2019 ProjectCSGIRLS National Gala

The 2019 ProjectCSGIRLS National Gala will be held June 8th - 9th, 2019 in the DC metro area and will feature leading guest speakers, hands-on workshops, tech talks, and a formal awards ceremony. The awards ceremony will be held on June 9th at the Marriott Fairview Park. The workshops, tech talks, and panels will be held on June 8th at George Mason University.

Gala Schedule

Saturday, June 8th - George Mason University Innovation Hall
9am – 9:30am: Breakfast and Registration
9:30am – 10:30am: She Rocks the World Workshop
10:30am - 12pm: Women in Tech Panel Featuring Female Engineers from the DC Metro Area
12pm – 12:30pm: Lunch
12:30pm – 2pm: Civic Tech Workshop
2pm – 2:30pm: Break
2:30pm – 4pm: Web Development Workshop
4pm – 4:30pm: Break with Frisbees and Snacks

Sunday, June 9th - Marriott Fairview Park Ballroom, Awards Event and Luncheon
10am – 11am: Check-in Time (please be on time!)
11am – 12pm: Luncheon
12pm – 5pm: Keynote Presentations, Student Pitch Presentations, and Awards Presentation

Gala Hotel

The gala hotel is the Marriott Fairview Park. 

Address: 3111 Fairview Park Dr, Falls Church, VA 22042
Website: http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/wasfp-falls-church-marriott-fairview-park/
Closest Airport: Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD)


Keynote Speakers


Dr. Stephanie Rodriguez

Vice President of Policy and Engagement at AnitaB.org

Stephanie Rodriguez, PhD is the Vice President of Policy & Engagement at AnitaB.org, a leading voice for women in technology across the globe. In this role, Stephanie is devising and implementing a policy and advocacy strategy, ensuring that all AnitaB.org initiatives are strategically aligned to advance policy, inform research, and deepen strategic community engagement in support of women and girls in tech. Prior to AnitaB.org, Stephanie served as the Director of STEM Policy at the Afterschool Alliance, a nonprofit supporting afterschool and summer learning across the nation. As Director, she led national and state-level policy efforts to advance legislation supportive of out-of-school STEM learning. During her tenure, Stephanie elevated the national dialog around the role of afterschool and summer learning in CSforAll efforts across the nation.

Stephanie found her way to STEM education policy and advocacy through years of STEM-related community outreach and service as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow at the National Science Foundation. While at NSF, she worked on efforts to broaden participation in computer science and other STEM fields, including the national CSforALL initiative and serving as the Executive Secretary for the National Science & Technology Council’s (NSTC) Federal Coordination task force on Broadening Participation (BP) in STEM.

Stephanie completed her PhD in immunology at Washington University in St. Louis, where she studied the T-cell development process and devised innovative strategies to observe this phenomenon in live animals, in real time, using advanced microscopy techniques. She received her B.S in biological sciences from Stanford University, with a focus on microbes and immunity.

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Juliana Vida

Chief Technical Advisor at Splunk

Juliana Vida is the Chief Technical Advisor – Public Sector at Splunk, Inc. In this technology evangelist role she providing guidance, direction and thought leadership around Splunk’s data capabilities.  She brings over 25 years of experience as an accomplished leader and IT professional, with a record of building and leading collaborative teams to successfully align technological solutions and operational insight to the organization's mission and strategy.

Prior to joining Splunk, Juliana was a Vice President in Gartner Executive Programs, leading a team of executive partners supporting federal government Chief Information Officers (CIO) and IT senior leaders.  Before entering commercial industry as an executive leader, she served honorably for 24 years in the United States Navy at sea and on shore as both a combatant ship driver and helicopter pilot.  Her record of razor-sharp focus, decision-making, and unquestioned integrity led to her taking senior leadership roles in the Navy’s CIO organization, culminating in serving as the Navy’s Deputy CIO in the Pentagon. 

Juliana’s extensive experience in leading and inspiring teams in the most stressful environments, developing effective policies and IT strategies, creating innovative solutions, and translating IT business value to the C suite have made her a true thought leader in the public sector IT space.

Mrs. Vida is a past Vice President on the board of directors of the United States Naval Academy Alumni Association’s Greater Washington Chapter, and is a current member of Women in Technology and Women in Defense.  She volunteers with local chapters of Girls Who Code and Girls on the Run. A self-professed foodie, she is also an accomplished triathlete, marathoner, and televised game show champion.

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Catherine E. Murphie Hall

Solutions Architect at Amazon Web Services

Since she was a little girl puzzling out HVAC systems and traffic light timing, Catherine has wondered how things work and how they could work better. Engineering—the balancing of objective and subjective factors to achieve an optimal solution—was the right field for her. Catherine earned a BS in Engineering from Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering and an MS in Systems Engineering from The George Washington University. She has held a variety of technical positions supporting federal government customers. As a Solutions Architect with Amazon Web Services, she helps her customers understand how to best use cloud computing to address their business needs. Catherine lives in Chantilly, Virginia, with her husband, 15-year-old foster son, and two adorable cats. She enjoys knitting, gardening, and road cycling.


Chrystabel Davis

Principal Advisory Consultant at Neustar

Ms. Chrystabel Davis is Principal Advisory Consultant at Neustar. She currently manages a team of Service Delivery resources responsible for over $100M+ portfolio of large multi-solution engagements and delivery for key Fortune 100 and 500 clients like PNC Bank, Johnson & Johnson, AT&T, Sony, Procter & Gamble, etc. She combines the art and science of analytics and marketing to help clients address the complex challenges of marketing effectiveness, ROI, brand equity impact, channel effectiveness, and pricing.

She is also the Founder & President of a Decortege.com, a home decor and Lifestyle Marketplace which reinvests and develops its source communities by providing educational programs scholarships, internships, vocational training, education drives, and other career development opportunities. people, processes and technology. She holds a Master if Science in Information and Telecommunication Systems, groom Johns Hopkins University, and a Bachelor of Science, cum laude, Computer & Information Science, University of Maryland University College. She is also a Certified Project Management Professional (PMP), SCRUM Master (CSM), and PRINCE 2 Project Management Practitioner.


Patsy Mangas

Founder of She Rocks the World

Patsy has always believed in the strength of women. While working in television, she produced a documentary on the history of women’s right to vote. The resilience and courage of the women, who had to convince men to give women the right to vote, made a strong impact. Inspired by these strong, resilient women, Patsy set out to counter the message that television and social media sends to girls – that they are not smart enough, not thin enough and not pretty enough. She began by holding focus groups among teenage girls to find out what was really going on in their lives. Determined to empower girls and introduce them to strong, resilient women, Patsy created The Virginia Girls’ Summit. The Virginia Girls’ Summit quickly sold out two years in a row and their teenage ambassadors, who create each summit, asked for more than just a one day event. She now leads She Rocks The World (SRTW), an online platform for teenage girls to share their voices throughout the U.S. and the world.


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Temika Cage

Sales Engineer at Splunk

Temika’s passion is simple. She loves to help people. She strives every day to be an advocate for individuals who are often overlooked and forgotten in today’s society. Her intent is to use her experiences as an African-American woman in the professional world, as well as in her everyday life, to help guide, influence, and serve as a beacon of light for those individuals that need a positive example of strength and determination. She was born and raised in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. After receiving her Electrical Engineering degree from Michigan State University, she started a career in Information Technology sales. She is thankful for my career, as it has allowed her to showcase her energetic personality while continuing to utilize her technical skills and knowledge. She also has a strong passion for reading, traveling, and philanthropy. Her hope is she can reflect my passions to the fullest and encourage others to aggressively reach for their dreams too! Currently, she is living in the DC area with her daughter.


Dr. Meg Layton

Director of Engineering at Symantec

Dr. Margaret Layton (Meg) is currently Director of Engineering for the Cyber Security Services organization of Symantec and has been working in technology for over two decades. In 2001, she joined a start-up company that was acquired by Symantec, and she has since been working in various roles within the company - both on products and working on the intelligence that fuels the front-line responders. Prior to joining Symantec, Meg worked as a Director of IT for a telecommunications company doing business in Africa, which is where she first discovered her passion for security.

Meg has a Doctorate of Information Assurance from the University of Fairfax. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Telecommunications and Computing Management from Polytechnic University in New York, which is now a part of NYU; and a Bachelor’s of Art in Political Science from Albertus Magnus College.

Meg lives in Virginia with her husband and children. In her spare time, she volunteers with several organizations in technology, such as Women in Technology, Cyberjutsu Girls. She works to actively educate and promote lifelong learning, serving as a Technical Mentor for local CyberPatriot organizations, as well as serving as Adjunct Professor for colleges, teaching courses in Information Security, including Computer Forensics and Risk Assessment. Meg is a recent winner of the Women in Tech Leadership Awards, recognized for her efforts in STEM Leadership.


Alyssa Harris

Cloud and Data Engineer at Development Seed

Alyssa is a cloud and data engineer at Development Seed. With a masters degree in economics and undergraduate degrees in economics, computer science and mathematics, Alyssa loves working on hard problems and developing technical solutions with real-world applications. She is practiced in working across research and technical teams, and has experience mapping cloud workflows for data management and analysis.

Before Development Seed, Alyssa was a programmer and data scientist at the Urban Institute, a DC-area nonprofit. There, she worked with researchers on everything from running complex analyses on large datasets to building backends capable of quickly running customized tax scenarios in public-facing web calculators.

Alyssa likes to think of programming as a set of puzzles to solve, and in her free time she enjoys the crossword and jigsaw varieties, as well as board games, hiking, and hanging out with her dog Milo.


Erika Strano

Solutions Engineer at Splunk

Erika is a recent graduate of George Mason University with a degree in Cyber Security Engineering. She started her career at MITRE in McLean, VA working as a Cyber Security Research Intern and transitioned to Splunk her junior year of college. She has worked for Splunk as a Solutions Engineer for two years and has loved getting to work with such a multifaceted technology and the people who use it. She is passionate about sports, classic literature, and mentoring students to help them find their path.

Workshop Leaders

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Beth Spohn

Board Member at She Rocks the World

Beth Spohn leads She Rocks The World's programming which is designed to create resilient, curious and fearless girls. She Rocks programming is informed by Beth's time teaching high school marketing in Fairfax County. Using experiential learning projects, her students learned about marketing while making an impact in the world. Beth's students lobbied Capitol Hill, lead fundraisers and awareness campaigns to support a wide range of causes. 

One unique aspect of She Rocks programming is that it is "for girls, by girls." By incorporating input from the girls in the Ambassador program, our lessons help them navigate their teen years and speak confidently one-on-one, or to an audience of thousands. Ambassadors are also encouraged to lead workshops for other girls - bringing their learning (and confidence) to a higher level.


Will Slack

Digital Services Expert at United States Digital Service

Will Slack is a Digital Services Expert with the United States Digital Service. Prior to that, Will managed products and platforms at 18F, including the Federalist web publishing tool. Before managing 18F products, Will managed the 18F business development process and represented 18F to agency program leaders and CIOs. Will was a healthcare IT implementation and product executive before joining government. He also teaches workshops for beginners to learn about GitHub.


Mariya Nakova

Product Manager at National Geographic Partners

Mariya Nakova is a, Bulgaria born, New Zealand citizen who followed her passion to create products with impact. Mariya moved to the United States to help further the advancement of digital product management techniques, and development of more creative and dynamic user interaction methodologies. In addition to working for several film studios in Australia and New Zealand, Mariya has worked as a Digital Product Manager for companies including TEK Systems, AARP, National Geographic and the Walt Disney Corporation. Additionally Mariya has lent her skill set to US Department of Defense digital training initiatives to effectively educate DoD personnel making complex topics simple to understand.

At National Geographic/Disney, Mariya is working with the Image Collection team to modernize and preserve the National Geographic photography archive. Currently Mariya has started a non-profit organization called WeGov, who’s mission is to raise interest, engagement and increase general knowledge of civics among people in the United States. Mariya is driven by effective communication, philanthropy and the need to create, and as a citizen of the world, Mariya looks for opportunities to share her passion everywhere she goes.


Rachel Naidich

Freshman at Stanford University

Rachel is an incoming freshman at Stanford University and a recent graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. She loves computer science, and her specific interests include artificial intelligence and virtual reality. She is part of her school's Senior Computer Team and is also president of her school’s Coding Lady Colonials club, where she gives lectures on computer science topics and empowers high school girls to pursue computer science. In addition, she is an organizer of HackTJ, an annual hackathon with 500+ attendees that provides resources for high school students to learn to program and develop projects. She has developed an Android app and 3D VR visualization program that generates the safest routes using traffic accident and risk data, a VR CPR training and certification program, and a patent-pending AI model based on human memory for online learning platforms. She is currently working on developing a wearable medical device that may improve rehabilitation. Rachel plans on studying computer science at Stanford and hopes to pursue a career in computer science in the future.

She Rocks the World Student Speakers

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Elizabeth Johnson

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Maya Beiriger

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Olivia D'Alessandro

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Ella Zappon


Shritha Mandova


Chloe Nguyen-Laget