Thank you, Mozilla

It’s with great gratitude that I’m writing to say that I have one more week on staff at Mozilla.

Over the past five years, Mozilla has become a family to me. I have learned so much about the web, open source community and education while being here. I've worked on virtually every product in the Foundation and a handful in the Corporation. I have all sorts of fuzzy feelings thinking about Hackasaurus, X-Ray goggles, Thimble, Open Badges, Webmaker, Lovebomb, Mozilla Teach and of course the project that started it all, the Hive.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 10.10.27 AM

This is me doing a Hive usertest at DreamYard in the Bronx, when I was still in graduate school.

I started working on the Hive while I was in graduate school and remember fondly visiting Chris Lawrence, who was then at the New York Hall of Science, testing out the C3 project (the three Cs stand for Collect, Construct and Change) that NYSCI was creating with Bank Street College of Education and CityLore. I was the designer on hand to help out. I started contributing to the concept of the Hive by participating in design charettes, workshops and meetings. I even user tested my thesis project with Hive youth.

New Youth City logo
New Youth City Nodebot

Eventually the MacArthur Foundation approved me for a job (my fan girl status was overwhelming them, I guess) and I started to work at what was then called the New Youth City Learning Network at the Social Science Research Council. One of my first projects was making a logo and designing t-shirts (see above).

mark surman
Drawing of Mark Surman that I doodled in my sketchbook at first MozFest - aka - Drumbeat.

In what seemed like weeks, I was off to Barcelona for the first ever Mozilla Festival. The Festival is where I met Atul and Michelle (among the other cast of wonderfully creative Mozilla peeps) - and started to have a work crush on all of the creative things that Mozillians were doing. It was at the Festival that Atul and I started to talk to members of the Hive about what eventually became Hackasaurus and the X-Ray Goggles.

Hackasaurus Times

Tl;dr here: Atul and I worked on Hackasaurus with the libraries in NY and Chicago. We user tested everything in all the Hives. We collaborated with folks like Rafi Santos, Ingrid Erickson (both educational researchers) and Diana Rhoten (then the director of the NY Hive).I also attended weekly Mozilla community calls that were led by Matt Thompson. At some point here I worked with youth to rename the network the Hive - because the teens felt that the Network worked like bees - all of the activity happened out in the world, but the Hive was the space to connect and plot.

I acted as the Creative Director of the Hive and loved working with all of the different organizations throughout New York and Chicago as they took risks with technology while developing programming for teens.

I remember going to meetings with Mark discussing how everything would work if Mozilla took on the Hive project and talking with Matt who was then the project manager for Learning Projects. A year or so progressed and both the Hive and Hackasaurus were housed at Mozilla.

the hackasaurus
Original concept for the Hackasaur

Through Mozilla, I worked with community members in Nairobi, Paris, Indonesia, Mexico, Canada and Brooklyn (among other places!) and have learned a ton about community engagement from Laura and Gunner.

Screen Shot 2015-05-01 at 9.22.50 AM After working across countries for years I met Nairobi contributor Cliff Qleep in person at a MozFest in 2013

Mozilla became a place for me to grow and be creative. I forged an instant partnership with Atul - who shared my interest in learning design and perfectly complimented my skillset. With Atul, and Mozilla I've had the opportunity to work on truly interesting and innovative problems facing those who use and craft the Web.

I've been honored to have the chance to make tons of quirky, playful and educational tools here:

projectsmade

... and given the chance to make a few things that never saw the light of day:

failures

Personally, I've had many milestones in my life here, I got engaged (at a hackathon!) and married, I've been through a hurricane for goodness sake! My love for this work and Mozilla has not diminished.

PEOPLE
I am getting teary eyed thinking about all of the amazing people that I have met because of this open and inspiring org

More than Mozilla, you have all been my mentors and co-conspirators. Merci, gracias, תוד, آپ کا شکریہ, danke, grazie, dankie, 감사합니다, ありがとう, thank you.