Founder and CEO of We Can Code IT, Recipient of multiple tech and entrepreneurial awards including Taft’s Notable Women in STEM, Crain’s Cleveland 2018 Notable Woman in Tech and 2014 Woman of Note, and Tech Czar / Cleveland.com Top Ten Tech Evangelist in 2017. She’s a software engineer with over 20 years of professional experience, as well as speaker, educator, and entrepreneur.
Mel McGee has worked with clients like Tyco International, DeLorean Motor company, and hundreds of others to develop software. Her programming experience translated to the classroom nearly as soon as she began coding.
An experienced educator, she has taught computer science and engineering subjects to kids, teens, and adults at We Can Code IT, colleges, and overseas. Mel’s knowledge of over 20 programming languages allows her to adapt curriculum to students in a variety of ways. As a certified Scrum master and a Gestalt trained facilitator, Mel’s interests in collaborative work are woven throughout We Can Code IT’s culture and classroom experience.
Her love for sharing her creative computing techniques has not gone unnoticed. Her innovative early wearable computer was featured in Howard Rheingold’s book Smart Mobs. Her web development expertise was featured in books like Curt Harler’s Beyond the Browser. She has been featured on NPR, publications like Motor World, Crain’s Cleveland Business, Cleveland’s Plain Dealer, and many more. Her artificial intelligence bots, Zoe-bot and Skeletor-bot, have been entertaining the masses online and at community events since the early 2000s. She continues to enjoy innovating with artificial intelligence.
She has a daughter who is learning how to program, and two dogs who follow her everywhere they possibly can.
Lauren Holloway is a Cleveland native from Shaker Heights, Ohio. After earning her Bachelors degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, she committed her next year to educating others through National Service in AmeriCorps. Following her service year, Lauren returned to her hometown where she began her relationship with We Can Code IT as a volunteer. After transitioning from a volunteer to We Can Code IT staff as a Teaching Assistant, Lauren completed We Can Code IT’s very first cohort and has served as an instructor for each cohort thereafter. A panelist at Microsoft and The Hills Computer Science Policy talks, a participant in The White House’s technology inclusion efforts, Lauren has lead We Can Code IT’s mission of diversity and inclusivity and has served many roles at We Can Code IT including Instructor, Director of Education & Culture, and currently leading Student Success at our Columbus Campus. Lauren is currently working on her M.S. in Software Engineering.
Alan Kostrick has been teaching Java for over a decade as an AP Computer Science instructor at a high school just outside of Baltimore, MD. Alan brings to the team experience in educational leadership and curriculum design. Alan has also been developing websites with a specialization in WordPress and Bootstrap templates. In his free time, Alan enjoys skateboarding, playing guitar, and most importantly hanging out with his wife and daughter.
Don Hamilton is the Lead Instructor here at We Can Code IT. He graduated from The Ohio State University with a BFA specializing in Photography. Starting as a graphic designer/photographer his passion quickly shifted to front end and then full stack web development. He now has 6 years of professional experience as a Web Developer. As an Instructor at We Can Code IT, Don hopes to give students a passion for writing clean code and a desire to pursue life-long learning.[/popup]
Jennifer earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering from Case Western Reserve University, her Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Engineering from Wright State University, and her Software Engineering Certification from We Can Code IT. She is passionate about using her engineering experience to serve others, use technology to overcome obstacles to employment, and provide technical instruction. Over the past 25 years she has worked on teams that researched implantable electrical stimulation devices to provide hand control for individuals with paralysis, with a non-profit government agency that created employment opportunities and workplace accommodations for adults with developmental disabilities, and for a private company that managed the health care of employees who were injured at work. She is pleased to currently play a role in contributing to a more diverse tech community by instructing new software developers at We Can Code IT.
Jennifer is committed to giving back to her local and global community. She has participated in fundraising events for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, and Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry. She has volunteered packing meals for the hungry, at a computer lab in a men’s homeless shelter, and in multiple leadership capacities at her church.
Jennifer resides in Brecksville with her husband and youngest daughter, while their two older daughters are busy pursuing careers in Computer Engineering and Chemistry in southern Ohio. As a family they enjoy biking, downhill skiing, and attending family reunions in Hilton Head, South Carolina.
A lifelong Clevelander, Ernest spent over a decade in the journalism nonprofit sector before entering software development via We Can Code IT. He is excited to continue his work to make everyone’s voice heard through teaching and mentoring in IT. He currently teaches the Java FlexCode course for the Cleveland office.
Ernest lives in Chagrin Falls with his fiancée and an ever-rotating collection of foster cats.
Melissa has worked for nearly 10 years supporting students in their efforts to achieve academically, managing student services and academics at several career campuses in the Cleveland area. A lifelong Clevelander, she is dedicated to helping every student reach their goals. Melissa earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Kent State University in 2006, and is an avid gymnastics fan after competing for local clubs for over ten years. She is excited to join the team as a Student Success Coach at the Cleveland Campus and continuing to be a part of her student’s achievements.
Lacey is an Ohio State graduate by way of Cleveland, OH. She graduated with a degree in International Studies and began her career in sales, moving to Dallas, TX. After a move back to Columbus, Lacey made the jump into IT Recruiting combining her sales experience with her passion for helping others. She joins the We Can Code IT team bringing her passion for helping others get ahead within IT. Outside of the office, Lacey enjoys brunching around Columbus, traveling and spending time with her dog at the park.
Kendra is a Columbus, Ohio transplant from Lima, Ohio. She graduated with her Bachelors in Communications from Bluffton University. She started her career out in higher education then transitioned to IT recruiting. Kendra has a passion for education and joined the We Can Code IT team to combine the best of both worlds; education and IT. In her spare time Kendra enjoys being a part of her cosplay charity group; Heroes 4 Hope, reading comics, playing with her cat, and crafting.
Rachael just moved back to Ohio from Tampa Bay, Florida. While she loves spending a day at the beach, her passion has always been helping to educate students about the financial aid process. She started in financial aid as a work-study student while attending Kent State University. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree, Rachael went on to work in Financial Aid where she’s helped countless students and parents understand their personal finances and how government and institutional programs can help them finance their education. She’s excited to join our team at We Can Code IT and is committed to helping our students make informed and educated decisions about financing their education. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”
Kacy Ebel earned a Master’s degree in mechanical engineering from Cleveland State University. After engineering at NASA and continuing in HVAC industry, Kacy decided to make a career change and enrolled in We Can Code IT’s first cohort. Kacy spent some time working as a Software Developer at imageNation Web Experts before joining the We Can Code IT team.