqueria Moran.

Alex Soble

2015 Code for America Fellow

alexsoble

What are you presenting at the Summit?

I am a 2015 Code for America Fellow working with the City of Somerville and will be presenting “21st Century Tools: How Technology Encodes Practices” on the main stage Wednesday at 10:50AM.

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I joined Hack Night back in the day, when I was a young bureaucrat at Chicago Public Schools. I noticed on Twitter that a group I had never heard of had produced a lovely map to help parents, students, teachers navigate the school system — way better than the maps CPS offered on their website at the time! I simply had to find out who these Hack Night people were.

Who are you interested in meeting?

All the new Chi Hack Night folks I haven’t met since I’ve been in the Bay Area!  

I attended hack nights with four different Brigades this year: Boston, San Francisco, Chicago, and Oakland. Meeting civic tech people across the country is fun and learning what everyone is up to is inspiring. 

What’s your favorite Chicago food?

The one with the endless layers of meat and cheese.

Owen Washburn

Founder at Eno Works

Owen Washburn

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I joined Chi Hack Night to help bring technology to bear on Chicago’s economic and social challenges. I’mnew to Chicago and was previously working with The Brookings Institution.

Who are you interested in meeting?

People tackling economic development as well as Chicagoans I haven’t met yet.

What would you like to brag about?

I recently got engaged!

What is your favorite Chicago food?

Dark Matter coffee.

Christopher Whitaker

Consultant for Code for America

whitakerontv

Why did you join Chi Hack Night?

I first joined Chi Hack Night while serving in the trenches of government working at the Illinois Department of Employment Security during the recession. I serve as co-host of Chi Hack Night and the Chicago Brigade Captain.

What are you presenting at the Summit?

I will be helping to run the Brigade Pre-Summit - look for the American flag t-shirt and sneakers.

Who are you interested in meeting?

I would love to meet everyone at the Summit, but I’m particularly interested in meeting people who are working directly with government to help make things better on the front lines.

What would you like to brag about?

I’m is the author of The @CivicWhitaker Anthology, which will come out sometime during Summit.

What’s your favorite Chicago food?

Staunchly team deep dish.


About the author


Christopher Whitaker serves as the Brigade Program Manager for Code for America. Previously, Whitaker worked at the Illinois Department of Employment Security and served with the U.S. Army in Iraq as a mechanized infantryman.