FutureStack Scholarship Spotlight: Anne Thessen (PyLadies Boston) and Selby Walker (Hack Reactor)


It’s official – FutureStack is less than a month away! As we gear up for all the amazingness that is about to occur at the conference, we wanted to take the time to get to know our 10 FutureStack scholarship recipients and get a glimpse of how they envision the future of modern software.

Today we’re sitting down with Anne Thessen from PyLadies Boston and Selby Walker from Hack Reactor. Here’s what they had to say:

What corner of the tech industry are you most excited to see grow and evolve?

Anne: I love science, so I’m very interested in anything with a scientific application. I think I’m MOST interested in big data analytics and data discovery tools. I would love to use “big data” style tools to understand how the human body works or how the oceans work, etc.

Selby: I am most excited to see the EdTech space grow and evolve. This space is changing at a rapid pace and I can’t wait to see what the future brings!

How do you think workplace diversity can help us build better software?

AnneThere are many ways to be diverse. I think diversity helps us build better software by a) having design teams with varied strengths and weaknesses so that if one task is insurmountable for one person another can tackle it and b) producing a product that meets the needs of more users.

Selby: People using software come from a variety of different backgrounds and life experiences.  It makes absolute sense that the people building that software would also share a variety of life experiences and backgrounds. Underrepresentation of women in technology negatively effects every part of software development.  There is something wrong with the fact that women are using software every day that was built by male engineers.  I am proud to be a part of a growing community of female engineers that are building technology that takes our unique perspective into consideration.

What software would you build to significantly improve someone’s quality of life?

Anne: I spent a significant amount of time as a poor, single mother. Buying groceries was always a huge deal.  I would love to design a grocery shopping app that would take a shopping list and a few additional parameters (like how far a person was willing to travel and how many stores a person was willing to visit) and spit back out a plan of attack for getting the best prices i.e. go to this store and buy this and go to that store and buy that and, oh, here’s a coupon. It seems that the biggest hurdle to making something like this happen is getting the price data. The only thing I can think of is to try and crowdsource it a bit by allowing folks to take pictures of price labels with their mobile and upload to a database.

Katie: I would build software to help elderly keep track of medication routines.  My grandfather and grandmother are on a variety of medications and it can be really hard for them to keep track of when they have taken something and when they need to take something.  In addition, this software would provide them information about medication interactions, avoiding potentially risky complications from mixing medications prescribed by different doctors.

For more information about FutureStack, please visit www.futurestack.io.

Morgan Flatley is on the customer marketing team at New Relic. Before making the New Relic marketing team her home, she dabbled in PR for startup tech companies. View posts by .

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