2018 Tech10 Awards

Rhode Island Monthly and Tech Collective recognize local individuals across ten categories, from tech educators to entrepreneurs.

With new gadgets and technology advances come a shift in what it means to be an innovator in this ever-changing marketplace. But who are the faces behind the logos? Rhode Island Monthly and Tech Collective have partnered to recognize these local individuals across ten categories, from tech educators to entrepreneurs who are shaping the future of modern society.

 

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Michelle Petersen. Photography by James Jones.

Entrepreneur

Michelle Petersen
Co-Founder, Chief Operating Officer, TextUp
Combines a cloud-based phone system with a CRM platform tailored to the needs of social workers and care providers.
What made you want to get into the tech field?
I didn’t originally envision myself as working in tech or even working in business. I studied public policy and public health in college because I’ve always been interested in messy, macro-level problems. It just so happened that I stumbled upon a messy problem that needed a software solution: how overworked social workers are. TextUp provides a direct, encrypted communication channel between social workers and their clients, while dramatically reducing social workers’ administrative burden. At the end of the day, I’m not a tech person. It’s not the software part that gets me excited; it’s the messy problem-solving part.

What is your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part and least favorite part is how scrappy my job is. Because TextUp is in its startup phase, I have to wear a lot of different hats. I can be meeting with our legal team, making sales calls, giving product demos, negotiating software integrations, writing grant applications, attending networking events and answering customer support inquiries all in the same day. The variety helps to keep my stamina up. Whenever I get worn out doing one thing, I know there are ten other things I can shift to working on. The tough part with that is knowing when to call it a day and take time away from work. Thankfully I have my co-founder, Eric Bai. He and I are great about reminding each other to have a life outside of work.


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Carol M. Giuriceo, PH. D.

Community Partner

Carol M. Giuriceo, PH. D.
Director, Rhode Island STEAM Center at Rhode Island College
The state’s primary educational hub, resource and research collaborative. Established to increase interest in advancement of traditional science, technology, engineering, arts and design and mathematics disciplines.

What is your favorite part about your job?
I love meeting and talking to new people. Rhode Island is filled with people who are doing innovative things for the good of the state. Part of my job is building connections and developing partnerships between different groups of people, whether they work in primary or secondary education, higher education, after school, community-based or industry. When you include different viewpoints and tap into varied expertise, a wonderful new perspective develops — and what they say is true, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts! I get to see this magic happen at the Rhode Island STEAM Center and be part of some pretty amazing collaborations. Most recently, the Rhode Island STEAM Center led the effort to develop Rhode Island computer science education standards. The enthusiasm, excitement and eagerness of the statewide committee led to standards that exceeded everyone’s expectations.

What led you to become the director for the Rhode Island STEAM Center at Rhode Island College?
My eclectic background, which includes experience in media production, museum exhibition development and design, undergraduate teaching, inclusivity projects and program evaluation. As director, I need to be an innovator, a project manager, a negotiator and a multitasker. My varied experience taught me the ins and outs of collaboration, the importance of clarity and simplicity when sharing ideas and the need to be inclusive in all ways. It’s the perfect fit.


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Matthew Hallam

Youth Engagement

Matthew Hallam
Senior IT Developer, Amica Mutual Insurance Company
The oldest mutual insurer of automobiles in the country that also offers home, marine, personal umbrella liability and life insurance products.

What advice would you give someone looking to get into your field?
Don’t wait to start learning; go out and start now. There are so many excellent, free tools out there so that you can start learning and building a portfolio for yourself today. By the time you get to class, you’ll be more than prepared, and you will have something to show future employers and clients. Ask questions, either online or with a mentor, too.

What kind of people do you work with at Computer Science for Rhode Island (CS4RI)?
CS4RI is full of amazing people who are giving their time and energy not just to better position Rhode Island as a tech leader in the country (as if that weren’t enough) but doing so by providing vital tools and education to its students. Everyone, from the volunteers (like me) to the program directors and corporate sponsors (like Amica) believes in this program. CS is now being taught in every high school in the state, and Rhode Island is considered a tech leader in the country. This is thanks in large part to the efforts of everyone involved with CS4RI. I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of it.

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