Hi, I’m Nikki. I’m a software engineer and PhD candidate currently writing my dissertation and working as a researcher at Dartmouth College. If you’re curious about my engineering experience, check out my LinkedIn; the tl;dr is - Drupal 6,7,8, fancy projects, architecture, technical manager.

open source

I’m an active open source volunteer and community organizer. In 2016, I founded the Drupal Diversity Working Group as a response to the abysmal lack of diversity in the Drupal community. In 2017, I started the Open Demographics Initiative, as a response to watching communities struggle with how to manage their participant demographic data. In 2018, I stepped down from the Drupal Diversity Working Group, both because I believe in healthy and transparent leadership transitions, and because I was having concerns about whether D&I is the right approach at all. (I still am, happy to discuss if you’d like.) My current open source involvement is with Open Demographics and a forthcoming trans-inclusive gender data model. More on both on the projects page.


I’m a PhD candidate in the Human and Social Dimensions of Science and Technology program at Arizona State University. At parties, I tell people that I study “software engineering, surveillance, and data ethics.” This is a 100% true statement, but if you ask for more detail, I’ll tell you that I’ve been thinking about an overlapping set of questions:

  • how does bias get encoded in data? specifically, white supremacy and cis normativity?
  • are there ways to intervene in the data/conceptual modeling process that can bias a system toward justice?
  • can data be intersectional? if so, what implications does that have for folks who collect, use, generate data?
  • related: what is the nature of data we generate in our normal lives? this is, likely, a career-long data ontology curiosity.
  • what can empower software engineers to act ethically as individuals and community members? (sub question: what would a social justice determined, community oriented, reparations focused, intersectionally-grounded set of ethics for software engineers look like?)
  • what, if any, deliberate technological interventions can we make to directly counteract systemic injustices like racism, sexism and ableism?
  • not an academic interest, but a personal one what (if anything!) can make open source communities healthy and safe (especially for people who are part of under-represented groups)?

In addition to a seemlingly endless list of questions without easy answers, I’m also engaged in critical speculative software engineering. This can look variously like hacking, like making comptuters out of not-computer things, like unassembling, and thinking about the technology that will create new worlds.

If you’re also interested in any of the above, I’d love to talk to you.

When I’m not writing code or writing papers, I climb rocks and take my bulldog to the park.

recent presentations / talks

I’m available to speak at your event. My recent presentations are below, some of which have audio and/or video.

  • TexasCamp Keynote May 2018
  • Exciting Engineering Ethics Drupalcon Nashville. April 2018.
  • Open Demographics overview. Sackler Student Fellows Symposium. March 2018.
  • TEDxASU. March 2018
  • “The Imposter Monologues.” Drupalcon Baltimore. April 2017.
  • “100 ways to be an ally.” Drupalcon Baltimore. April, 2017
  • “Lessons learned: diversity and inclusion advocacy.” Drupalcon Baltimore. April, 2017
  • “Dogooding 101”, Badcamp 2016. Berkeley, CA. October, 2016.
  • Acquia Dev Video Interview, August 2016
  • Keynote, DrupalCamp Costa Rica. San Jose, Costa Rica. August, 2016
  • “Together We Can Be the Example for Diversity in Tech.” Drupalcon New Orleans. New Orleans, LA. May, 2016
  • “Getting your First Developer Job.” Sandcamp 2016. San Diego, CA. February, 2016
  • “The process of making a website.” Sandcamp 2016. San Diego, CA. February, 2016
  • “Calling all white men.” Sandcamp 2016. San Diego, CA. February, 2016
  • “Empowering Women in Business with 2014 Miss World.” New York, NY. May 27, 2014
  • “Lessons Learned: Overcoming Our Mistakes.” Facebook. New York, NY. May 14, 2013
  • “Women Talk Tech.” Bloomberg Center for Communications. New York, NY. November, 13, 2013
  • “#techinmotion. Struggles of Women in Technology.” New York, NY. March 21, 2013
  • “How to create diverse development teams.” 2 World Trade Center, New York, NY. March 10, 2012