A Sanguine Neurastheniac

About


I’m Stephanie Alarcon.  I am a bike riding, tree hugging, science fetishizing, turntable loving unix geek from Philadelphia, living in Berlin.  I like using technology for social and environmental justice, and I’m always on the lookout for awesome projects and professional positions.  Here’s my resume.

I’ve been a sysadmin for a good long time. Currently I’m working on Measurement Lab, a collection of tools to measure Internet performance. It is a consortium of research, industry, and public interest partners, notably the Open Technology Institute. M-Lab recently published a really interesting study of network speeds at “interconnections”, or the places where different ISPs trade traffic.

Prior to working on M-Lab, I did an internship with OTI, working with their mesh networking platform, Commotion.  Before that, I was a server slinger at the University of Pennsylvania Library System. In May, 2011 I finished a Master of Environmental Studies degree at Penn, with a capstone project about electronic waste. My focus was urban environment, and my heart belongs to environmental justice. I think it would be awesome to work on a team to help e-textiles avoid the same pitfalls as e-waste. If you know of projects that do that kind of research, please get in touch!

I like making things and organizing projects, so it was really fun to be an organizer with The Hacktory, Philly’s first hackerspace. The Hacktory’s biggest project at the moment is a Knight Foundation-funded project to run a program for artists to learn how to add technology to their work, then teach those skills to Philadelphia students. The whole project will be topped off with an exhibition. Donations are always welcome! The Hacktory has lots of fun activities and classes, so check out the website for the latest news.

Previously, I was on the board of Hive76, one of Philly’s awesome hackerspaces. They have open house every Wednesday night, so come over some time to build a custom guitar effect pedal, make something with a 3-d printer, or talk shop with some nerds. Around the same time I did a stint as a Penn State Extension Master Gardener. See their Facebook page for the latest news.  It’s a great program, and in Philly there’s a lot of energy around food justice, urban agriculture, and making things grow in challenging spots.

I did my undergrad at the University of Pittsburgh where I wiled away many hours at WPTS and in the Latin American Studies department. I also wrote some poetry and newspaper articles, some good, some bloody awful. I did a bunch of freelance djing in the ’90s and 2000s and that was super fun. I also did some wandering around the world, particularly Latin America but also a few other places. In the picture on this page, I’m doing some 4-limbed soldering at the build-out of a community radio station at Maseno University near Kisumu, Kenya, after the World Social Forum in 2007, where I volunteered with the Prometheus Radio Project to build some rad low power stations, do some amazing skill shares, and facilitate the formation of a new Indie Media group in Nairobi. JJ Tiziou took that and literally hundreds of thousands of other photos of peoples’ struggles and triumphs. You should look him up.

My most recent travels took me to Queztaltenango (or Xela) in Guatemala to study Spanish, check out some appropriate technology projects, and learn some things about their history and the strong Mayan culture that exists there.

Oh right, I’m also a mom to a great toddler who is my most time-consuming project. Lucky for me, that time consumption consists of lots of nature hikes, building with blocks, and giggles. It’s my most fun and creative collaboration yet!

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