I had an incredible and wildly surprising Datacomp 2019 !

It was not only my first Datacomp – but also my first ever Hackathon. I was very apprehensive about how I would be treated by a team of strangers much more qualified and skilled than myself, how I would be treated as a student, and how I would be treated as a young queer individual.

I was met with a supporting, fervently hard-working, and enthusiastic team! They totally blew my worries and apprehension out of the water. Until this wonderful 48 hour challenge with this awesome team I can honestly say I hadn’t experienced being treated so equally and valued so much as a practitioner and individual the way this team did. Whenever I had something to say I was met with listening and waiting ears- and I didn’t have to fight for it. In fact, I don’t remember anyone having to. That’s a wonderful type of collaboration and teamwork that I can get behind.

I spearheaded our presentation design and was involved in project development, pitch development, UI asset development, infographic design, UX design, and of course- illustration (how can I ever avoid it?).

So get this: a tense Saturday at 4pm, everyone rushing around to prepare for mini pitch presentations to get feedback on concepts and developments, and when I walked into a small meeting room expecting to see 4 judges- I was met with a room of what I remember to be over 12. All eyes on me and my teammate about to do a mini pitch of our entire team’s concept.

I’ve struggled with anxiety and an incessant feeling of unpreparedness whenever I’ve done presentations in university- which got better over the past 3 years- but still very strongly lingers whenever I have to do one.

So to be presented the ‘Awesomeness’ award on stage by Kerry Topp & Datacom for exactly that- for presenting- I was floored. It means so much to me and is seriously a measure of many years of hard work to bring out my normal, goofy, ecstatic way of talking to friends, into a room of impressive people, and then onto a big stage in front of a big crowd.

I also have my team “Happy Healthy Homes” to thank for being so supportive and very convincing when it came to getting me to present twice.

We also won ‘Best Design’! It makes me so damn proud. Everyone contributed ideas and visual concepts that Donald and I only used skilled hands to make happen.
It was the whole team’s vision that got us here.