July 13, 2019

My Stephanie Hickey story


I was in Philadelphia in November 2015 for Clojure Conj, the premiere conference in the world for the Clojure computer programming language (one of my favorite programming languages). One of the off-hour events was Clojurebridge, an effort to teach Clojure to girls and women new to Clojure and new to programming. I thought this was cool so I took part.

A number of new programmers paired together with more experienced programmers. I paired with a new programmer named Stephanie, who had just completed an intensive introduction to Clojure. Stephanie and I worked together on writing code to make and solve simple Caesar ciphers.

In the middle of our coding session, Rich Hickey -- the inventor of the Clojure programming language -- came by for a brief visit. I had met Rich the year before and even took a selfie with him, and we chatted briefly then resumed work. After we finished the exercise, Stephanie gave me her business card. And that's when it struck me. I read the name on the card -- Stephanie Hickey.

I just worked in a coding session helping out the wife of the man who invented the coding language we were working on.

So that's why Rich stopped by.

The year before, at Clojure Conj 2014, Rich Hickey, at the start of his keynote address mentioned and praised Stephanie, saying that Clojure would not have been created if Stephanie hadn't taken on additional burden for maintaining the household while Rich worked on Clojure.

I think it's great that Stephanie set to learn the programming language that she played a role in helping to make, and I'm honored to have played a small part of that.