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Nevertheless, Bat Hacked

mzbat_60 profile image b̈́͐̐̊́͠͝͝ȁ̈́̓̅̂̓̏̄t͒ ・2 min read

I began hacking when...

I was a small child, maybe 7 or 8. My dad bought a battered 1972 brown Pinto from a junkyard for $50. We spent the next two years completely rebuilding the engine, piece by piece, on a giant desk in our living room. When we finished, my dad made a pulley system that utilized a giant oak tree in our front yard. I remember guiding the engine out of the window and watching as my dad lowered it into the car. 3 days later, after a bit of tinkering, my dad let me push the clutch, turn the key, and start a car for the very first time. As happy as I was in that moment, I remember my dad saying to me, "You have to learn how to do this kind of stuff for yourself. You're already a step behind because you're a girl." Now I have to learn how things work. I need to tear stuff apart. I enjoy breaking things almost as much as I like fixing them. Cars, computers, code, policy, clothing... doesn't really matter. I just can't leave well enough alone.

I'm currently hacking on...

Federal cloud infrastructure and incident response plans at 18F. I moonlight at NASA securing clusters and ███████. I also really enjoy hacking on electronic badges, odroids, and wearable tech. I'm a total Hubble fangirl with a passion for all things Lego.

I'm excited about...

contributing to transparent Federal vulnerability disclosure policies that other agencies are welcome (and encouraged) to fork. It may not seem particularly exciting, but it's totes my jam right now. I'm pretty proud of the 18F vuln disclosure policy repo. If you're really interested in this stuff, I blogged about General Services Administration's Technology Transformation Service policy. Clear reporting channels make hackers happy, and lessen the number of Fed vulns sent to me via Twitter. :)
Secure all the things!

My advice for other women who hack is...

to learn to use your voices. You can't hide behind your keyboards forever. The landscape will never change unless the faces representing our field do. Practice public speaking any time you can. Join a toastmasters group. Submit talks to conferences that offer speech mentors. I can't stress enough the importance of feeling empowered to speak, whether in small team meetings or in front of thousands of conference attendees.
Confidence only comes with practice.

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