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June 24th, 2015

Sharp, Shah Win 1st Women in Open Source Awards

Red Hat's Women in Open Source AwardsSarah Sharp, an embedded software architect at Intel, and Kesha Shah, a student at Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, were named the winners of Red Hat’s first Women in Open Source Awards at the Red Hat Summit in Boston on Tuesday.

The Women in Open Source Awards recognize women in two categories – Community and Academic – who make important contributions to open source projects and communities, or who promote open source methodologies.

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.

Sarah Sharp

Sarah Sharp, Community category winner of ‘Women in Open Source Award’

“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,” Sharp said. “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.”

Sharp 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 she is a developer of amateur rocket software and hardware for the Portland State Aerospace Society.

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.

“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,” Shah said. “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.”

Kesha Shah

Kesha Shah, Academic category winner of ‘Women in Open Source Award’

Shah, currently the director of Women Who Code in Gujarat, India, also mentored at Season Of KDE, Learn IT Girls! and Google Code-In, helping students from across the globe develop their first open source contributions. She 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.

As part of their awards, both Sharp and Shah will each receive a $2,500 stipend and are featured in articles on
opensource.com — Sharp’s article is by Rikki Endsley and Shah’s article is by Jen Wike Huger. 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.

“We’re thrilled to announce Sarah and Kesha as the first recipients of the Women in Open Source Awards,” said Red Hat’s DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer. “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.”

Ten finalists for the Women in Open Source Awards were chosen by a panel of nine judges. Sharp and Shah were chosen by members of the open source community, who cast their votes over a period of several months.

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Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

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