Kesha Shah, a student at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, and Sarah Sharp, embedded software architect at Intel, were named winners of Red Hat’s first Women in Open Source Awards. The winners were announced at Red Hat Summit, the industry’s premier open source technology conference, in Boston.
The Women in Open Source Awards recognize women who make important contributions to open source projects and communities or who promote open source methodologies. The awards recognize open source contributors in two categories: Community and Academic.
DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer, Red Hat commented, “Sarah and Kesha epitomize the passion and talents that women bring to open source communities. Red Hat is proud to recognize their contributions and will continue to do our part to bring more women into open source.”
Sharp won in the Community category for her tireless efforts in improving communications and women’s roles in the open source community. Sharp is a co-coordinator for Outreachy (formerly the Outreach Program for Women), which helps underrepresented groups get involved in open source software projects. She is also an outspoken proponent of improving communications among Linux kernel developers and making open source communities more civil, collaborative, and welcoming. Sharp was the author and former maintainer of the Linux USB 3.0 host controller driver, and developer of amateur rocket software and hardware for the Portland State Aerospace Society.
“Most of my career has been dedicated to encouraging women to become involved in open source software development and fostering greater collaboration among the open source community as a whole,” said Sarah Sharp, embedded software architect, Intel. “I’m very honored my peers have chosen to recognize my efforts in this area, and proud to be among the first Women in Open Source Award winners.”
Shah, a full-time student, won in the Academic category for her outstanding coding and mentoring work while studying information and communication technology. Being part of Google Summer of Code program multiple times, Shah contributed to three open source organizations, Systers – an Anita Borg Institute, BRL-CAD and STEPcode. She also mentored at Season Of KDE, Learn IT Girls! and Google Code-In, helping pre-university students from across the globe develop their first open source contributions, and is currently director for Women Who Code in Gujarat, India. Shah was a recipient of the prestigious Google Anita Borg Memorial Asia-Pacific Scholarship, and Anita Borg Pass It On winner for teaching basic computer and smartphone technologies to middle-aged women, especially mothers in her province. Shah has mentored many students on their initial open source development contributions and guided many of them toward becoming regular contributors.
“As someone who’s passionate about open source software – and even more passionate about helping other women break into the field – this recognition means a great deal to me,” remarked Kesha Shah, student, Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology. “I’d like to thank Red Hat and my peers for honoring my efforts in open source development, and I look forward to continuing to mentor new open source contributors.”
As part of their awards, both Sharp and Shah will each receive a $2,500 stipend and be featured in articles on opensource.com. Sharp also received complimentary registration, flight, and hotel accommodations to attend Red Hat Summit, and will speak at a future Red Hat Women’s Leadership Community event.
A panel of nine judges chose ten finalists for the Women in Open Source Awards. The winners were determined by members of the open source community, who cast their votes over a period of several months. Complete criteria can be found at the Women in Open Source Awards site.