Meet Caitlin Stanton. She’s a tech savvy, determined college student who started doing amazing things while still a high school student. Caitlin was part of the original team that started def hacks() and now she’s working on her own hackathon, FWDCode, to promote social good through coding. She also started her own organization, ProgramHers, to create a network for women in tech.
We got to sit down and talk with Caitlin about her work in tech. Check it out below.
What is ProgramHers? How were you inspired to create it?
ProgramHers is an organization dedicated to immersing females in the extensive world of technology, and we try to accomplish this mission by providing webinar workshops, large events like hackathons, and guidance for our participants to run their own tech-related opportunities. The mission started last summer when I helped my good friend and future co-founder of ProgramHers, Zeinab Rashed, run an all-women hackathon called PixieHacks. I had experience running hackathons before, but something that was different about PixieHacks was that the participants reached out to us afterwards to ask us how they could make their own PixieHacks. Those encounters led Zeinab and I to realize that all of the programs that currently help girls learn to code are only focused towards jumpstarting these girls’ careers, not continuing along with them and providing them with a constant source of support and other helpful resources. The idea for ProgramHers was born: an organization that could potentially follow these young women as they learned how to code, put those skills to the test, and leave their own mark on the tech community.
Tell us about your blog and Biteability? How did you become interested in writing and food blogging in New York?
I got into blogging so I could keep a virtual diary of my days and keep my fingers on the keyboard. That’s always why I use social media, to keep track of what I do so five years from now I can scroll through my Instagram or peruse my blog to see what stage of my life I was in at the time. As for food blogging, I got into it because I love food as much as the next person, and I live in one of the most culturally diverse places in the world. I wanted to expand my palate while also adding to my writing repertoire. My good friend and fellow hackathon co-founder, Emily Redler, had the same frame of mind and was totally on board with this proposed project, and that’s how Biteability was started. We got to travel the city and explore restaurants and cafes and pastry shops that we had never heard of but were famous for tickling taste buds.
How do you balance your projects, school, your blog and your personal life?
To be perfectly honest, I still don’t know. My strategy focuses on one thing: organization. I love using my color-coded Google calendar, my Trello lists, my Slack reminders, and most especially my handwritten bullet-journal. As soon as I have some task to do, I write it down on every single system I use, put a ton of reminders to keep me on my toes even before I need to officially finish the task, and keep those tabs open on my laptop and phone. This seems like a bit much, which it most definitely is, but I think the main reason that I haven’t shut down completely due to stress is because I love everything I do. I love the people I work with, the goals we have, the events we run, and the environment that I’m exposed to. If I didn’t love everything I do, then I definitely would be describing my experiences with balancing it all much differently.
What are you working on now that you are most excited about?
I’m most excited about my newest hackathon project, FwdCode. After Emily Redler and I had founded def hacks(), we decided we wanted to start a new hackathon, one that applied more to us as college students in the world of today. FwdCode is a college hackathon to promote unity and social good. It’s different than any other event I’ve worked on or attended, in that it’s mobile, meaning that each time it’ll be held in a different location in order to reach different people with different backgrounds and different ways of thinking. It’s a bigger project than our previous hackathon because we’re going to have to rely on a network of campus ambassadors to not only promote FwdCode to their local area but to also vouch for their location to be the site for the next FwdCode. This will instill more of a sense of community within the participants of FwdCode, while also allowing people from all over to come together and innovate solutions to problems that affect us all as humans.