This week's Vincent Award goes to Jean MacDonald. Jean hasn't run an ultra-endurance marathon or lived to be 110 (at least not yet...see last week's winner), but Jean has done something just as important and every bit as challenging. Jean has left her job with Smile Software to work full-time on an endeavor she started last year called App Camp for Girls. Jean started App Camp for Girls not long after getting into iOS development herself. She attended Apple's World Wide Developer's Conference (WWDC) and noted the lack of women in attendance. This struck a chord with Jean and she decided to do something about it.
"App Camp For Girls is a place where girls can put their creative power to work, concepting and building apps, while learning more about the business of software and being inspired by women who are professional software developers. We think that when girls see how fun and creative app development can be, they'll be more likely to pursue a career in software development and technology."
I have two young daughters and a son. My son is totally enamored with all things tech while my girls use technology but aren't as drawn to it. It doesn't matter to me if any of my kids catch my "tech bug", but I do want to make sure that they all learn enough about tech so as to not be education or career limited by their lack of capabilities. Boys have all kinds of male role models to help introduce them to technology, but girls are sorely lacking when it comes to technology advocates. That is why what Jean is doing is so important. We all lose when a particular field does not have a healthy variety of contributors and I think I can safely say that women are underrepresented in the tech industry.
Jean MacDonald isn't doing this all by herself. Natalie Osten is an iOS developer and works with Smile and Kelly Guimont is an editor at The Unofficial Apple Weblog. Both Natalie and Kelly are extremely active with App Camp for Girls as well.
It takes a substantial amount of bravery and determination to make a change in your career so I wish Jean and her team the best. Also, as a father to 2 wonderful daughters I thank you for giving girls such awesome role models as yourselves!
Good luck Jean, Natalie and Kelly!
The original post about Jean can be found at Mac Sparky.com.
- Jean MacDonald can be found on Twitter and on App.net.
- Natalie Osten can be found on Twitter and on App.net.
- Kelly Guimont can be found on Twitter and on App.net.
If you would like to help with App Camp for Girls please email Jean at email@example.com or make a contribution here.