2020 Women in open source award

Honor. Celebrate. Inspire

We believe open source is the future of technology. It's time to recognize the contributions women are making and inspire a new generation to join the open source movement.

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Red Hat is proud to recognize the 2020 Women in Open Source Award winners

Thank you for your nominations for the 2020 Women in Open Source Award. The judges have determined 2 winners and 8 finalists, recognizing 10 people in total. Read on to learn more about these impressive award winners and finalists and their open source contributions.

2020 winners and finalists

Congratulations, Megan Byrd-Sanicki and Netha Hussain

Megan Byrd-Sanicki, manager of research and operations at the Open Source Program Office at Google and Netha Hussain, Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Gothenburg are the winners of the 2020 Women in Open Source Award.

2020 Community Award winner

Megan Byrd-Sanicki

Be the leader you need. When there’s a void in leadership, each individual can fill that void for themselves. Every contributor to open source is a leader, whether they’re leading others, leading the community, or just leading themselves. Don’t wait to be given permission and own your awesome.

Megan won the 2020 Community Award for her leadership in creating sustainable and thriving open source communities. Her work as the executive director of the Drupal Association led to a stronger and more sustainable community through development of revenue models, introduction of a mentorship program, and promotion of an inclusive environment for contributors with different skill sets and backgrounds. Through her work as the manager of research and operations at the Open Source Program Office at Google and as a member of the board of directors of the Open Source Initiative, Megan shares lessons learned from individual communities with the open source community more broadly and strengthens community-to-corporate partnerships. Megan is credited for showing care for contributor wellbeing throughout her open source efforts. She is currently involved with Covid Act Now, a COVID-19 data modeling project, and with FOSS Responders, a centralized initiative to support open source communities

2020 Academic Award winner

Netha Hussain

Believe in yourself, and know that you have the skills and talent to do whatever you’d like to do. Follow your passion, and do what you want. There will be times of uncertainty but always move forward. Keep studying. Keep learning new things. That’s how you grow, both in your field and as a person.

Netha won the 2020 Academic Award for openly sharing her medical knowledge and increasing the number of topics relevant to women and contributions by women on Wikipedia. Netha is a medical doctor and a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Gothenburg. Her research involves using virtual reality technology for individuals who have had a stroke. Netha has made thousands of contributions related to healthcare and women in English and Malayalam languages to Wikipedia, Wikidata, and Wikimedia Commons. She has organized Wikipedia outreach events for women and LGBTQ+ communities in India. She has translated Mozilla projects and TED talks into the Malayalam language. Her dedication to being a part of a solution through knowledge sharing has led her to currently focus on creating and curating articles about COVID-19 on Wikipedia.

Meet winners and finalists

Community Award


Megan Byrd-Sanicki
Manager, Research & Operations, Open Source Program Office at Google

Number of years as an open source contributor: 10

Projects or communities: Drupal, Open Source Initiative, Go, Linux Foundation, SustainOSS, Covid Act Now, FOSS Responders

Summary of contributions:
Megan’s inspiration for getting involved with open source is the alignment with her own values of wanting to create a better world. Megan has a very kind heart and a genuine passion for helping others achieve their full potential whether that be on an individual level or that of a business. Open source is an avenue for her to impact the lives of many through the creation of sustainable jobs and to unlock the tools to build better systems that connect all of us. She believes open source is the winning choice for moving the technology industry forward and improving our world.

Megan’s work as the Executive Director of the Drupal Association is a leading reason why the Drupal community is strong. Megan helped define revenue models inline with community principles established collectively with community members. She focused on sustainable contributions, contributor growth, and employment opportunities through a global training program, mentorship program, job fairs, and CxO days with presentations by businesses using Drupal. Megan developed partnerships between Drupal and major open source offices at Google, Microsoft, and more.

Megan redesigned Drupal's code of conduct to align with industry best practices and helped promote diversity and inclusion in the Drupal project. She championed greater recognition of non-code contributors to the success of open source software. When Megan is at a code sprint or working with the community, you can see the level of caring that she has and how much she wants to support all community members by providing a solid foundation for them to continue their software, documentation, support, or other contributions to open source.

As the Manager, Research & Operations at Google Open Source Program Office, Megan works across Google to aggregate resources and lessons learned and share them with the industry to further strengthen Google’s open source citizenship and commitment to making open source more sustainable. Megan also serves on the board of directors for the Open Source Initiative, with the goal to strengthen the leadership in open source that the organization offers to projects and businesses around the globe. Megan’s impact can be felt around open source communities including Go, Linux Foundation efforts, and SustainOSS wherein she has led leadership summits, advised sustainability initiatives, and helped build stronger community-to-corporate partnerships. Megan started a leadership retreat for women in technology and open source to help more women find the support and fellowship for having successful careers in open source.

Megan brings her passion, experience, expertise, intellect, and skill at networking to open source. She uses all of these to identify the ways to bring sustainability and stability to communities and businesses and to elevate all participants.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
Megan will continue working on open source sustainability and on supporting companies in adopting principles of open source collaboration through her work with Google, Open Source Initiative, and Sustain OSS. Megan’s focus on sustainability is a much needed corrective in an environment that often champions efforts and habits known to lead to contributor burnout. On the financial side of sustainability, it's also the case that projects need revenue to sustain their own infrastructures and cultivate long-term contributors and users. More open source projects could become stronger and more enduring with the leadership and guidance from Megan.

Megan continues to show her care for people’s wellbeing by addressing new challenges presented by COVID-19. She is involved with Covid Act Now, which does real-time data modeling of how the spread of COVID-19 affects hospital capacity in the U.S., and with FOSS Responders, a centralized initiative to support open source communities as they have to cancel physical events and move them to virtual mode.


Hong Phuc Dang

Number of years as an open source contributor: 13

Projects or communities: FOSSASIA, Open Source Initiative, Eventyay, SUSI.AI, Pocket Science Lab

Summary of contributions:
Seeing how open source was helping with the rapid education and skill development in her native Vietnam encouraged Hong Phuc to explore further. She co-founded FOSSASIA in 2009 as a community devoted to improving people’s lives through sharing open technologies and knowledge and fostering global connections. She especially wanted to encourage developers from Asia to participate in the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) movement. Since then, FOSSASIA has become one of the largest open source communities in Asia. In 2019, Hong Phuc was elected to the Open Source Initiative board of directors.

Hong Phuc actively works with the organization to develop and sustain a number of open source projects, including SUSI.AI, the open source voice assistant framework, Pocket Science Lab, a miniaturized FOSS hardware and software laboratory, and Eventyay, an open source event solution. Hong Phuc supports participation of these projects in numerous coding programs training thousands of new developers under the FOSSASIA umbrella.

Every year she organizes the FOSSASIA OpenTechSummit in Singapore, an event where open source contributors from around the world get together to share, collaborate, and build a bridge between the East and West. She also runs events such as OpenTechSummit in China, Science Hackathons in Vietnam, and Jugaadfest in India. Furthermore, Hong Phuc created and manages online coding contests for education like Codeheat, which introduces more than 1,000 students to open source each year.

Hong Phuc also supports a range of companies — from the automotive industry to fashion tech companies — to expand their work models to become more efficient by helping people collaborate more openly inside and across companies. Her goal is to share her learnings with as many people as possible to spread the model of open source collaboration around the world. Hong Phuc speaks at tech conferences like Chaos Communication Congress, FOSDEM, Open Source Summit, and OpenTechSummit Europe. She trains high school teachers on how to use open source tools for education, sets up local open source meetups across Asia, and organizes UNESCO hackathons for the UN sustainable development goals.

Open source has been a life-changing experience for Hong Phuc. She grew up in a small town in the Mekong Delta of Vietnam and cannot imagine her life today without open source. It has given her the opportunity to learn, grow, be independent, see the entire world, and connect with many people. She believes that free and open source enables sharing and collaboration across borders, regardless of language, race, religion, gender, background, or skills.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
During the FOSSASIA Summit 2020 in Singapore Hong Phuc and team gained experience in running a mixed on-site and online event as many people could not participate in-person due to travel restrictions. They found there is much to learn and improve on how to do collaborative events entirely with FOSS.

In the next year, Hong Phuc plans to organize more online events and, in particular, workshops of people working together on practical solutions to solving the COVID-19 crisis. In this crisis, communities are lacking medical equipment like ventilators, textile masks, pharmaceutical drugs, educational online content, and open digital tools for schools. Global supply chains are interrupted and the market is not able to supply what is needed. Prices are skyrocketing.

To Hong Phuc, this shows we can no longer rely on centralized production pipelines and we need solutions that can be deployed anywhere and products that can be produced locally. Open source software, open hardware, and open science with which code, schematics, and knowledge can be shared around the world are the way to achieve this. Hong Phuc would like to use her energy to create a paradigm shift in society making "open" the default and to allow everyone to be part of it no matter their background.

By sharing the story of her journey, Hong Phuc wants to encourage more women and people with different backgrounds to participate in FOSS. Furthermore, she plans to run a developer coding program in the summer with companies in support of FOSS.


Anita Graser
Spatial Data Scientist, AIT Austrian Institute of Technology in Vienna

Number of years as an open source contributor: 12

Projects or communities:
QGIS, OSGeo, MovingPandas

Summary of contributions:
After good experiences with open source as a user, Anita first joined associated discussion forums and soon started supporting other users. She joined one of the first developer meetings for QGIS, an open source Geographic Information System, and found the developer community very open and welcoming. She became a regular contributor of tutorials, plugins, and marketing materials. Anita has been contributing to the QGIS project since 2008, and in 2013 she joined the QGIS project steering committee and wrote her first book about QGIS titled "Learning QGIS 2.0". From 2015 to 2017, Anita was elected to the OSGeo board of directors.

Anita teaches QGIS and Python classes at UNIGIS Salzburg. She is developing the Time Manager plugin for QGIS and has started the MovingPandas library, which implements trajectory data structures and corresponding methods for handling movement data. Anita published several books about QGIS, including four editions of "Learning QGIS", two editions of "QGIS Map Design", and the "QGIS 2 Cookbook". She has been an invited speaker at dozens of international events, including scientific and technical conferences. Anita has been recognized as one of the 40 Under 40 professionals in the geospatial industry magazine xyHt.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
Anita would like to continue her leadership in QGIS as part of the project steering committee. In addition, she would like to focus on the development of the MovingPandas library, including building a user and developer community, acceptance of MovingPandas into pyOpenScience, and integration into QGIS.


Ashley Nicolson
Head of Product and Community at SalesAgility

Number of years as an open source contributor: 5

Projects or communities:
SuiteCRM, Scotland Open Source Users Meetups (SOSUM), Ladies of Code

Summary of contributions:
Ashley picked up open source in her first software engineering role in 2010. Quite quickly, she began to see and feel the divide between "community" and "corporation", and the lack of attention given to the former, which, initially, she misunderstood to be part of the industry. Following a number of different development positions, she realised the impact that open source had on businesses and developers in terms of growth, and that open source was often taken for granted.

Ashley is currently Head of Product and Community at SalesAgility, the creator of the open source SuiteCRM software. She has played a pivotal role in growing and developing the company’s open source community, with SuiteCRM contributions from the community growing by more than 750% between 2015 and 2019. Currently, SalesAgility’s community forum is made up of about 49,000 active members.

Ashley is a co-founder of the Scotland Open Source Users Meetups (SOSUM), which have over 100 members. SOSUM meetups bring people together around Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), with a focus on discovering projects, discussing the impact of FOSS on the industry, and exploring ways to promote a healthy open source ecosystem. SOSUM meetups are open to all skill levels and are a combination of talks, workshops and demonstrations about all aspects of open source. There are also announcements on the world of open source, debates on open source ethics, and discussions of how to support and manage online communities and projects.

Ashley also works with Ladies of Code in Glasgow, which is a network made up of over 750 women, all eager to learn digital skills. In addition, she partners with schools across Scotland to deliver educational activities on open source. She has taught over 100 primary school children on open source participation and technologies.

To Ashley, open source represents the concept that, purely through the distribution of code and software, humanity is demonstrable by the passion and dedication of people making the world a better place.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
Ashley would like to get open source into the computer science curriculum in Scotland. With this, Ashley wants to increase girls’ computer science enrollment, instill a positive experience with open source, and increase awareness of the importance of open source in education.

She would also like to mature and develop SOSUM meetups so that they become a voice for the open source community. This will include regular corporate sponsorship to assist with hosting, and to facilitate thought provoking discussion around open source life, work, and its impact on industry and society.

Finally, she would like to establish a healthy, vibrant open source community in Scotland, and encourage organizations to adopt, contribute and advocate for open source. Ashley is currently raising awareness of open source and its impact on Scottish technology scene. She would like to organize more workshops, conferences, and events around open source.


Lydia Pintscher
Product Manager for Wikidata at Wikimedia Deutschland

Number of years as an open source contributor: 13

Projects or communities:
KDE, Wikimedia, VideoLAN

Summary of contributions:
Lydia was inspired to get involved in free and open source software by the ability to create something large together with a worldwide community. Lydia has been instrumental in the transformation of two open source projects: KDE and Wikimedia.

Lydia has participated in the KDE community since 2006 and has been on the board of directors of KDE e.V. since 2011, previously serving as the organization’s President and currently serving as its Vice President. As the President of KDE e.V., Lydia led the process for finding a new vision and mission with concrete goals the community could rally behind. This process has been transformative for the community and reinvigorated it beyond what people thought possible for a long-running project like KDE.

Lydia has been the Product Manager for Wikidata since 2013. Wikidata, a knowledge base for structured data, has brought a wave of massive change to Wikipedia, the world's largest collaborative project. Lydia supported the Wikimedia community through this time of uncertainty and helped make Wikidata the striving project it is today. Wikidata is used far beyond Wikimedia. For example, it's used in Google's knowledge graph and when Siri answers a question.

Lydia has not just contributed to KDE and Wikimedia, but also ensures close ties to other communities like VideoLAN and supports them in their governance needs. She is the editor of Open Advice, a knowledge collection that shares what prominent free and open source software contributors wish they had known when they started out.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
Lydia will continue to support the thousands of editors of Wikidata and contributors to KDE in order to ensure that we all have open software and data to rely on for the technology we all use every day.

Academic Award


Netha Hussain
Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Gothenburg graduating in 2020

Number of years as an open source contributor: 10

Projects or communities:
Wikimedia, Mozilla, TED

Summary of contributions:
Netha started contributing to Wikipedia when she was a first year medical student in 2010. She was intrigued by the idea of building a collaborative encyclopedia that anyone can contribute to. She started contributing edits and new articles related to healthcare and got fascinated by the idea of open source. She discovered several communities that revolve around open source philosophy, and participated in community building, fundraising and strategizing. All the work Netha has done since, including journal articles, blog posts, video subtitles, map contributions, code and paintings, is openly accessible and most of it is shared under CC0 or CC-BY licenses.

Netha is a medical doctor and is a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Neuroscience at the University of Gothenburg. Her research involves using virtual reality technology for individuals who have had a stroke. As a part of her Ph.D. work, she writes code for movement analysis. She has published three journal articles in open access.

On Wikipedia, she writes articles related to healthcare and women in English and Malayalam languages (300 new articles and 13,000 edits). She also contributes data to Wikidata (120,000 edits) and images to Wikimedia Commons (9,000 new images and 22,000 edits). Netha is now working on a project that brings medical images to Wikipedia. Netha is the Language Manager for Malayalam language for TED Talks, for which she creates Malayalam subtitles. She has also translated Mozilla projects into the Malayalam language.

Netha has organized Wikipedia outreach events for women and LGBTQ+ communities. She also has helped organize the AdaCamp Bangalore unconference for women in open technology and culture. She has presented several talks and workshops at Wikimedia, Mozilla, medicine and TED conferences.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
Netha plans to defend her Ph.D. thesis in May 2020 and continue as a researcher in the area of virtual reality technology and movement analysis, performing assessment and rehabilitation in individuals after stroke. She hopes to bridge the gap between technology and clinical practice by bringing low-cost open source devices to hospitals.

Netha plans to continue volunteering with Wikipedia, focusing on bringing quality images and content to healthcare-related articles. Her dedication to being a part of a solution through knowledge sharing has led her to currently focus on creating and curating articles about COVID-19. In 2020, Netha is aiming to publish an article related to the participation of Indian women in Wikipedia, for which she and her collaborator have already completed the data collection and published some of the findings. She will continue to organize outreach events related to Wikimedia and open source in India and Sweden. All along, she will be improving her coding and Swedish skills.


Atibhi Agrawal
Integrated Master’s degree student in Electronics and Communication Engineering at the International Institute of Information Technology, Bangalore graduating in 2021

Number of years as an open source contributor: 4

Projects or communities:
If-me.org, Public Labs, OpenGenus Foundation, Fluentd

Summary of contributions:
Atibhi was drawn to open source after hearing about a friend’s experience with Google Summer of Code. She was inspired by the fact that she could make meaningful contributions and write code that would be used by millions of people. When she started contributing to open source, she realized there were many organizations that addressed some important social and environmental issues. This further motivated her to become a part of these organizations.

In 2018, Atibhi was selected for Rails Girls Summer of Code and contributed to the development of if-me.org, an application that cultivates a community for sharing experiences related to mental health. She then became a Google Code-in and Google Summer of Code mentor for Public Labs and a GirlSript Summer of Code mentor for OpenGenus Foundation. She is now an intern with the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, contributing to the Fluentd project, which is a cross-platform open source data collection software project. She hopes to have more people from underrepresented groups participating in technology and is continuously working towards it. Inspired by Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In Circles initiative, she started the Lean In chapter at her college, through which she takes part in mentoring other women, sharing her experience through talks and workshops, and encouraging women to participate in open source programs.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
She wants to increase the representation of women in open source, in technology and in other STEM fields. Atibhi believes open source is an amazing way to gain industry experience while in college, but students do not know about it. She would like to spread awareness about open source and about opportunities in open source through events, blog posts, and other promotion.


Muskan Khedia
Bachelor's degree student in Computer Science at College Of Engineering and Technology, Bhubaneswar graduating in 2021

Number of years as an open source contributor: 3

Projects or communities:
Mifos Initiative, Jarvis

Summary of contributions:
Muskan has been contributing to web, mobile, desktop applications, and web-based extensions open source projects as a programmer and mentor. She contributed to projects under organizations such as the Mifos Initiative, Apache Software Foundation, Zulip, and Coding Blocks, as well as under the Zairza technical club at her college. She mentored Google Code-in students for the Mifos Initiative and mentored other students participating in Zairza. Muskan has been selected as an admin for the Jarvis personal assistant project in GirlScript Summer of Code and has mentored students for the project from around the world.

The experience of collaborating with the community, sharing ideas, and participating in discussions encourages Muskan to be actively involved in open source. She appreciates that open source enables collective growth and humanitarian projects. For example, she is inspired to contribute to the Mifos Initiative, which addresses poverty across different countries.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
In the upcoming year, Muskan plans to learn how to build scalable containerized applications by deploying them on Kubernetes and how to build Docker container images. She would like to contribute to open source projects like Elasticsearch and Prometheus. She hopes to have a chance to participate in Google Summer of Code and qualify as a core member of the Mifos Initiative.


Niharika Shrivastava
Bachelor's degree student in Information Technology at the Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad graduating in 2020

Number of years as an open source contributor: 3

Projects or communities:
Fedora, Mozilla

Summary of contributions:
Niharika was an Outreachy intern with the Fedora Project and worked to integrate internationalization (I10N) with Modularity, which allowed Fedora packages to be read in different languages across the world. She went on to present at the Flock to Fedora conference, organize the first Fedora Women’s Day at her university, and mentor students in Google Code-in for the Fedora Project. Niharika received the Linux Foundation Diversity Scholarship twice, and presented a talk at the Open Source Summit. She contributed to W3C ReSpec under the mentorship of Mozilla community members, and was awarded a Mozilla swag kit by W3C for active contribution in standardizing spec-writing. Niharika mentored other students in code contribution, quality assurance, unit testing and documentation for GirlScript Summer of Code and for OpenCode, a month-long event dedicated to open source at her university. Niharika has been on organizing teams for Hack in The North and Prototype hackathons and for Pragma, an annual developer conference at her university. Her team won the Smart Indian Hackathon by building an intelligent R&D search and progress-tracking system for Dr. Reddy's Laboratories using only open source software.

Niharika is determined to break historical stereotypes. She became the first woman to be a coordinator of a technical wing at the Student's Technical Society at her university by taking on the role of a Blockchain wing coordinator. This encouraged other women at her university to apply for leadership roles. Niharika organized many diversity-focused open source events in association with Women Techmakers. She believes open source welcomes everyone with no barriers. By taking an active part in it and encouraging others, she hopes to promote "tech for all" and innovation that is unimpeded by the gender gap.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
Niharika is working on multi-class fleet management at the Singapore University of Technology and Design. She is working with a team building on top of the OpenStreetMap to create a low-cost solution for rebalancing and congestion management for autonomous cars. She hopes to publish a research paper on this and open source the work they are doing, so that other people can contribute to further development.


Saumya Singh
Bachelor’s degree student in Information Technology at Chaudhary Brahm Prakash Government Engineering College, New Delhi graduating in 2021

Number of years as an open source contributor: 3

Project or communities:
Fitofy India, BarView, Systers by AnitaB.org, Mifos Initiative

Summary of contributions:
Saumya is a full-stack Android developer. She has started Fitofy India, an open source Android application for a healthy and fit nation, which she launched during the CS Ed week of Kharagpur Open Source Society by IIT Kharagpur. She is a GirlScript Summer of Code mentor for BarView, an open source Android application for representing data with bars. Saumya has served as a Google Code-in mentor with Systers for the Mentorship System, an Android application which matches women in tech to mentor each other on career development. She also served as a Google Code-in mentor with Mifos Initiative for Mifos Mobile CN, which is a banking application built on top of Apache Fineract CN. She is a winner of Smart India Hackathon, Delhi Police Hackathon, and Connect With Google Social Challenge. Saumya is a core member of Women Who Code Delhi.

What she hopes to accomplish in the next year and beyond:
Saumya is exploring different ideas for applications and platforms that would encourage women in STEM and entrepreneurship. For example, she would like to collaborate with Systers, an AnitaB.org community, on wooSTEM, an Android application for encouraging women in STEM. The application would offer fun and engaging STEM activities, information about scholarships, and encouragement. The application would reward active users with access to additional content, community workshops, and growth opportunities, such as becoming a blogger or a tutor for the community. Saumya’s other idea is STARTUP4ALL, a platform that would support women interested in entrepreneurship, including mothers and those who want to run their business from their home, and help them develop a lean startup mindset.


Recognizing women's contributions to open source

We looked for women who make important contributions to an open source project or the open source community, including:

  • Code and programming.
  • Quality assurance and bug triage.
  • Open hardware.
  • System administration and infrastructure.
  • Design, artwork, user experience, and marketing.
  • Documentation, tutorials, and other communications.
  • Translation and internationalization.
  • Open content.
  • Community advocacy and community management.
  • Intellectual property advocacy and legal reform.
  • Open source methodology.


Nominees qualified for 2 distinct awards

  • Women in Open Source Academic Award: Women who are enrolled full time at a college or university, earning 12 or more credit hours for any degree level
  • Women in Open Source Community Award: All other women

Awards package

We announced winners during Red Hat Summit 2020 Virtual Experience. Each award winner received:

  • US$2,500 stipend for the suggested use of supporting open source projects or efforts.
  • An Opensource.com article featuring her.


These open source leaders determined our finalists and winners.

  • DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer
  • Margaret Dawson, vice president and chief digital officer
  • Denise Dumas, vice president, software engineering
  • Paul Frields, senior manager, software engineering
  • Clare Grant, senior director, product management
  • Vincent Batts, senior principal software engineer
  • Tom Callaway, technical and community outreach program manager
  • Jessica Forrester, senior principal software engineer
  • Priyanka Nag, project manager, customer experience and engagement
  • Harish Pillay, senior community relations manager
  • Limor Fried, founder and lead engineer, Adafruit Industries, LLC and 2019 Women in Open Source Community Award winner
  • Dana Lewis, founder, OpenAPS and creator, DIY Artificial Pancreas System and 2018 Women in Open Source Community Award winner
  • Avni Fein, senior manager, technical program management, Amazon and president, Kids on Computers and 2017 Women in Open Source Community Award winner


Learn more about the women who have achieved this notable award for open source contribution.


Our 2019 winners

Our 2019 winners and finalists are founders, entrepreneurs, leaders in open source practice, engineers, and mentors. Their work impacts areas ranging from open source hardware to open source sustainability and cybersecurity. Learn how these inspiring women are changing the world.

Limor Fried

2019 Community Award winner

The range of engineering is so wide, and so varied, and I think that’s what I want to tell kids, and inspire them: This is what you can be. Anything you want is going to have technology in it. So whatever your personal favorite hobby or your interests—whether it’s veterinary science, or you want to be a cancer researcher, or you want to build skateboards for a living—all these things, you can be an engineer and build those things and combine those.

Limor won the 2019 Community Award for her leadership and advocacy in the open source hardware community. She founded her company, Adafruit, in 2005, with the goal of creating the best place online for learning electronics. As lead engineer, Limor works with a creative team to develop products for makers of all ages and skill levels. She also hosts the YouTube shows Ask an Engineer and Show and Tell, serves as a mentor, and is on the advisory board of IEEE Spectrum magazine. Limor was named a White House Champion of Change in 2016 and was on Forbes magazine’s list of "America’s Top 50 Women in Tech" in 2018.

Saloni Garg

2019 Academic Award winner

I want to inspire others to get into open source, as it is a great way to learn new technology and a great way to form worldwide communities. It’s very important to encourage younger students to join us as it will give them exposure to technologies that are currently being used.

Saloni won the 2019 Academic Award for her community-building efforts at LNM Institute of Information Technology in Jaipur, India, where she is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in computer science. She championed open source principles by starting a community of developers to collaborate and share ideas—a project for which she was recognized as a Mozilla Open Leader. She is also an active member of a number of diversity initiatives in the larger open source community.


Meet our 2019 finalists

Community Award

Gabriela de Queiroz
Founder, R-Ladies

Hong Phuc Dang

Limor Fried
Founder and lead engineer, Adafruit Industries, LLC

Nithya Ruff
Head, Comcast Open Source Practice

Pia Mancini
CEO, Open Collective

Academic Award

​Alina Matyukhina
Ph.D. candidate at the University of New Brunswick, cybersecurity researcher at the Canadian Institute for Cybersecurity

Kate Compton
Ph.D. candidate at the University of California Santa Cruz

Mallory Gaspard
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

Sayantika Banik
Pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Sir M. Visvesvaraya Institute of Technology


Our 2018 winners

Our 2018 winners and finalists are organizers, mentors, program managers, engineers, presidents, vice presidents, and executive directors. Their work impacts areas ranging from open source education to web literacy and learning technologies. Continue reading to learn how these inspiring women are changing the world.

Dana Lewis

2018 Community Award winner

We went from ‘Should we do this?’ to ‘Could we do this?’ to ‘Done.’ in the course of about 2 weeks—way faster than anyone expected. And it’s really a testament of that #WeAreNotWaiting spirit and people being willing to help out.

Dana won the 2018 Women in Open Source Community Award for her efforts to revolutionize care for people with Type 1 diabetes. Frustrated with the diabetes care industry’s failure to provide a device that worked for her, Dana created one of the first do-it-yourself (DIY) artificial pancreas systems. Her efforts grew into the Open Artificial Pancreas System (OpenAPS) community, a free and open source software (FOSS) project that empowers people with diabetes to make a device that works for their needs. Dana played nearly every role possible in this community.

Zui Dighe

2018 Academic Award winner

There’s so much untapped potential. …That untapped potential is also new ideas and different points of view, and really incorporating that is the mindset of open source, and that’s the mindset of this award as well.

Zui won the 2018 Women in Open Source Academic Award for her efforts to make data open and accessible to all, particularly in healthcare. As a biomedical engineering major at Duke University, she got her start in open source using a mobile development kit for health applications called Sana. With Sana, Zui built an app to use with a low-cost colposcopy device for low-income communities. That work sparked a passion for using open source to serve communities in developing countries. Zui joined a team of students from Duke University and Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, to remodel a vaccine carrier, introducing innovations using the Arduino, Particle, and Adafruit open source libraries. She and a Duke classmate then expanded their work into sustainable energy. By applying this Arduino system to monitor environmental factors in remote areas to determine energy needs, they won third place in Schneider Electric’s 2018 Go Green in the City international competition. Zui’s work seeks to bridge innovation and need while identifying endless possibilities along the way.


Meet our 2018 finalists

Community Award

Dana Lewis
Founder, OpenAPS and creator, DIY Artificial Pancreas System

Rupa Dachere
Founder, executive director, president, and chairperson of the board at CodeChix

Beth "pidge" Flanagan
OpenEmbedded/Yocto project contributor and CTO of Togán Labs

Karen Sandler
Executive director, Software Freedom Conservancy/cyborg lawyer

Katie McLaughlin
Site reliability engineer, Divio

Academic Award

​Ann Barcomb
Ph.D. candidate, free and open source software communities, University of Limerick

Emily Shannon
Duke University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering

Jona Azizaj
Bachelor’s degree in business informatics, University of Tirana

Nikki Stevens
Arizona State University, pursuing a doctorate degree in human and social dimensions of science and technology in the School for the Future of Innovation in Society

Zui Dighe
Duke University, Bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering and computer science


Our 2017 winners

Our 2017 winners and finalists are organizers, mentors, program managers, engineers, presidents and vice presidents, and executive directors. Their work impacts areas ranging from open source education to web literacy and learning technologies. Read on to learn how these inspiring women are changing the world.

Avni Khatri

2017 Community Award winner

I've helped set up these labs with the hopes that kids will be able to utilize the technology and get access to educational content that they don’t otherwise have. We’re hoping the kids will see what’s possible, and then come back and help improve their own lives, their families’ lives, and their communities’ lives.

Avni won this year’s Women in Open Source Community Award for her efforts to empower kids to change their lives through technology. Avni’s dream is for everyone—especially kids—to have unlimited access to education so that they have more autonomy over their lives and the ability to improve their communities. She sees free and open source software (FOSS) as instrumental to realizing this vision, and has worked to bring technology to underserved communities around the world with the nonprofit Kids on Computers. As a volunteer since 2010 and the organization’s president since 2012, Avni has traveled to remote communities in Mexico, India, and Morocco to install school labs with Linux computers, FOSS applications, and open content such as offline Wikipedia and Khan Academy, and to enable local volunteers to support the labs. She recently co-founded For a Living, a new open source platform that will allow students to learn about different careers by interviewing professionals based on jobs, interests, and skill sets.

Jigyasa Grover

2017 Academic Award winner

I believe that we rise by lifting others, and helping others step into this alluring world of open source has not only impacted them, but it also has created a ripple effect.

Jigyasa won this year’s Women in Open Source Academic Award for her contributions to the open source community. Early in her university days, Jigyasa began working in competitive algorithmic C/C++ programming, Java, Python, and more, which led her to explore open source. She began working on Pharo, an open source Smalltalk IDE, and eventually became one of the top contributors to Pharo 4.0 released in 2015. Since then, she has participated in Google Summer of Code in 2015 and 2016, and was awarded research opportunities by the National Research Council of Canada and the ESUG at Institut de recherche pour le développement (IRD) France. She is working to inspire others by sharing her work and experiences through blogs, code sharing on GitHub, organizing code labs and tech talks, leading teams of women in major hackathons, speaking at conferences, and participating in mentorship programs. She is the director of Women Who Code Delhi, and she participates in GDG, Google WTM, WiSE, and Systers IWiC.


Meet our 2017 finalists

Community Award

Amira Dhalla
Lead, Women and Web Literacy, Mozilla Foundation

Avni Khatri
Program manager, Knowledge and Learning Technologies group, Laboratory of Computer Science, Massachusetts General Hospital

Heather Kirksey
Vice president of NFV, Linux Foundation

Jessie Frazelle
Software engineer, Google

Karen Sandler
Executive director, Software Freedom Conservancy

Academic Award

Aastha Vijay
Student at Cummins College of Engineering for Women, Pune, Maharashtra, India

Dawn Foster
Ph.D. candidate at University of Greenwich

Jigyasa Grover
Student at Delhi Technological University (formerly known as Delhi College of Engineering)

Nabanita De
Student at University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Safia Abdalla
Student at Northwestern University


Our 2016 winners

The 2016 Women in Open Source Award winners and finalists are engineers, developers, community managers, mentors, entrepreneurs, educators, and pioneers. They're making an impact in areas ranging from CPU power management to diversity outreach in communities and open source education. Read on to learn how these inspiring women are changing the world.

2016 Community Award winner

Jessica McKellar

Jessica won the Women in Open Source Community Award for her efforts to create more inclusive environments in open source communities and the technology industry. Jessica’s introduction to open source in 2006 was a positive experience and she aspires to make open source communities more welcoming to new contributors, so that their first experiences are as good as hers.

As the diversity outreach chair for PyCon, the annual Python community event, Jessica reached out to her network of women in technology to increase the number of women speakers at PyCon from 1% in 2011 to 40% in 2016. Jessica won an O'Reilly Open Source Award for her diversity outreach work in the Python community in 2013. She also coordinated the participation of Twisted and Python in Outreachy, a program that helps underrepresented groups get involved in open source. Under her leadership, Dropbox increased representation of women in engineering. She is also a senior technical advisor for the HBO show Silicon Valley.

2016 Academic Award winner

Preeti Murthy

Preeti won the 2016 Women in Open Source Academic Award for her contributions to open source. As an undergraduate, Preeti was part of a team that introduced students to open source. After graduating with her bachelor’s degree, she worked for three years as a Linux kernel developer, where she contributed code, documentation, tutorials, open content, and other communications. Preeti has nearly 60 commits and reviews in the area of CPU power management. She also volunteered as a co-mentor for the Outreachy internship program. Preeti is pursuing a master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon, where she and her team are working on a programming toolchain for energy-harvesting systems that they hope to open source soon.


Community Award

Heidi Ellis
Professor of Computer Science and Information Technology at Western New England University

Valerie Aurora
Co-founder of the Ada Initiative and Linux kernel developer

Carrie Anne Philbin
Education pioneer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation

Julia Lawall
Senior research scientist at Inria

Academic Award

Ankita Shukla
Student at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)

Divya Upadhyay
Student at National Institute of Technology, Patna, India

Lynnette Ng
Student at National University of Singapore

Dawn Foster
Ph.D. candidate at the University of Greenwich


Meet our 2015 winners

The first class of Women in Open Source Award winners and finalists have contributed to projects ranging from open medical content and legal reform to code for many open source projects. Read on to learn how these inspiring women are changing the world.

2015 Community Award winner

Sarah Sharp

Sarah won the Community Award for her efforts in improving communications and inviting women into open source communities. Sarah coordinates Linux® kernel mentors for Outreachy (formerly the Outreach Program for Women), which helps underrepresented groups get involved in open source software projects. An outspoken proponent of improving communications among kernel developers, Sarah helps make open source communities more civil, collaborative, and welcoming. Sarah was the author and former maintainer of the Linux USB 3.0 host controller driver. She has also developed open source amateur rocket software and hardware—built by the Portland State Aerospace Society—and open source software to power her garden's automated water systems.

2015 Academic Award winner

Kesha Shah

Kesha, 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. She also mentored at Season Of KDE, Learn IT Girls! and Google Code-In, helping pre-university students from across the globe develop their first open source contributions, and is currently director for Women Who Code in Gujarat. Shah was a recipient of 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. Shah has mentored many students' initial open source development contributions and guided many of them toward becoming regular contributors.


Meet our 2015 finalists

Community Award

Shauna Gordon-McKeon
Program director at OpenHatch

Elizabeth K. Joseph
Systems engineer at HP

Deb Nicholson
Community outreach director at MediaGoblin

Karen Sandler
Executive director, Software Freedom Conservancy

Academic Award

Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad

Sophia D’Antoine
Student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Studying Computer Science and Computer System’s Engineering, bachelor’s and master’s degree

Emily Dunham
Oregon State University
Studying computer science

Netha Hussain
Government Medical College, Kozhikode, University of Calicut
Earning a bachelor of medicine and surgery

Thanks to all who participated this year

Download the complete 2020 rules [PDF] for the Women in Open Source Award.