Jun 24 2016

Julia’s Parting Thoughts, Updates and Thank Yous

Hive NYC

Guest facilitators get prepped for State of the Hive 2016

Guest facilitators get prepped for State of the Hive 2016 – photo by Christian Rodriguez

Dear Hive NYC,

As I step away from my role as Hive NYC Network Manager, I leave you with some reflections, parting thoughts, updates and thank yous. My time with this network has made a huge impact on my life and I will forever be grateful for all of the positive experiences it’s given me.

My Hive NYC Story

In October 2011, I started part-time contract work with Hive NYC. I had just finished a Masters degree in Design and Technology and was teaching as an adjunct professor while pursuing an art practice that I still dabble in today. An organization called Girls Write Now (GWN) introduced me to Hive NYC during a project I helped them launch called Digital Remix Portfolio, which has since grown into their current Digital Media program.

GWN was one of several Hive NYC member organizations who received funding that year to develop innovative, connected educational projects for youth. The collaborative and experimental nature of these projects inspired me. Eventually, I met Chris Lawrence, who at the time was the Director of Hive NYC. He introduced me to other organizations and invited me to work on projects with Hive NYC member organizations such as The After School Corporation, Partnership for After School Education, Radio Rookies,Parsons, DreamYard and Girls Write Now. During this time, I had the pleasure of collaborating on:

  • Words on Walls – Youth-produced performance of music, spoken word and projections.
  • Digital Remix Portfolio – Mastering the craft of writing through digital media creation.
  • TASCasaurus –  STEM-focused webpages about biodiversity in local neighborhoods.
  • Brooklyn Explorers – Youth document their neighborhoods with digital tools and media.
  • Summer Quest – A free summer camp for elementary and middle school students.

In October 2013, I joined Hive NYC full time as Network Manager. I worked closely with Chris Lawrence, Lainie DeCoursy and Leah Gilliam to strengthen and grow Hive NYC’s ecosystem. My job was to support community members and create spaces for them to collaborate. I facilitated monthly meet-ups and community calls, led workshops, represented Hive NYC at various conferences, held weekly office hours, ran sessions at Mozilla Festival and so much more.  Some highlights of this work are captured here:

What’s Next

Mozilla Clubs at a Mozila work week, London. 2016

Mozilla Clubs at Mozilla work week, London. 2016 – Photo by Mozilla

In June 2016, I transitioned into a new role within the Mozilla Foundation. I am now managing a project called Mozilla Clubs where I am helping a global network of community members share Mozilla’s mission to ensure the Internet is a global public resource, open and accessible to all. In this role, I will help club participants use hands-on, interest-based learning to grow digital literacy in community spaces such as schools, libraries, coffee shops, internet cafes and universities around the world.

Last week, the Mozilla Clubs team spent a week together planning our goals for 2016. We outlined several objectives aiming to advance Mozilla’s ambitious plan to help people everywhere feel empowered, safe and independent as they experience the next wave of openness and opportunity online. Here are some goals Club leaders want to focus on in the next 6 months:

  • Teach where the internet is not available
  • Organize an international Mozilla club gathering
  • Support club leaders and empower them to be successful agents of change.
  • Localize curriculum and resources

I see a lot of similarity between my work with Hive NYC and Clubs. Both are community-driven networks that share a passion for education, inclusivity, collaboration, openness and innovation. The main difference is in size and scale. Clubs are smaller, ranging between 3 and 30 people. Each has a different culture and focus. Some Clubs choose to focus on things like developing safe spaces for learning, others choose to focus on hard skills like video editing and programming and everything in between.

I am very excited to share what I have learned from Hive NYC with Club communities around the world and look forward to potential collaborations between Clubs and Hives. I am so grateful for my time with Hive NYC and believe this transition will allow me to contribute in new and even better ways.

Thank You

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Hillary Kolos, Julia Vallera and Ariam Mogos at the annual Hive NYC holiday party – photo by Hive NYC

To all Hive NYC members, thank you all for your patience, flexibility, availability, honesty, kindness, thoughtfulness and willingness to jump right in. I am constantly amazed at your brilliance and passion for the work that you do. As I tackle new challenges with Mozilla Clubs, I will forever keep you in my thoughts and ask myself “what would Hive NYC do?”

Thank you Chris Lawrence, for your guidance and leadership with Hive and beyond. Dr. Dixie Ching, for your continuous input and for constantly bringing a layer of sincerity and context to our work. Rafi Santo, for your deep investigation and reflections on our work.  Marc Lesser, for rallying Emoti-Con! and for bringing a layer of FUN to everything! Ariam Mogos, for Young Innovator Squad and always putting youth voices in the forefront of what we do. Hillary Kolos, for providing constructive feedback to every topic we throw at you! Armando Somoza, for your work on the “Digital Divide” and service to students from under-represented communities. Yvonne Braithwaite, for driving the work on PASE Explorers and the Spread and Scale workshops! Erika Kermani, for Playable Fashion and always being ready to innovate and collaborate. Zac Rudge, for bringing CRC’s into the mix and jumping in at Mozfest 2015! Naomi Solomon, Leah Gilliam, Steve Ausbury, Merle McGee, Delia Kim, Meredith Summs, Brian Cohen, Lori Benson, Tali Horowitz, Sanda Balaban, Courtney Stein, Virgilio Bravo, Steven Goss, Jess Walker, Devin Dillon, Kevin Miklasz, Tina Shoulders, Aaron Lazansky, Tahir Hemphill, Jerelyn Rodriguez, Chris Amos, Lainie DeCoursy and so many more! Thank you!

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