11 awesome tips and insights from 8 women at NASA's Data Bootcamp

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On Friday, Fusion attended NASA’s first-ever Data Bootcamp, which focused on Women in Data (you can read about the event here.) Throughout the day, panelists and audience members shared their stories, offered tips on how to succeed in work and gave advice on how to overcome intimidation. Their words were so inspiring we decided to put them together in one place.

NASA astronaut Cady Coleman, on encouraging girls and women to code:

“We still need some mechanisms to help girls and women understand that they’re smart enough to do anything, and if there’s a skill they want they just need to learn it. The big thing that they probably don’t understand is that they are really essential parts of the solution.”


Niki Selken, Space Apps Challenge winner, on hackathons:

“There is no skill-set that is not useful within this environment.”

Jerelyn Rodriguez, The Knowledge House, on tech-based solutions:

“When you think about problem solving, think about data, but also think about the people.”


Natalia Arguello, Executive Director, NYDesigns, on facing rejection:

“You are not your idea. It’s just something that you created, and you create a thousand of them.”

Beth Beck, NASA Open Innovation Program Manager:

“No one knows how to do anything until you take a step and do it. No one really knows how to do any of this — in the data world we’re in, we’re in the wild wild west.”


Olivia Ross, 13-year-old coder:

“I think that programming isn’t as much of a skill as a tool to do things… to learn how to make something, that’s the ultimate goal."


“Someone told me that programming is the highest form of art, and I agree with that. I think it’s the most interactive one. If you have music, someone plays and you listen… but if you make a game, if you make an app, you can communicate back and forth, you can make something that makes something else. You can make something that actually helps.”

“Knowledge is something that deserves to be shared. No one person or group has the right to monopolize it, it belongs to everyone.”


Kate Stone, Founder, Novalia:

“If you do what is expected of you, or what you think people expect of you, you’re never going to surprise anyone at all.”


“If you have an idea that’s going to turn people’s world upside down, you can’t tell them in an instant. You need to share common experiences. How can you take people on a journey?”


Sandy Carter, IBM General Manager Cloud Ecosystem and Developers and Social Business Evangelist:

“Make sure you’re acting like yourselves and dressing like yourselves. Don’t let anybody tell you to act like someone that you’re not.”


Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.