Fall 2016 (San Francisco)
Sophia Eng (@sophianeng)
Sophia Nguyen Eng is a Bay Area native. She is an entrepreneur and marketer who graduated from George Washington University in Washington, DC. and has built two small startups, exponentially growing revenues to six-figure sales annually. Sophia is a mother of two young girls and loves to cook, paint, and run. She is also a founding WomanSpeak Circle leader who seeks to inspire women and girls to speak their truth and change the world.
Though Sophia started coding QBasic at a very young age, she is excited to join the MotherCoders family to take her technical skills to the next level, while teaching her daughters to worry less about fitting into glass slippers and more about breaking glass ceilings.
Theresa moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles three years ago when her son was born. Prior to parenthood, Theresa was an Executive Director for an endowed family foundation in Beverly Hills. She led the board in creating the foundation from inception to full operation. She was instrumental in creating the mission and objectives of the foundation as well as creating its infrastructure. She has sat on numerous non-profit boards, chairing several.
Currently she volunteers with the Junior League of San Francisco, the Golden Gate Mothers Group, and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art where she recently completed a four year term as the Social Events Chair on the volunteer board.
Theresa received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, with a double major in Cognitive Science and Communication Studies with a specialization in Computing. Theresa is using the MotherCoders program to initiate herself into the technology field and connect with others interested in technology and non-profits.
Janalynn Castillo (@latinamina)
Janalynn has spent most of her career advocating for greater health access to affordable healthcare and coverage in California's Central Valley. She is concerned about the growing barriers and health disparities of underserved communities, but sees health information technology as an effective tool to address challenges and erase these disparities.
After many years of being intimidated by the digital world, Janalynn has decided to take the first step in expanding her tech foundation. She believes MotherCoders will help her gain new skills and confidence to pursue her passion of developing innovative ways to improve patient health outcomes.
Janalynn currently lives in Sacramento and is a project coordinator for the California Primary Care Association. She received her BA in Political Science from California State University, Bakersfield. She's mom to five-month old daughter, Paloma.
Gulnara was born and raised in Russia, where she received a BA teaching degree in Mathematics and Informatics from Bashkir State Pedagogical University, and earned a BS in Applied Informatics in Economy from Ufa State Aviation Technical University. She moved to the United States seven years ago and is the proud mother of a six year old son. Gulnara has been living in San Francisco, where she's worked for the past several years as a Database Coordinator.
Gulnara believes it is very important to understand the trends and issues driving the tech industry, and she's ready to take her tech skills to the next level. She joined MotherCoders in order to reinvent her career and meet other women who share similar goals and challenges.
Irene Florez (@IreneFlorez)
Irene brings a diverse skill set that combines her work using research, analysis, writing and strategy. Whether as a reporter, online manager or communications associate, Irene’s work has continually converged around websites and databases: filtering through database logs, streamlining impact dashboards, planning website revamps and managing branding changes. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, with a minor in Journalism, from Mills College. Irene hopes MotherCoders will orient her to how she can bring her experience and education together in today's market, and help her gain new skills to move forward professionally. Irene is the mother of a curious and lively 2-year-old.
Jahvita Rastafari (@JRastafari)
Jahvita Rastafari is a Bay Area native (yes, she is Rastafarian, no her name is not Jamaican, It's Amharic). Jahvita is a proud mother of Kymani, her sweet and sassy four-year-old girl. Jahvita grew up in East Palo, CA for most of her life and then moved to Miami, FL where she was the first in her family to obtain her college degree. After moving back to the Bay Area after college, Jahvita started her professional career in the non-profit sector where she picked up her passion for Social Media Marketing and took up a little bit of coding on the side. Jahvita has experience in a wide range of sectors including for-profit, non-profit, and general startup launch activities.
Jahvita is a creative, a real nerd at heart and always is up for a challenge with a cup of Philz in her hand. Her goal is to learn some new skills that can help take her career to the next level and hopefully she can teach her daughter to code in the process (never can start too early, right?).
Rosalind's career has taken many twists and turns -- from management consultant to photographer to small business adviser to founder and architect of a web-based publishing platform for photography content in the wedding industry. She holds an MBA in strategy and marketing from the Kellogg School at Northwestern University and an undergraduate degree with a focus on economics and English writing.
After five years of being a mom to 3 kids who were, at one point, all wearing different diaper SKUs, Rosalind now has dozens of ideas for products and services that ought to exist to make life easier and more manageable. In addition to using technology to make life easier for moms, she is super passionate about ways to use technology to facilitate the organization and curation of image related-content, and about giving people access to all of the robust personal data that is captured *about them* to help them make better decisions in their own lives. She couldn't be more excited to be part of MotherCoders.
Zhenzhen was born and raised in China. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Journalism and Master’s Degree in Sociology, both from Renmin University of China. After graduation, she worked for a non-profit organization focusing on HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention. Then she came to the United States, and obtained a Master’s Degree in Anthropology at Purdue University. Now she has a two-year-old daughter.
Zhenzhen found her passion in coding and data analysis when she was taking classes in Statistics and analyzing data at Purdue. She spent hours and hours on class projects in SAS, and didn’t feel any fatigue. Instead, she felt fulfilled and excited. That's why she's decided to pursue a career in data science.
Fall 2016 (Berkeley)
Vonnie Chan is the mother of a first-year middle school daughter and high school freshman son. She has spent over twenty years working for Bay Area non-profits, building community and providing services to underserved populations. An advocate and activist at heart, she has utilized her expertise in finance, operations, and human resources to enhance organizational efficacy organizations committed to social justice and raising awareness for issues affecting children, youth and families. Her work experience ranges from start-up toy companies, storytelling organizations, children’s literacy, civil rights, and social justice non-profit work. One of her proudest achievements is co-founding the first Asian Domestic Clinic of the East Bay to support survivors of family abuse.
In 2005, she launched a children’s clothing line (www.chicksandfrogs.com) when her own kids were toddlers. She currently feeds her passion for social entrepreneurship as an Advisory Director of Mothership HackerMoms (www.hackermoms.org), the first DIY-creative-making community co-working space for moms of all genders in South Berkeley.
Vonnie is continuing her entrepreneurial journey with a project that engages Bay Area youth and families in coding and STEAM related educational opportunities for fun, community building, and change-making in this new digital world. She's eager to share and gain coding and entrepreneurial experience with MotherCoders!
Masharika Prejean Maddison (@masharika)
Masharika Prejean Maddison is the founder of LightWell Coaching + Consulting, a practice specializing in the capacity building of individuals and organizations committed to social justice and social responsibility through policy action, advocacy, and innovative systems change. She has an interest in working at the intersection of policymaking and technology, and sees MotherCoders as an integral step on her professional learning journey.
Masharika received her Masters of Public Policy through studies at the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs (The University of Texas-Austin). Masharika enjoys long distance running, discussions of current events with friends, and exploring the vastness of the world through the eyes of her two young sons.
Alexandra Jayeun Lee (@leejayeun)
Alexandra is a design consultant based in Richmond and mum to an active 1 year-old. She is a recent transplant from New Zealand, where she obtained her PhD in Architecture. She completed her postdoc at UC Berkeley which culminated in her first publication "Resilience by Design" (Springer: 2016), looking at how Design Thinking principles apply in times of societal crisis - in particular the early days following major urban catastrophes like earthquakes and hurricanes.
Alexandra's goal is to help pave the way for mainstreaming new field of public interest design across the globe. Alex is very excited to join MotherCoders, where she hopes to hone her UX skills and meet likeminded women.
Sysamone Phaphon (@phaphons)
Sysamone is a single mother with an 8 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. She has a B.A. in Human Development, with a minor in Psychology, and an M.S. in Health Care Administration from California State University-East Bay. Although Sysamone had a great career implementing special projects for both Kaiser Permanente and Stanford Health Care, she recently left her healthcare career to pursue her entrepreneurial dreams.
Sysamone is founder of early stage startup Groupeezz, a social web platform and mobile app that introduces a new way for people to connect over their shared interest in movies. She is also an organizer for the Women Supporting Women meet-up group, which enables women to learn from each other and trade tips and skills for career success.
Sysamone is excited to immerse herself in the technical side of the startup industry through MotherCoders. She plans on utilizing her new skills and knowledge to build her company and encourage more women, especially mothers, to get into tech.
Lillian Fleer (@lillianfleer)
After a childhood in the woods of Vermont and four years at Macalester College in Minnesota where she got a degree in Linguistics and Anthropology, Lillian moved to the Bay Area so she wouldn't have to shovel snow. She got a job at Heyday, a nonprofit publisher in Berkeley, and worked there for a decade learning about all things California--from the many histories to the natural wonders to the rich culture. She left Heyday five months ago to have her first baby.
Through MotherCoders, Lillian hopes to gain a deeper understanding of the tech landscape that surrounds her and possibly create something that gets people outside and walking around their city to learn the history and culture of the place they live. She is also interested bridging the gap between the arts nonprofit and tech sector, making technologies more accessible to underfunded nonprofits and bringing a diversity of thought and imagination into tech.
Lillian lives in San Francisco with her wife and baby where they spend nights shushing and days outside exploring their glorious city and state.
Sonya Schroeder is an entrepreneur and marketer who enjoys juggling the busy lives of two teen boys and a nine year old daughter. She spends her off hours cheering for her kids at water polo tournaments and theater productions.
Sonya began her career in management consulting at Bain & Company, then had operating roles at American Express, Time Inc, and The Geppetto Group. A few years ago she discovered the joys of entrepreneurship (and the importance of coding!) when she co-founded a tech company, iiWisdom, with a business school classmate. Though she was responsible for sales and marketing rather than product development, the web development process consistently fascinated her.
Through MotherCoders, Sonya looks forward to getting a better understanding of the tech landscape, and hopes to put her newfound skills to good use on another entrepreneurial venture.
Clare relocated to the Bay Area from Shanghai, China 2 years ago with her 3 children and husband. She graduated from Georgetown University with a BS in Spanish/Portuguese and spent 20 years working for General Electric in a variety of roles and locations on the East Coast and in the Netherlands. Her core GE training is in Finance (financial management training program) and in Quality as a certified Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt.
Clare’s volunteer activities range from coaching high school tennis and basketball, teaching children's cooking classes, and serving as Treasurer of the Berkshire Museum.
Clare is looking forward to progressing from being someone who frequently called the corporate IT help desk to someone curious about the how’s and why’s technology. She also wants to build an app that helps seniors stay socially engaged by connect better with their local communities.
Margaret Lee (@margaretlee)
Margaret holds an undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley. She has built a career in marketing that spans tech, entertainment, and consumer products. She is the mom of an active, curious 18 month old toddler who likes making messes, eating crayons when mom is not looking, and dreams of being a "big kid" some day.
Margaret is excited about learning, building, and dreaming big thanks to MotherCoders. She is passionate about creating tech enabled tools to provide everyday solutions for moms and families.
Paula is an educator by trade, an artist at heart, and mother to an 8 year-old boy and an 10 year-old girl. She has been teaching developmental English at the community college level for ten years and feels total joy when she is in the classroom immersed in critical learning and growth with her students—grading papers is an entirely different story, however.
Hungry for a new way of working both inside and outside of the classroom, Paula recently left her full-time faculty position to gain the technical skills and insights she needs to make a major transformation her life's work in education.
Paula is a first-generation college student, Queer, Chicana who grew up in San Bruno and has lived in the city for 22 years. She is a graduate of City College of San Francisco, earned a B.A. in American Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and her Master’s degree in English from San Francisco State University.
After many years living abroad, Rebecca recently moved with her pre-schooler and husband for a new adventure in the Bay Area. Prior to relocating back to the United States, she specialized in internal communications for several multi-national corporations in Asia Pacific. She is looking forward to joining a network and community of like-minded moms who are interested in learning and exploring "all things tech" in the year ahead.
Sung Jee Yoo
Sung Jee is a mother, massage therapist, and EFT practitioner. She is remarkably capable and coherent for having slept in only 2 to 3 hour stretches since early 2015. Sometimes she catches up on sleep during savasana.
Sung Jee’s intention is to use coding to empower other creative but low-tech allies. Her long-term goal is to standardize the two-word first name on online forms. She loves forests, eating bread with lots of butter, and wondering what is going to happen next on Battlestar Galactica, a show she started in 2014 but is too distracted to finish. Sung Jee has a B.A. in literature and ethnic studies from Bard College. She used to work as an editor in publishing. She is grateful for the challenge and collective wisdom of MotherCoders.
Winnie Fung (@wfung00)
Winnie, a Bay Area native, is currently relearning the local sights and sounds through the active and curious eyes of her 4 year old daughter. Winnie enjoys new challenges, including learning the ins and outs of web design, practicing the consistency of calligraphy/lettering, and discovering the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe.
After receiving a Bachelor's degree in Urban Planning and Studies from the University of California, San Diego, Winnie began implementing and managing program services for youth in San Francisco through the non-profit sector. Interested in influencing education on a larger scale, she pursued a Master's degree in Urban Education Policy from Brown University. Through MotherCoders, Winnie wants to figure out how to use technology to support disconnected youth and their families in overcoming challenges to education.
Sue Homer (@PolisciSue)
After receiving her BA and JD from UC Berkeley, Sue Homer became a Professor of Political Science at City College of San Francisco. Over the past 24 years, she’s advised numerous student clubs and organizations and continues to support student efforts to bring about social change, both on campus and in their communities. Sue is also a cofounder of the Multicultural Infusion Project, which supports the expansion of strategies that meet the needs of the College’s diverse student population and increase equity.
As a third generation San Franciscan, whose two kids are growing up here, Sue believes that equity in education and technology are critical to the future of both her family and our city.
She’s participating in the MotherCoders program because she wants to help steer the transformation happening in education that’s being driven by technology in a positive direction, especially for underrepresented students. Sue is seeking to strengthen her technical skills and understanding of the digital landscape so that she can increase equity for students in K-12 and higher education.
Carmen Díaz Echauri (@cdechauri)
Carmen is a free spirit, an electronic and classical music lover, a dark chocolate and red wine lover, and a back-end developer. She's from Paraguay, where she received one bachelor's degree in Business Administration from the National University of Asuncion (Universidad Nacional de Asunción), and another in System Analysis from the Catholic University of Asuncion (Universidad Católica Ntra Sra. De la Asunción).
Carmen pursued her dream of becoming a technologist in spite of cultural barriers. Already an expert in Ruby On Rails, she's looking to take her career to the next level by rounding out her skill-set with front-end development. Carmen is also looking forward to gaining a better understanding of the trends and issues driving the tech industry, as well as strengthening her connections with other female technologists.
After being away from the workspace for the past year to spend time with her new son, Carmen is excited to start an adventure with MotherCoders.
Colleen George (@48hrhousewife)
Colleen is a Bay Area native currently residing in Richmond with her husband and two children, Noah (6) and Journee Rose (1). She holds an undergraduate degree in Development Studies from UC Berkeley and maintains a strong karaoke game.
Colleen currently works in the clean energy industry as a contract compliance specialist. Her interest in coding was sparked by friends working on the development team. After completing the course, she plans on strengthening her skills and continuing her career path toward becoming a web developer.
Kimberly Voisin (@kimberly_voisin)
Kimberly is an urban designer and mother of 2 boys, ages 4 and 7. Her interest in design began at the age of 10 when she won a Lego building competition. Ever since her creation took first place, design has been her passion.
Armed with an undergraduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning, a Masters of Landscape Architecture, and a certificate of Graphic and Interactive Design, Kimberly sharpened her urban design skills while working for municipalities and consulting firms.
Kimberly believes that learning to code is a key skill in the new economy and is excited to develop this ability as part of the Mother Coders program. In her spare time, Kimberly can be found designing knitting patterns, baking, and teaching her two boys the intricacies of Lego building.
Mikel Blake (@mikelb)
Mikel love adventures of many flavors! After being away from the workforce for the last six years to raise her three kids -- Lily (6), Charles (4), and Penelope (1), she's currently undertaking the adventure of becoming a front-end web developer. After dabbling in coding through Codeacademy, Mikel is using the MotherCoders program to prepare herself for a full-time developer bootcamp. She's also using this experience as a way to set an example for her children on how one can pursue dreams in spite of obstacles.
Mikel holds a B.A. in International Relations from Brigham Young University. Prior to becoming a mom, she was head of marketing for a non-profit organization.
Prisca Ekkens (@pekkens)
Prisca was named after Saint Prisca, a practicing Christian under Pagan rule who was beaten, flogged, starved, and survived being burned on a pillar of fire only to be beheaded shortly after. While a bit dramatic, Prisca does share her namesake's spirit of perseverance and commitment.
Prisca is also a bunch of walking contradictions: a native New Yorker that is, totally, Californian; a conscientious eater that loves loves In-N-Out; and a right brained designer that wants to code. She is an artist, designer, digital enthusiast, dreamer, and problem solver. She loves being an awesome mom to her 3-year old son, Jasper. There’s no group she'd rather be a part of right now other than Mother Coders, doing new and amazing things in the company of amazing women.
Robin Ahn (@robin_ahn)
Robin is first and foremost mom to a 7 month old baby girl who brings her joy beyond measure every day. Pre-baby, Robin was immersed in startup life, where her days moved at breakneck speed as a community manager. Robin has found MotherCoders at a crossroads of these two equally compelling trajectories.
Robin has literally traveled thousands of miles to where she is now. Born in South Korea and raised in Canada and Australia, she studied Cultural Studies and Sociology at McGill University before settling down in the San Francisco Bay Area. After the program, Robin plans to use the skills, knowledge, and connections she gains to help bring more great content to life on the internet.
Website: coming soon
Zane Cirne (@zanecc)
Currently a stay at home mother, Zane holds a Masters degree in Computer Science from the Federal University of Paraíba in Brazil. She has 17 years of experience as a system administrator, including over 5 years as a Unix/Linux System Administrator and Postmaster at Qualcomm Inc.
A native of Brazil, Zane has three wonderful kids, two girls (ages 22 and 13) and a boy (10). By participating in the Mother Coders Program, Zane is looking to update her technical skills and industry knowledge before pursuing a new role in an ed-tech company.
Alexis Rae MacGregor (@gamsoy)
Alexis is currently a stay at home mom to an 8 month old daughter. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Cell and Molecular Biology from California State University - Channel Islands. She recently worked as a scientist for a DNA sequencing company.
Alexis is interested in doing this pilot to challenge herself and to learn something new. She has been blogging for the past year and wants to take it to the next level. She is excited to be in the MotherCoders Pilot Program in order to be hands on with the creative process that goes behind making a website. One reason she is interested in taking up coding is to be able to teach it to her daughter and future children, as well as work alongside her husband on side projects.
Angela Cordon (@alaoceano)
Angela is a native San Franciscan who has studied art her entire life. She recently began working as a freelance illustrator and graphic and web designer so that she could have more flexibility in her schedule to parent her 2 year old son -- the inspiration for her beginning this new chapter in her life. By learning to code, Angela would like to build on her experience as a visual artist and extend her work to include web design and development for local small businesses, as well as educational apps for young children.
Johanna Silva Waki (@johannaswaki)
Johanna is the owner and co-founder of Hope Road Consulting, LLC, a full service political consulting and public relations firm specializing in campaign and field strategy for candidates, initiatives, advocacy campaigns and community engagement programs. Johanna brings 15 years of expertise in communications, mainstream and ethnic media relations, political engagement and government affairs.
Johanna currently chairs the Emerge California's Campaign Advisory Team, a political leadership training program for Democratic women; is a founder of PowerPAC.org, an organization building a social justice political agenda for California; and serves on the Advisory Board of the San Francisco Women's Political Committee. She also served on KQED's Community Advisory Panel.
Johanna holds a B.A. in Political Science and La Raza Studies from California State University, San Francisco. She lives in San Francisco with her husband and her sweet, energetic, and music loving three year old son.
Natalie Low (@legosnpixiedust)
Natalie recently moved from Seattle to the Bay Area because of her husband's startup and has since been staying home with her 16 month old son. Prior to their move she had been working as a structural design engineer and stress analyst on the 787 Dreamliner at Boeing. With little aerospace industry presence in the region and a son who was still keeping her up at night, Natalie decided to spend what free time she had learning web programming since she enjoys problem-solving and the demand for qualified web developers is high.
While Natalie's programming focus has primarily been on Ruby on Rails, she's looking forward to diving into the front end. Her goal is to become a web developer, either working at a startup in the area or on her own project.
Natalie holds a B.A. in Psychology, with minors in Math and Chemistry, from the University of Oklahoma, and a Masters in Civil Engineering from the University of Washington.
Pia Soy (@PiaSoy4)
Ten years ago, Pia Soy took a risk and her luggage, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area on her own. With a degree in Microbiology from the University of Maryland, she decided to work in software sales for biotech companies, including Silicon Genetics and Agilent. She enjoyed traveling to different labs throughout the country to promote company products. After getting married and starting a family, she decided it was best to stay in one place. So she trained to become a clinical lab scientist at UCSF’s Medical Genomics lab, where she's been working as a Cytogenetics Specialist.
Pia has two very active young boys. Her five year old enjoys light saber fights and launching angry birds throughout the house. Her three year old is mommy’s helper in the kitchen, and shares her passion for all things sugary. Pia and her husband, James, love taking their boys to the playgrounds in Golden Gate Park, which is just steps away from their home. When she’s not caring for cells or her children, Pia loves to indulge in creative pursuits. She draws, paints, sews, bakes, plans parties, and goes to art exhibits.
Pia is so excited to be part of Mother Coder’s pilot program, after which she plans to work on projects to build up her portfolio and eventually apply to Pinterest!
Sarah Doczy (@SarahDoczy12)
Sarah brings a diverse skill set that combines her background in business with experience in technical implementation and delivery. Following her MBA, Sarah spent 6 years in the financial industry working closely with technical teams to define requirements and test cases for complex algorithms. In her current position in Web Analytics at CreativeMarket -- a company recently acquired by Autodesk that offers a platform for handcrafted, mouse-made design content from independent creatives around the world, Sarah's learning all about content marketing strategy and growth analytics.
Sarah has the most beautiful 2 year old daughter and an amazingly supportive husband, who has encouraged her to pursue a career in web development. After Sarah's daughter was born, she nervously picked up a beginner HTML book and has since found herself hooked.