March 27, 2015 - by Paria Rajai

Celebrate Hackbright Academy's Winter 2015 graduating class of software engineers at Dinner & Demo Night!

Let's celebrate! We're excited to introduce another group of bold, inspiring and brilliant software engineers to the tech world. Join us at Dinner & Demo Night next Tuesday, March 31, 2015, to honor the Winter 2015 cohort's completion of the 10-week software engineering fellowship and the beginning of their new careers in tech.

The night will include food, drinks, good conversation and project demonstrations by the recent graduates. Read about a few of the fellows and the creative projects they will be presenting below!

RSVP for Dinner & Demo Night


Anne Vetto was a research assistant at UCSD who helped disprove skeletal muscle and mitochondria as primary contributors to the disease mechanism of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Upon discovering the creative power of programming, Anne decided to pursue a career in technology so that she could combine her neuroscience background and creativity in an innovative, risk-taking industry; a main motivation of hers is to foster young girls’ interest in science and technology. Away from her code, Anne can be found solving problems at the bouldering gym and window shopping avant garde 3D-fabricated fashion.

For her Hackbright project, Anne built Bit-z-Bots - a web application for girls to customize and create their own miniature 3D-printed robot figurine, is a tribute to Anne’s childhood spent borrowing her brother’s Legos and science kits. Bit-z-Bot’s noble purpose in its 3D-fabricated life is to foster interest in science and technology while combating the lack of creative, intelligent, tech-related toys available for girls. Why give a girl a doll if she can make her own? Technology Stack: Python, Flask, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML5, Jinja, CSS3, SQLite3, OpenSCAD, i.materialise 3D Print Lab Connection API


Erin Yaylali was the first employee at DoorDash, a logistics startup backed by Y Combinator and Sequoia Capital. In just one year, Erin helped grow order volume by 20x and scale the company from 5 to 50 people leading growth and managing the Merchant Operations team. While working with engineers on product, she became intrigued by software development and started taking on small coding tasks. She quickly became addicted to the challenge and fulfillment of programming and decided to go all-in by attending Hackbright. Before DoorDash, Erin was a Business Analyst at Abercrombie & Fitch, Research Analyst at Deutsche Bank, and studied Economics during undergrad. She’s passionate about changing the real world with technology and building empowered teams. Follow her on Twitter @eyaylali.

For her Hackbright project, Erin built Senti - a tool that helps support teams prioritize their ticket queues based on the sentiment of each ticket. Tickets are pulled from Zendesk, analyzed and categorized with sentiment analysis, and ranked based on sentiment, source (email vs. social media), and time. Senti also gives teams an overview of the sentiment surrounding their company by day, week, and month and provides the capability of drilling down into the ticket source by sentiment for each time period. Senti also gets smarter with feedback on sentiment label accuracy!Technology Stack: Python, JavaScript, SQL, HTML, CSS, ReactJS, Flask, Zendesk, Scikit-Learn, NLTK, C3.js, SQLAlchemy, PostgreSQL


Kristen Borges comes from a career as an artist in film visual effects (VFX), where she loved the challenge of making virtual objects look real using a careful brew of pixels and numbers. Though she entered the field with no formal training in VFX, she quickly learned that she loved the digital tools that allowed her to solve creative puzzles more efficiently. Every project presented new challenges, and she repeatedly picked up new tools and technologies under the pressure of film industry deadlines. Kristen enjoys the intersection of the creative and the analytical, particularly the task of translating between artists and the developers who make tools for them. She joined Hackbright to learn how to build cool things.

For her Hackbright project, Kristen built Ocean Rider's Journal - a place for surfers to record their time in the ocean, to develop a keener sense of what conditions work best for them at their favorite spots. The journal collects swell and wind data based on time and location, and combines it with subjective user ratings to visually graph the best conditions for the user. Technology Stack: Python, Flask, Jinja, SQLAlchemy, HTML5, CSS, and Bootstrap, API


Eleanor Stribling was most recently a senior member of the product team (and 17th hire) at TubeMogul, an ad tech startup. She played a pivotal role in TubeMogul's transition to a SaaS company before its 2014 IPO, leading marquee projects to integrate private inventory, generate ad tags to measure viewable data on the fly, create and target surveys, and redesign significant portions of the UI. Eleanor has also worked with client services, research and communications at MIT, Millward Brown Digital, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and Government of Ontario. She is a graduate of MIT Sloan School of Business and University of Toronto for her B.A. in Political Science. Follow her on Twitter @eleanorstrib.

For her Hackbright project, Eleanor built Habitually - a site that predicts your work, exercise, sleep, and discretionary spending habits using a regression algorithm based on data from over 15,000 Americans. Users either complete a short form to collect their demographic data or log in with Facebook. Once they receive their predictions, users can input their actual habits to make the data set even more robust for the next user and inform future refinements to the model. Technology Stack: AngularJS, Python (including scikit, numpy libraries), JavaScript, jQuery, SQLAlchemy, Facebook API, Flask, HTML/CSS, Bootstrap

Nicole Ziemlak decided she would become a writer after her high school principal strongly suggested she major in math in college. Fortunately, the critical analysis needed for literary study also came in handy while acing formal logic courses, teaching high school World Literature curriculum, and leading GRE exam prep classes for Kaplan. Nicole finally landed in account management for a small tech non-profit in San Francisco, where she realized her brain could be put to much better use building tools for organizations working to change the world. During her career in software engineering, she plans to create a mobile app, master vim, teach other young women to code, and (most importantly) adopt a puppy. Follow her on Twitter @imnikkiz.

For her Hackbright project, Nicole built Chomp - a recipe management app powered by the Yummly API that allows users to search, store, plan, and organize ingredients for the week's meals. Browsing and collecting recipes is intuitive and enjoyable, thanks to a highly visual interface and speedy responses. And with Chomp!'s ability to parse and combine common ingredients in the shopping list, users will never have to find out exactly how many eggs they need to make omelettes for breakfast and cookies for dessert. Technology Stack:Python, Django, JavaScript, jQuery, Yummly API, SeleniumHTML5, CSS3


Liz Acosta, with a visual and editorial background, specializes in a holistic, adaptive approach to collaborative problem solving. She was trusted as the social media voice for a startup brand, ghost written for a famous blog, run her own wedding photography business, and single-handedly saved a major film festival. At Hackbright, she merged her understanding of social media with her love of beautiful data, using the Twitter API to build comparative and interactive D3 visualizations.

For her Hackbright project, Liz built trendVs - merging the dynamic world of Twitter with the power of data visualization. With the ability to compare Twitter trends locally vs. nationally, trendVs enables brands to access, identify, and capitalize on social media moments that can help target and expand their reach and engagement. With a single click, a user can see Twitter's latest trends with a beautiful and accessible visualization. With another click, users can search for intersecting popular topics between their city of choice and the rest of the country. Technology Stack: Python, D3, JavaScript, HTML, Jinja, CSS, Twitter API


Hayley Denbraver has a background in Structural Engineering and is a licensed Civil Engineer in the state of California. In her last job with a structural firm, Hayley worked on a variety of projects ranging from upgrading hospitals to meet new structural seismic standards, to designing post tensioned concrete slabs for new hotels, to the comprehensive structural design of radiation treatment bunkers. Hayley became frustrated using "black box" software to perform calculations, compared to her time at grad school where she had written programs to solve engineering problems. Her desire to dig into the details and understand a problem from the inside out will serve Hayley well as she launches into a new career as a software engineer. Follow her on Twitter @runningwendybird.

For her Hackbright project, Hayley built RunFree, RunMe - a beginner friendly running log that can help anyone enjoy the physical, mental, and emotional benefits that regular running provides. Users answer a series of questions about the quality of each logged run. Additionally, they can associate a single run with a route from MapMyRun and a picture from Instagram. Users can visualize their progress with graphs that illustrate their running habits and how running impacts their daily lives. RunFree, RunMe provides users insight into their optimal running conditions. A goal setting feature incorporating the API will have the users crossing the finish line smiling. Technology Stack: Python, Flask, JavaScript, jQuery, AJAX, JSON, HTML/CSS, Jinja, SQLAlchemy, D3, API, Machine Learning

Daria Garina was a Project Manager at the the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies. Implementing research from drawing board to data analysis taught her to work successfully with systems and many moving parts. Driven to connect people to useful data, she began learning to program on her own. Hackbright offered Daria the opportunity to expand her technical skillset and bring her ideas to life. Daria is looking for a Junior Dev position where she can utilize and strengthen her knowledge while tackling problems across the stack. In her off time, Daria swims, dances and explores the California coast.

For her Hackbright project, Daria built LGBT MD - because everyone deserves a trustworthy doctor. Driven to solve a longstanding problem in her community, Daria created LGBT MD to connect Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender people to well-trained medical providers. Discover providers near you by searching by both location and type. Bookmark your favorites and text yourself their contact info. Contribute reviews and new providers to help others find the care they need. Technology Stack: Python, Flask, Jinja, SQLAlchemy, SQLite, Beautiful Soup, Twilio API, Facebook OAuth, Mapbox.js, Mapbox GeoCoding API, HTML/CSS, Bootstrap, jQuery, JavaScript, AJAX


Sara Martinez came to Hackbright from a career in media. As an interactive designer and producer for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, she made news come to life online and created engaging experiences for readers. She earned her Master of Science degree from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts from Marquette University, where she is still an adjunct professor and adviser. Her love of teaching and learning is apparent when she hosts weekly trivia at a Milwaukee pub. Sara comes to software development with a focus on user-centered design and creative presentation of news. She strives to make awesome things happen and to improve accessibility of information. Follow her on Twitter @SaraMartinez.

For her Hackbright project, Sara built TV...Or Not TV - a utility app that creates personalized TV listings based on a user's preferences and favorites. After selecting a TV service provider, users build a list of "favorite" shows which are organized into a listings schedule. The personalized schedule provides information on upcoming episodes including a synopsis, when to watch, channel information and if the episodes are new or in HD. Users can sign up to receive a text message notification to alert them when one of their favorites has a new episode that night.Technology Stack: Python, Flask, Jinja, SQLAlchemy, JavaScript, jQuery, AJAX, Moment.js, HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, ROVI Cloud Services API, Twilio API, PyLint


Gaby Andrade was a digital marketing associate managing Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) efforts for six diverse businesses, Gaby saw that much of the efforts and funds directed at online advertising campaigns could be avoided by building better websites. To prove this, she volunteered to create a new website for a business owned by her previous employer, an endeavor which resulted in a 50% increase in visits to the site. This experience piqued Gaby’s interest in web development and motivated her to apply to Hackbright Academy. Gaby is excited about the prospect of using technology to solve both business and social issues. In her spare time, she likes to read, discover new Peruvian restaurants, and road bike. Follow her on Twitter @gabygandrade.

For her Hackbright project, Gaby built Bite - an app for food lovers and compulsive organizers. It offers a convenient way to save, view, and recommend restaurants to friends. Users are able to query the Foursquare database of restaurants and save them as “bookmarks.” These bookmarks are then added dynamically as pins to a user’s map. The map geolocates users on login, allowing them to quickly see and decide on restaurants in their proximity. Users can also make recommendations to friends and approve/deny recommendations, offering a way for them to share their favorite restaurant with friends online. Technology Stack: Python, Flask, SQLAlchemy, JavaScript, jQuery, Google Maps API, Foursquare API, HTML5 Geolocation API, HTML5, Jinja, CSS3


Edna Cao nurtured her interest in the intersection of art and technology through studying printmaking and electronic music at UC Santa Cruz. It was here that she fell deeply in love with her Arduino and Max/MSP and never looked back. Before coming to Hackbright, Edna managed relational databases for large museums in both San Francisco and Los Angeles, including the de Young, MOCA and most recently LACMA. Learning to code has been particularly exciting for her, since she dreams of becoming a natural language polyglot (she has learned five languages), and now has several programming languages under her belt.

For her Hackbright project, Edna built Curiocity - an exploration app that helps you discover secret spaces in San Francisco. The app uses your current location to connect you to bscure and hidden areas that are easily overlooked. Inspired by the recent resurgence of interest in privately-owned public open spaces in San Francisco, Curiocity navigates you through hidden city treasures, from a rooftop garden to a cliffside labyrinth. Technology Stack: Python, Flask, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML5, Jinja, CSS3, SQLAlchemy, SQLite3, HTML5 Geolocation API, Mapbox.JS API, Mapbox Directions API


Jolene Hayes has a long history of strategic planning, building cool things, and pushing innovation. She credits her background in Finance with laying the foundation of a critical mind. She spent her first five years out of graduate school as a business and strategic planning consultant where she became an expert in the art of the “the pitch.” She later transitioned into the non-profit world. During her time at the SPCA of Northern Nevada, her Executive Director tasked her with building five new animal welfare programs – with no employees and no budget. Those programs still run today. Recruited by Muttville Senior Dog Rescue in 2012, Jolene was charged with laying the operational infrastructure for their new shelter. She later designed and leveraged non traditional technologies in the volunteer management program, allowing her to single-handedly manage an active volunteer corps of over 500 people. Using technology to multiply her work efforts in the non profit world piqued her interest in programming. Follow her on Twitter @JCHayes.

For her Hackbright project, Jolene built Shotgun Messenger - designed to simplify communication from a single origin (group leader) to a larger group while hiding member phone numbers and limiting access time. SMS messages sent to the group number by members of the group are relayed to the group leader. The group leader may text individuals or the entire group from their web app or using simply using their phone's SMS feature. The click to call feature connects the group leader with any member in the group via a conference call. After a group's self destruct time has elapsed communication is disabled between all members of the group. Technology Stack: Python, Flask, HTML, CSS, jQuery, JavaScript, SQLAlchemy, PostgreSQL, Twilio API


Yanare "Yena" Ku found herself drawn to sleek websites with snappy functionality and beautiful design. As an artist, she built a small number of personal websites before later discovering she was intrigued by the work of the engineers around her while working at a small mobile gaming company. Enamored by how they seemed to be the 'glue' that brought all the various pieces of a product together, Yena embarked upon her Hackbright adventure not long after. Though she has an eye for visuals and aesthetics, seeing how things worked 'under the hood' excited her, making her eager to learn all aspects of engineering from front-end to back-end. Follow her on Twitter @TinyLuri.

For her Hackbright project, Yena built Scribble Squid - inspired by a old childhood love of oekaki image boards which allowed users to draw in a web paint application and post their results for others to see, Scribble Squid is a web application that utilizes the Websocket protocol to enable multiple users to draw together in a fast and asynchronous environment. Users are able to log into personal accounts, save their creations to the server, and load the images back up to the canvas at a later time to continue their work.Technology Stack: Python, Flask, Flask-Socketio,, JavaScript, jQuery, AJAX, HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, SQLAlchemy, Sqlite3


Amanda Gilmore once handled subscriber accounts at an industry-standard fine art database. Finding that technical problems were interesting to isolate and solve, she taught herself how to use MS-SQL and applied for a position on the QA engineering team. Her experience as a QA engineer working with both clients and end users has helped foster a people-centric approach to programming, and she enjoys working in Agile settings. After years of analyzing and testing web applications, Amanda decided to start making them instead and applied to Hackbright to kickstart the transition. Although coding has always been an interest for her, Amanda also enjoys long hikes in the Bay Area's many nature reserves and playing Irish folk harp. Follow her on Twitter @ms_headdesk.

For her Hackbright project, Amanda built BioRetro - allowing people to use their personal health data to enhance productivity and workplace mindfulness. Using an Android Wear device and the Google Fit API to gather data, the app allows users to view weekly reports indicating where moments of higher stress tend to fall during their working hours. For any given day, a user can also drill down to an hourly level in order to better understand their own stress patterns and incorporate that understanding into a project or sprint retrospective. Technology Stack: Python, Flask, Google Fit API (using requests_oauthlib), PostgreSQL, Jinja, SQLAlchemy, jQuery, JavaScript


Taylor Hesselgrave worked for five years as an ecological economist doing research and analysis at a nonprofit think-and-do-tank. It was in this role, often working in concert with the development team, that Taylor was exposed to and enticed by the serious power of programming. With new vision, Taylor committed to uniting her love of data with her natural talent for languages by joining Hackbright. Capable of working across the stack, she finds backend development particularly compelling. Next, Taylor intends to expand and contribute her engineering skills by joining the team of a solid and innovative SF tech company doing meaningful work. Follow her on Twitter @taygrave.

For her Hackbright project, Taylor built AirMends - a forward-thinking web app that gives air travelers visibility into their carbon footprint. After linking their gmail, an interactive report details the user's personal air travel over the last few years and the associated social cost of the carbon emissions estimated from each flight. The user is also presented with an personal map animating their flights and is given an option to donate away their personal carbon debt to the environmental organization of their choice. Technology Stack: Python, OAuth, Gmail API, SQLAlchemy, JavaScript, Jinja, Regex, jQuery, FlaskLogin, MapBox, HTML, CSS


Sarah Bindman was interested in solving urban challenges through data analysis, modeling and creative problem solving across the public, private and non-profit sectors as a transportation planner. After seeing the innovation occurring in the tech sector, Sarah decided to attend Hackbright to equip herself with better tools for solving complex problems. Sarah hopes to use her new software skills to make a positive change in the world.

For her Hackbright project, Sarah built Veloroute - a tool that allows city enthusiasts to evaluate potential bike route alternatives. Veloroute aggregates data regarding distance, elevation, speed limits and required traffic crossings, from OpenStreetMap and the City of San Francisco. Users are able to score routes by weighting variables according to their personal perception of importance. Additionally, users can visualize route-specific data. Technology Stack: Python, Flask, JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, SQLAlchemy, Mapbox Directions, API, Mapbox custom API, jQuery, Leaflet


Alice Tsao comes from a background in Finance with four years of experience in both project finance and banking. She was responsible for managing program budgets with extensive expenditure reports and generating project forecasts to consolidate into a business area P/L. During this time, Alice found that manipulating and evaluating large sets of data through the use of macros was one of the best parts of her day. This led her to join Hackbright to leverage her analytical abilities to build her own programming solutions to complex challenges. In her spare time, she enjoys looking for flight deals to foreign places, making weird flavor cream, and writing (700+) Yelp reviews.

For her Hackbright project, Alice built Inbestment - because putting all of your money under the mattress is never a good choice. The goal of Inbestment is to help individuals easily come up with a financial plan and determine the amount and type of accounts they should fund first. Using the Intuit Customer Account Data API, users are able to import real banking account information to their profiles. Inbestment uses relational database modeling and large datasets to provide a recommended investment portfolio based on risk tolerance and graphically present performance over time. Users can also compare other stock's performance to their portfolio. Technology Stack: Python, SQL, SQLAlchemy, Flask, Flask-Login, Flask-WTF, Jinja, Python, Passlib, Intuit API, Python Aggcat, Quandl API, Highcharts, JavaScript, jQuery, HTML, CSS


Holly Malm moved to the Silicon Valley in July to work as a technical recruiter for a firm in Mountain View, where she discovered a curiosity for coding and technology. After learning some Python and Ruby on her own, Holly applied to Hackbright to launch her career as a full stack software engineer. Her love of programming is augmented by her strategic and critical thinking skills honed while attaining her MBA and MA in English. She spent the last four years teaching at the University of Northern Iowa and working within the university's business department to help students develop their soft skills such as writing and presentation. Holly is looking for an opportunity to learn and grow as a backend or full stack Python developer creating tools the solve real world problems. Follow her on Twitter @btigercl.

For her Hackbright project, Holly built Level Up - because one of the most rewarding and challenging aspects of being a software engineer is keeping your skills up-to-date. But how do you know what new skill to focus on? Inspired by my experience as a technical recruiter, Level UP is designed to help software engineers stay relevant in the industry by knowing what skills employers are looking for, where geographic demand is the highest, and what skills have faired the best over time. Level UP utilizes D3 and Google Maps to visualize data from Angellist's job listing and Stack Overflow's archives to help users make more informed decisions to help them level up in their careers.Technology Stack: Python, Flask, Jinja, D3, JavaScript, jQuery, Underscore.js HTML5, CSS3, Bootstrap, SQLAlchemy, Sqlite3, Anglelist API, Google Maps API, Stack Exchange API, JSON/AJAX


Sara Falkoff came to Hackbright with a background in project management, marketing, and customer service for startups, where she worked closely with distributed teams of designers and engineers to create internal tools and customer facing products. Determined to help solve the tickets she was creating for her team members, Sara began teaching herself to code and was quickly hooked. As someone who often jokes with friends that her biggest fear in life is complacency, Sara is incredibly excited to enter an industry where the only constant is change. When she’s not writing code, you can usually making jam. Follow her on Twitter @SaraFalkoff.

For her Hackbright project, Sara built Patterns - a space to create, share, and admire abstract art inspired by fractal patterns found in nature. Begin with a tree on your canvas, and watch it transform into surprising and unexpected shapes with the movement of your mouse. Save your masterpieces to a public art gallery, and while you're there, be sure to take a look around. Technology Stack: JavaScript, jQuery, HTML5, CSS3, Python, Flask, Jinja2, SQLAlchemy, Sqlite3, AWS S3 API, Boto


Roxana del Toro graduated in economics from Cal, traveled and worked in nonprofits and hospitality, and then decided that she needed even more technically challenging work. She decided to pursue a masters in data analysis – which requires programming. The more Roxana learned to code in preparation for grad programs, the more she realized that building things is fun; the decision to continue in engineering was an easy one. After a year of studying CS at SFSU, Roxana had two back-to-back internships in software engineering and a simultaneous fellowship in entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley. Roxana still enjoys the study and applications of behavioral economics, family time, crossing off SF restaurants on her "to-eat" list, and hopes to finish a CS degree during her time outside of work. Follow her on Twitter @rxdt.

For her Hackbright project, Roxana built GitViz - a GitHub commit log visualizer in 3D virtual reality (VR). When we think of 3D our minds may jump to gaming but there is unique and untapped potential in using VR to learn and understand complex systems. GitViz demonstrates this potential. Using the Oculus Rift headset and the Unity game engine, users can visualize any git commit log as a series of commits over time that change a repository's structure.Technology Stack: C# / Unity, JSON.Net, Python, Ruby on Rails, HTML, CSS


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