Finalists for Ada Lovelace Awards Prove Women in Tech Is Definitely a Thing

“When my daughter is in her thirties, I want ‘women in STEM’ to be the type of thing you say ‘yeah, and?’ to, because it is no longer an issue.”

That was what Lookfar President Chris Reade said on stage at the inaugural Ada Lovelace Awards in 2015, which, for the past two years, has recognized New Orleans-based women in tech.

In its first year, the award went to Crystal McDonald, founder of Acrew; last year, to Dr. Anastasia Kurdia, a software engineer and professor of practice in computer science at Tulane University.

Fast-forward two years, and the Ada Lovelace Awards program has grown to include four different categories—Computer Engineer, Tech Founder, Digital Marketer and STEM Educator—and prospective winners hail from all over the Gulf South region, not just New Orleans.

There are at least 15 nominees in each category and the sheer volume is just inspiring. Why so many, you ask? Because Lookfar had nothing to do with the nominations—those came from the communities in which these female tech powerhouses work.

The Ada Lovelace Awards ceremony coincides with Ada Lovelace Day, which each year in October recognizes the achievements of women in STEM. (Ada Lovelace was a 19th century mathematician who worked on one of the first computers, the Analytical Engine.)

The ceremony is this Friday night, Oct. 13 at Le Petit Theatre in New Orleans’ French Quarter. The event is now sold out (sorry), but you can follow along on Twitter at #AdaAwards17.

In addition to the awards ceremony, Lookfar is also organizing two daytime events: an electronics workshop for adults with New Orleans nonprofit Electric Girls and the Win-Win Negotiation Strategies Workshop with Lelia Gowland.