Queen’s grad supporting female programmers in Kingston

University District

Mangos launched Sudo, an initiative to provide coding resources to local women

Pictured left to right: Melissa Mangos, Jessica Dassanayake, Karina Kim, Annabel Kramer.
Credit: 
Photo supplied by Bernard Clark/Queen’s Alumni Review

When Queen’s graduate Melissa Mangos attended the Canadian Celebration of Women in Computing conference in January 2016, she noticed a lack of initiatives available for female computer programmers in Kingston. To remedy the lack of female involvement, Sudo was born four months later.

Launched by Mangos, Sudo is a community initiative aiming providing an accessible resource for Kingston women who want to learn to code. 

With this goal, Sudo offers free monthly workshops and meet-ups at local coffee shops, where individuals gather to discuss programming, work on projects and connect with like-minded peers.

“We strive to build an energetic and welcoming community of programmers that support women in improving their technical skills,” Mangos, Comp ‘17, wrote in an email to The Journal.

“Equal opportunity is something I strongly believe in and having the opportunity to give women in Kingston a chance to learn about programming was perfect.”

Created and managed during the final year of her undergrad, Mangos advertised open positions on social media for the Sudo staff and wound up hiring “a dedicated internal team of 10.”

“Besides our internal team, we also have volunteer mentors and instructors who are local programmers and STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) professionals that assist at our workshops and other events,” she wrote.

According to Mangos, Sudo has been well-received by the greater Kingston community. Receiving highly positive feedback according to their 2016-17 impact report, Mangos thinks this is because they give back to local professionals and businesses by teaching them coding.

As of March 2017, Sudo had attracted a total of 117 coders to their six workshops — 100 per cent of whom reported that these increased their interest in programming.

According to Mangos, attendees at Sudo events gather for all sorts of reasons, ranging from a desire to advance their professional careers to exploring a new hobby.

“Offering these workshops [is] very important to me since they provide a chance for people to learn programming who might not have otherwise had the interest or the opportunity,” Mangos wrote.

Although she wanted to help the Kingston community by creating Sudo, Mangos said Queen’s students continue to influence her work.

“It was mostly the people at Queen’s that really pushed me to found and grow Sudo. Queen’s students have such a drive and ambition that motivated me to achieve my own goals,” Mangos wrote.

“As Sudo has grown this past year, the Queen’s community has been very supportive both as current students and alumni.”

This summer, Sudo has partnered with Girls Inc, a movement which supports girls to “navigate gender, economic, and social barriers and grow up healthy, educated and independent,” according to their website.

The partnership has allowed Sudo to introduce programming to girls in grades four to eight at Girls Inc summer camp. 

“We hope to work more with Girls Inc and with a younger audience in the future.  

Additionally, we’re going to introduce brand new workshops on Data Science and more advanced topics,” Mangos wrote.

As Sudo continues to expand, Mangos hopes to clear up common misconceptions about pursuing a career or recreational interest 

in coding.

“It’s a skill that anyone can learn. It might [be] daunting at first, but with a little time and effort anyone can become a programmer.”

Corrections

The photo was originally identified as supplied by the Queen's Gazette, while it was taken by Bernard Clark at the Queen’s Alumni Review.

The Journal regrets the error.

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