AdieCon 2020 Speakers

Presenting the most kick ass line up of Ada Developer Academy alums and allies. Sharing knowledge, insight and advice on how to grow your careers in tech. 

Cynthia Tee

Opening Keynote


Over the past twenty years, Cynthia has been a software developer, partner group program manager, and VP of product across many domains: operating systems, marketplaces, consumer apps, and platforms. In 2015, she became the Executive Director of Ada Developers Academy. Under her guidance, Ada was able to triple the number of annual graduates and forge new partnerships with local tech companies. 


Cynthia has a Masters Degree in Computer Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is an avid aerial hoop and pole dancer as well as teacher. Born and raised in the Philippines, Cynthia currently lives in North Seattle with her husband and two children.

Jeremy Flores

Measuring the Human Impact of Software Best Practices: A Story of CSS and Empathy


A non-zero percentage of people using your software pay for their internet by the byte. This is an especially stark truth for people in developing nations. Efforts towards reducing bundle sizes and improving caching strategies are not only good technical practice, but good ethical and business practice as well.

Using real numbers, costs, and stories, I will illustrate the realities of earning a living in developing nations in the gig economy. I'll connect industry best practices in managing static assets to the people those practices benefit, identifying win-win opportunities for you, your product, and your communities.


I’m a programmer and engineering leader in Seattle, WA. I care–very deeply–about how computers make us feel and change our relationships. My approach to both people leadership and software development is human centric, using technology as a means rather than the end. I utilize technology as a medium for human expression, building communities, and solving real-world problems.

I’m also a conference organizer, public speaker, community advocate, teacher, and fervent record collector.

Elle Vargas

An Adventurer's Guide to Networking


Networking can open doors for your career, but it can be really draining. What if there was a formula you could follow that could take some of the edge off and let you chat up folks like a virtuoso Bard or glean insights like a cunning Rogue? This talk will help you level up your skills so you can put your best foot forward when meeting people! 


Elle Vargas is a Seattle native who enjoys tabletop roleplaying games, baking, gardening, and power tools. She has a degree in Printmaking and is a graduate of Ada Cohort 6. Elle is a Software Engineer at Blue Origin.

Tehut Getahun

Improving Personal Productivity with Terminal Tricks and Unix Scripts


As developers we spend a lot of time in our terminals.  A small investment in BASH scripting and understanding how the terminal interprets commands can save you time in your every day work as well as turn monotonous tasks into the kind of small puzzles we love!


Tehut Getahun is C7 Adie, an Infrastructure Engineer and aspiring carpenter based in Seattle, WA.  Tehut came to tech after automating herself out of a job in her family's Montessori Preschools and has fallen in love with Systems & Infrastructure Engineering as a place in our industry where she get's to apply that whimsical saying 'technology, sufficiently advanced, is indistinguishable from magic.' Tehut interned at the Kubernetes startup, Heptio (since acquired by VMware) and has spent two years on Getty Image's Appdev-Platform team working with BASH, Python, Terraform and all things AWS.

Lauren Lee

Beyond Software Development: Exploring Roles in Product, Technical Writing, and Developer Relations after Ada


Ada equipped us with the ability to learn to code. But after graduating, I personally felt unfulfilled as a software engineer at Amazon. I missed teaching and I missed actively participating in a community that I cared about as an individual contributor. I craved to find a role that would allow me to balance my past life as an educator with my new technical skills. It turns out that there are plenty of other roles that Ada prepares us for beyond Software Development. This talk aims to expose a few of those!


Since graduating Ada, I have worked as an SDE, a Technical Product Manager and more recently, within the realm of Developer Relations, as a Developer Educator and Advocate at Nexmo, the Vonage API Platform. This talk will explore what other roles are available to us after training to become software engineers and equip you with the confidence to potentially pursue those next steps!


An English teacher turned empathetic software engineer. A C8 Ada grad, Lauren interned at Amazon. She went on to be a TPM at GoDaddy and is currently a curious optimist with a passion for creating accessible content and helping developers level up their skills as a Developer Educator at Nexmo, the Vonage API.

Understanding Imposter Syndrome


If you feel like a fraud or feel you’ve gotten this far in life because of luck, those are key feelings of imposter syndrome. It sucks. I know. But I’ve got incredible news -- by understanding your form of imposter syndrome, you can develop positive psychological patterns in place of imposter syndrome and this talk will discuss how.

The audience will learn about cognitive based therapy (CBT) approaches for working through imposter syndrome. They will uncover and assess what causes their imposter syndrome symptoms, and how to develop empowering ways forward.


Kaitlin made her great escape from FL, and started at Ada (Cohort 7) in 2017. Before Ada she thought about pursuing a career in politics or law. While working as a Staff Assistant for a United States Senator, she met many unhappy lawyers and saw many inefficiencies in law and government. Confused on what to pursue next, she stumbled across coding and fell in love.

She currently works at Getty Images as a software engineer, becoming one with C#.

Kaitlin Ramirez

Amber Harmon

Calm the F**ck down: Overcoming Negative Coder Thoughts


Ever had that one negative thought creep into your mind before you submit a PR and before you know it… you're second guessing every line of code that you have ever written? Writing code is an expressive, creative act that is guided by standards and peer feedback. As technicians we have to find our inner courage to communicate our ideas and to have fun with coding and with occasionally failing. This means speaking up, overcoming fear of failure, and not shutting down during healthy technical debates.


Amber has worked on web development teams for ten years. She is a self-taught coder with a passion for mentoring and riding bikes. She currently works as a Frontend Engineer at Highspot. 

Severin Wiggenhorn

Mentoring and You - A 360 Degree Approach to Mentoring 


You may have heard of “managing up” where you effectively have to manage your manager. This often has negative associations of having to not only do your own job, but your managers (to at least some extent) as well. I want to propose an alternative paradigm of 360-degree mentoring. You can contribute to your team and company, both technically and non-technically by thoughtfully pursuing opportunities to mentor at all levels. We’ll talk about concrete examples of the kinds of mentoring you can give and receive to everyone around you: those who look up to you, peers, managers and senior leadership.


Severin Wiggenhorn is currently a software engineer at Convoy. Prior to that she worked at Mighty AI (acquired by Uber ATG) and interned at Amazon. Before Ada, she used to write laws, instead of code, as a lawyer for Congress.

Amy Hunter

Use Your Grit to Find Your Fit


When interviewing for an engineering position, you should be asking yourself, “Is this job right for me?” rather than “Am I right for this job?”  It can be difficult to determine if it's going to be a good fit. You’ll need to proactively get the information you need, and be aware of what you need in order to be successful. This talk will give you a framework to help determine what you're looking for in an engineering job, tips on how to make interviews more informative for you, and techniques that can make interviews feel less intimidating.


Amy Hunter is a graduate of Ada's fourth cohort and works as a software engineer at Avvo, building internal tools for developers, improving the deployment pipeline, and supporting Avvo's test, staging, and production environments. She also volunteers as a tutor and teaching assistant at Ada and loves to talk about Seattle Mariners baseball.

Isaac Del Rosario

The Princess is in Another Document: Intro to Search Engines with ElasticSearch


Given any day you've held your phone or used your computer, you've probably used a search bar in some capacity during then. But what happens behind the scenes once you click "search"? Let's explore the inner workings of what happens inside a search engine and our search queries with an introduction to Elasticsearch. Oh-- what? We need to look for Princess Peach too? Let's begin the search!


Isaac Del Rosario is an immigrant Filipino trans man who works as a software engineer at Nordstrom. He is currently interested in the realm of search engines and the inner workings of how cloud infrastructure works. You might have seen him somewhere in Seattle wearing his trademark colorful outfits. In his spare time he loves helping and mentoring underrepresented folks who are entering tech, drinking bubble tea with friends, and crashing Adie hangouts of cohorts that are not his.

Heather Persson

Triaging and Tackling Tech Debt


“Tech Debt” is a nebulous phrase capturing incurred issues that make it harder to do our jobs. We will explore some of the W’s and H’s of technical debt: what it is, why is it happening, when should we fix it, and how do we fix it. We will walk through a model to answer these questions with real-life examples trialed at a rapidly growing company, and come away with a better understanding for what to do about it.


Heather Persson is a software engineer at Convoy. While at Convoy, Heather has worked on everything from revenue controls to software that simplifies the workflows of freight coordinators. She is fascinated by problems that can be both deeply human and deeply technical. She is passionate about bringing more underrepresented individuals into the tech industry, technical debt, and cycling.

Averi Kitsch 

Intro to Event-Driven Architecture


Companies have been adopting event-driven architecture to future proof their application. Are you connecting your service to Kafka or developing a Cloud Function or AWS Lambda? Then you’re most likely already developing within an event-driven architecture. Using a fictitious application, we will see how large applications can break down with synchronous HTTPS calls and how an event-driven architecture improves flexibility and resilience of the system. You will learn common eventing patterns and event sources in order for you to better understand how your service fits into this paradigm. 


Averi is an engineer at Google focused on improving the serverless experience on Google Cloud Platform. Before Google, Averi worked as a researcher in the medical imaging field, developing image analysis software and image processing pipelines. In her spare time, she enjoys playing competitive rugby, filming with her GoPro, and hanging out in a hammock.

Lauren Granger

Hack Your Brain to Be a Better Developer - with Science! 


Want some practical tips for how to improve your day-to-day developer life? This talk covers how to keep track of the details while debugging, how to overcome the fear of asking for help, how “getting in the flow” can work against you and how to make sure it doesn’t, what to do when you’re overwhelmed and don’t know what to do next, and how giving 110% leads to burnout. 


Lauren Granger is a mobile software development engineer working on the Android and iOS versions of Amazon's flagship children's product, Freetime. They are a cohort 4 graduate of ADA, and hold a bachelor's degree in Psychology and Counseling from Antioch University Seattle. Prior to software engineering Lauren worked for housing and homelessness services organizations in Seattle.

Guinevere Saenger

Open Source and Your Career


Learn how contributing to open source software can help you develop new skills, grow your professional network, and establish your reputation and confidence as a software engineer. This talk will showcase some common contributor origin stories, and look at how different skills and personas fit into managing a large project with thousands of contributors. Contributing means YOU can shape a project's future.


Guinevere Saenger was a part of Ada Developers Academy Cohort 6, transitioning into tech 

from being a full-time professional pianist. Two years after graduating, Guinevere writes deployment automation tooling on the Moda platform at GitHub, and keeps GitHub’s Kubernetes infrastructure happy. She has been very active in the Kubernetes open source community and has helped write the new Kubernetes Contributor Guide as well as spoken at KubeCon on the topic of learning Kubernetes. She is @guincodes on Twitter, @guineveresaenger on GitHub, and blogs at

A resident of Ballard, Guinevere enjoys music, food, and the outdoors.

Kate Pond

You Can Journal If You Want To


Did you know that keeping a record of your successes and learnings can help you beat imposter syndrome? Sure, some people journal, but when I was introduced to using Google Forms right before internship started I was so excited! I rarely go back to any of the journals I’ve written in, but using a Google Form can give you visualizations and prompts. I found this to be extremely helpful because it kept me engaged. Forms paired with Slack reminders was a winning combo for me!


Kate is a Park Ranger and Environmental Educator turned Software Developer, who’s boring fact is that she may have matched socks on today.

Amanda Casari

Ambition Looks Good on You


Being a trailblazer means the trail is not yet cut.  When you are the first or only in a group and it takes so much to just show up, you may not have time, space, or support to examine your ambitions.

This talk will quickly cover tools to move in the direction that is right *for you*. You will learn how to map out professional goals, find community, and build a network of advocates and sponsors.  You’ll walk away knowing how to better understand where you are, where you want to be, and discrete steps for how to get there.


Amanda is an engineering manager with the Developer Relations team at Google Cloud, where she leads the engineering team focusing the developer experience for modern architectures and next-generation compute. She has worked in a breadth of cross-functional roles and engineering disciplines for the last 16 years, including data science, machine learning, complex systems and robotics. She creates projects and programs to make machine learning more approachable, most recently co-authoring the O'Reilly book, Feature Engineering for Machine Learning Principles and Techniques for Data Scientists.

Myriam Walden-Duarte

Reflecting About Reflection: With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility


Reflection is the ability of a program to observe and modify its own structure and behavior. Wait… what? Computer programs can observe AND modify their own structure and behavior? Why would anyone want to do this? How is this done? Why is this important? Could this be harmful? Have you ever used this without knowing? During this talk you will get answers to these questions, learn why reflection is powerful and sometimes controversial, and dive into some examples using the Java Reflection API


Myriam is a software engineer based in the Seattle area who is currently working at Redfin on the Customer Relationship Engineering team. She has a degree in Systems Engineering and is part of Ada Developers Academy Cohort 11. Myriam was born in Colombia and moved to the USA in 2016. She loves mentoring, learning new languages, salsa dancing, playing board games, and snowboarding on cold winter days.

Chloe Cota

Money, Money, Let's Talk About Money


Money's an uncomfortable topic, and asking for more of it can be hard. Let's practice being uncomfortable together, and learning some techniques to help us negotiate the salaries we deserve. Not only is it good for us, it's good for the Adies of the future! This session will cover unconventional strategies for helping yourself negotiate, and a helping of self-care for after you do the hard thing.


Chloe is a Senior Engineer at Hashicorp pursuing her passion for making tools to help others build. She’s also a writer, international speaker, part-time superhero, and tabletop games designer. Her first piece of code was an 8-bit melodic rendering of Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star on the Commodore64. She still misses <blink> tags. When she's not fighting for justice or snuggling her partner, you can find her sketchnotes and blogs at


Since being a member of Ada Developers Academy's inaugural cohort, Shadae Holmes established a career in front end architecture and development, with a focus in accessibility best practices. She is a passionate advocate for inclusive and diverse cultures, and works to create safer spaces for underrepresented people in tech.  

Shadae Holmes

Cohort 1

AdieCon 2020 PaneLists

Where Are They Now? A Conversation With Early Cohorts

Kari is an Engineering Manager at Webflow where she supports the product growth and design system teams. Kari has a passion for CS education and diversifying the technology industry. She previously worked at Ada Developers Academy as Director of Education and Technology. When she's not working or mentoring, Kari is probably having a dance party with her daughter, at the park with her dog Kylo, or writing songs about snacks.

Kari Bancroft



Kamilah Jenkins is a software engineer who graduated from Ada’s second cohort. With 4 years of experience working at startups and large companies, she is working independently while searching for her next role. She is motivated by solving problems—technical, cultural, interpersonal and is continuously grateful for the Ada community.

Kamilah Jenkins

Cohort 2


Queer, hapa Asian Pacific Islander, non-binary writer and software engineer. Freelance writer before Ada. Built software at TUNE, PayScale, and Mighty AI (backend layer, with Python and Ruby). Currently working on infrastructure at Vulcan, Inc. In addition to *nix sleuthing, Loraine loves reading, writing, cycling, martial arts, piano, and poetry.


Cohort 3


Sarah is an environmental sociologist turned online marketer turned software engineer living in Seattle WA. Upon entering tech, she’s had the opportunity to take on a number of unique projects ranging from building skunkworks VR projects to helping build a communication platform for migrant workers. In her free time she likes to scale Seattle’s hills on her bike. She is currently working at ActBlue.

Sarah Trowbridge

Cohort 4


My name is Adriana and I was in Cohort 5 at Ada and I am currently a front-end engineer at Goldman Sachs in New York City. Ada has gave me the skills, confidence and the opportunity to make my career my own. After graduating, I worked at PNNL in Seattle with a great mentor that Ada helped set me up with. I decided to make the move to NYC and accepted a position at Carfax and very recently I moved into finance tech and am currently contracting at Goldman Sachs. With each position, I have learned more about myself and what I want to do with my career in engineering; it's been a fun and exciting ride. In my spare time, I love exploring the city, going to broadway shows, and hanging out with my puppies and husband.

Adriana Canon

Cohort 5


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