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We're excited to announce the finalists for the 2016 Women in Open Source Awards. In its second year, the Women in Open Source Awards seek to honor women who make important contributions to open source projects and communities, or make innovative use of open source technology.

The finalists in the community category represent women who work or volunteer on open source projects. This year's finalists are:

- Valerie Aurora, co-founder of the Ada Initiative and Linux kernel developer. Valerie has been an open source contributor for 13 years. She was a key architect and developer of ZFS for Solaris; co-founded the Linux Storage, File Systems, and MM Summit in 2006; and wrote the Kernel Hacker's Bookshelf series for Linux Weekly.

- Heidi Ellis, professor of Computer Science and Information Technology at Western New England University. Heidi has been an open source contributor for 10 years in several projects and communities, including: HFOSS; GNOME MouseTrap; Caribou; XFCE; OCRFeeder; OpenMRS; Sahana; and OpenHatch. She is a founding member of Foss2Serve, an initiative with the goal of increasing student participation in HFOSS projects by increasing the number of professors who understand open source development, and has worked with Red Hat to expand Professors Open Source Software Experience (POSSE) workshops, which have reached 60 instructors from 50+ institutions in the past three years.

- Julia Lawall, senior research scientist at Inria. Julia has been an open source contributor for eight years, including work on Coccinelle, Linux kernel, and Outreachy. She is the principal designer and maintainer of the open source program matching and transformation tool Coccinelle, which was mentioned in 1,400+ Linux kernel patches last year; the Linux kernel program coordinator for Outreachy; and as of November 2015, had 1,541 accepted patches in linux-next.

- Jessica McKellar, director of engineering and chief of staff to the vice president of engineering at Dropbox. An open source contributor for seven years, Jessica's contributions span the Linux kernel; Python; Twisted; OpenHatch; Outreachy; and the Google Summer of Code. She was a founder and VP of engineering at Zulip, which Dropbox acquired and open sourced; has co-authored books on Twisted and Linux device drivers; created an introduction to Python video course for O'Reilly Media; and organized the world's largest Python user group.

- Carrie Anne Philbin, an education pioneer at the Raspberry Pi Foundation. An open source contributor for more than five years, Jessica has worked on Python; Raspberry Pi; Sonic Pi; PyGame Zero; GPIO Zero; Micro Python for BBC Microbit; the PSF Education Working Group; Computing at Schools; CAS #include; and lowRISC. She chairs the Computing at Schools (CAS) #include initiative, and was recently elected to the Python Software Foundation's (PSF) board of directors, where she established the Python Education working group to fund projects that improve Python's effectiveness as a first programming language.

The finalists in the academic category represent women who are full-time students currently enrolled in a college or university. This year's finalists include:

- Dawn Foster, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Greenwich who is researching company collaboration within the Linux kernel community. She's been an open source contributor for 10+ years, including Tizen, MeeGo, Puppet, and Metrics Grimoire.

- Preeti Murthy, a student at Carnegie Mellon University, where she is pursuing a master's degree in electrical and computer engineering. Preeti has been contributing to open source for more than three years, including the Linux kernel, Mono, and Outreachy.

- Lynnette Ng, a student at National University of Singapore pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science. Lynnette has been an open source contributor for more than three years and has participated in Google Summer of Code, Hyde, and Open Government.

- Ankita Shukla, a student at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Roorkee, India, pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science. Ankita has been an open source contributor for three years, including projects and communities like Wikimedia; WikiWomen's Collaborative; Mozilla; Google Code-In; Outreachy; Systers; and she++.

- Divya Upadhyay, a student at National Institute of Technology in Patna, India, where she is pursuing a bachelor's degree in computer science and engineering. Divya has been contributing to open source for nearly one and a half years, including Systers; Google CodeIn; Google Summer of Code; Ushahidi; Typo3 CMS; Ruby; and she++.

Finalists were selected by a panel of Red Hat judges including: Jim Whitehurst, president and CEO; DeLisa Alexander, executive vice president and chief people officer; Tim Burke, vice president, software engineering; Denise Dumas, vice president, software engineering; Chris Wright, vice president and chief technologist; Deborah Bryant, senior director, open source and standards; Jason Hibbets, community manager of; Harish Pillay, senior community relations specialist; Werner Gold, principal solution offering manager; and Diane Mueller, director, community development.

Voting for the winners is open and ends March 7, 2016. Voting is open to the public. Winners will be announced at Red Hat Summit 2016, taking place June 28-30 in San Francisco.

To read more about each finalists and cast your vote, visit

About the author

Red Hat is the world’s leading provider of enterprise open source software solutions, using a community-powered approach to deliver reliable and high-performing Linux, hybrid cloud, container, and Kubernetes technologies.

Red Hat helps customers integrate new and existing IT applications, develop cloud-native applications, standardize on our industry-leading operating system, and automate, secure, and manage complex environments. Award-winning support, training, and consulting services make Red Hat a trusted adviser to the Fortune 500. As a strategic partner to cloud providers, system integrators, application vendors, customers, and open source communities, Red Hat can help organizations prepare for the digital future.

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