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UVA “Hacking Diversity” Gives Power to the Underrepresented

by Tom Tom Staff

On Saturday, April 14, during the 7th annual Tom Tom Founders Festival, a coding hackathon will take place at the historic Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. Cohosted by the UVA’s Hacking Diversity, the hackathon aims to provide a chance to hundreds of talented individuals who would like to be a part of the coding community, but are often overlooked – simply because of who they are and how they look.

Registration is OPEN and accepting applications from women, African-Americans, Latinos/Latinas, and LGBTQ individuals. Tom Tom Foundation and UVA Hacking Diversity aim to provide a safe, inclusive environment that brews nothing but positive and supportive energy. We warmly welcome you to join us for the community, the coding, the food, and the swag. That’s right – swag! Gift cards (Visa or Amazon) will be awarded to the best hacks and hackers! Other door prizes, including books and other surprises, will be awarded throughout the event.

Did we mention that the Hackathon will be an all day, free event? It’s true! And another perk? Breakfast, lunch, and dinner will all be provided!

We’ve got a slew of great speakers lined up to share their enthusiasm, knowledge, and insight with budding coders – they will inspire and speak throughout the day, offering advice and supporting the competitors. Take a closer look:

Shauna Keating

Get to know Shauna: She is an inclusive designer on the front end team at Moonfarmer, a creative digital studio based out of Kingston, New York. Shauna currently serves on the board of directors for AIGA Upstate NY, and co-organizes the Hudson Valley Tech Meetup & Catskills Conference. Her work as a UI/UX designer allows her to focus adamantly on accessibility and inclusive design. Separate to the UVA Hackathon, you can also catch Shauna at her Summit talk, “A Universal Language: Inclusive Design” on Friday, April 13th at the Welcome Gallery downtown Charlottesville.


Ace Callwood

Meet Ace: As CEO of Painless1099, Ace helps the self-employed manage their taxes and benefit contributions through digital automation. Prior to Painless1099, Ace cofounded Coffitivity, an ambient sound platform that was one of TIME Magazine’s Top 50 Sites of 2013 for encouraging people to work more creatively. His past gigs include Entrepreneur in Residence at VCU’s School of Business, Vice President of the Richmond Venture Forum, and as a member of the Virginia Governor’s Council for Youth Entrepreneurship. Hear him speak on Thursday, April 12th in his Summit talk, “Freelancing: A Survival Guide to the Future of Work,” at the Welcome Gallery.


Richard L. Taylor Jr. 

Connect with Richard: For over 25 years, he has been a software development and technology professional working and living in Huntersville, North Carolina. At the moment, he is serving at the Director of Engineering at SentryOne, a company that elevates user’s performance and experience -physical, virtual, and cloud-based – across Microsoft Data Platform. Richard’s experience includes the design and development of small to enterprise-class applications, and his passion lies in creating and developing better software for all.

The UVA Hacking Diversity initiative is a University of Virginia Provost-funded event meant to help uproot the intentional and unintentional bias prevalent in today’s communities, by connecting underrepresented groups in computer science and the software engineering industries. The hackathon will encourage participation by minority individuals and groups in order to expand diversity in software, so that the applications and algorithms of the future can be free from the biases potentially created by an industry that often lacks fresh, diverse perspectives.

Ready for the challenge? Apply for a spot here – they are limited!






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