Software Freedom Conservancy

Outreachy's Sarah Sharp Wins Red Hat's First Women in Open Source Award

Sharp donates award proceeds to Outreachy and calls for others to donate too

June 25, 2015

Software Freedom Conservancy is thrilled to congratulate Sarah Sharp on being the first winner of the Red Hat Women in Open Source Community Award. Sarah was presented the honor at the Red Hat Summit today in Boston, Massachusetts after being chosen in a selection process by both private committee and public voting. For these first awards, there were 100 nominations resulting in 10 finalists (5 in each of the two categories: Community and Academic). More than 3,000 votes were tallied for the Women in Open Source Awards.

Sharp, co-organizer of Conservancy member project Outreachy, is an embedded software architect at Intel, known for her work in the Linux kernel. She is the author and former maintainer of the Linux USB 3.0 host controller driver and was involved in Linux kernel development since 2006. She currently serves on the Technical Advisory Board for Linux, an elected position. Prior to joining the Outreachy organizing committee in an official capacity, Sharp was instrumental in coordinating kernel internships for Outreachy (then called Outreach Program for Women). This effort led to several Outreachy participants becoming top-ranked Linux kernel contributors. Since 2013, the program enabled 78 women become kernel contributors as applicants, and 26 of them became interns. Sarah now helps coordinate the overall Outreachy program. Sharp is also known as an outspoken proponent of improving communications among kernel developers to be more courteous and friendly to diverse new contributors.

"I'm honored to receive this award, and be recognized for both my technical contributions and my efforts to make open source communities a better place," said Sharp. "I hope that in the following years, the Women in Open Source award gets hundreds, even thousands of nominations. The only way we'll get there is through changing our culture, and encouraging minorities to get into open source."

The honor is organized and awarded by Red Hat, also a sponsor and partner in Outreachy, providing critical resources to the program.

"We're delighted to recognize Sarah as our first Women in Open Source Community Award winner," said DeLisa Alexander, Executive Vice President & Chief People Officer who presented the award to Sharp. "Sarah's dedication and passion are an inspiration to us all. She is a role model for girls everywhere, and we believe that her story will spark their interest in open source and technology."

Sarah has generously decided to donate the proceeds of her award to help support Outreachy, to help more women and underrepresented groups get a start in free and open source software. Funds donated to Outreachy help run the program, fund interns and help support the pogram participants attend conferences and events where they can connect with the communities that they are contributing to. Sharp commented, "I believe that it's important to increase the number of diverse voices in our communities, which is why I'm donating my award to the Outreachy program. I urge others to donate as well. Every little donation helps, from funding internships, to allowing participants to attend open source conferences. I hope that the program grows, expanding to more open source projects, and finding more mentors who want to participate and make a difference."

Donations to Outreachy can be made here.

Also selected as finalists for this award were Conservancy's Evaluations Committee member Deb Nicholson and Conservancy's Executive Director, Karen Sandler. Nicholson is Community outreach director at GNU MediaGoblin, board member of OpenHatch, organizer of the Boston Software Freedom Day and Community Outreach director at the Open Invention Network. In addition to her work as Conservancy's Executive Director, Sandler is known for her work on software in medical devices and is a board member of the GNOME Foundation and co-organizer of Outreachy. She is pro bono counsel to the FSF, GNOME and QuestionCopyright.org and cohost of the “Free as in Freedom” audcast.

Conservancy congratulates Sharp, Kesha Shah the winner of the Academic Award and all of the 8 other nominees for these awards.

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