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The Leaders


Erika Carlson

Erika Carlson was studying clinical psychology in 2011, when she wrote her first line of Python code. She fell in love with programming, decided to change paths, and is now a software developer and director of the Developer Apprentice Program at Detroit Labs. The mission of GDI resonates personally for Erika, and she is deeply passionate about creating a community of peers and mentors for women exploring the field of technology for the first time.

Erika is passionate about the potential of technology to create positive change in the world, and she teaches programming and web development to students of all ages. When she's not teaching people to write code, she loves traveling, biking, paddleboarding, camping, and hanging out with her corgi, Bella.


Leeann Drees

Leeann is a web developer specializing in WordPress sites. She co-founded ellell & co. with fellow Girl Develop It leader Laura Eagin! Leeann manages the Detroit chapter's social media, helps organize all events, and teaches HTML & CSS and WordPress. She is also a big fan of biking, cooking, and her cats.


Jeseekia Vaughn

Jeseekia Vaughn is a senior Mechanical Engineering student at Wayne State University and freelance Frontend Developer. She enjoys the endless possibilities to create things when you combine software and hardware development. To positively impact diversity in STEM fields, she has served in many positions including the board of directors for the National Society of Black Engineers and volunteered as a Teaching Assistant with Girl Develop It Detroit. In addition to development, Jeseekia previously worked for Grand Circus Detroit helping to develop curriculum for coding bootcamps and host office hours for students. In her free time Jeseekia is an avid gamer and lover of all things PlayStation. Jeseekia teaches workshops on Intro JavaScript, HTML, and CSS.


Michelle Srbinovich

Michelle Srbinovich is the General Manager of WDET 101.9FM, Detroit's public radio station. She's passionate about accelerating the growth of Detroit's tech industry by building a strong community of female developers and technology leaders. Michelle is excited to extend GDI's reach across Southeast Michigan and provide women from all walks of life with the opportunity to connect, learn code, and be part of moving Detroit forward.

Michelle is one of our chapter's cofounders and now serves us in an advisory capacity.

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Aisha Blake

Aisha Blake arrived in Detroit in 2013 to serve as a Jesuit Volunteer at Detroit Cristo Rey High School where she was given the opportunity to guide a group of girls through creating their own websites as well as building and programming robots. Very much a non-teacher at the time, she turned to GDI Detroit for guidance and got to know a number of amazing women in tech. This inevitably led to a deep love of the tech community in Detroit and a desire to put down roots. She now teaches a web development course for high school students and does curriculum development at Grand Circus, a Detroit-based coding bootcamp. Aisha teaches workshops on Intermediate HTML & CSS, Web Accessibility, and Responsive Web Design.


The Instructors


Julie Cameron

Julie's played various roles in the web development industry for the last seven years and is currently working remotely around metro Detroit as a frontender for Articulate. She's become very passionate about Sass, CSS3, HTML5, and modular architecture, is an advocate for responsive web design, a student of JavaScript, an open-source developer, an agile proponent, and self-improvement practitioner.


Nick DeNardis

Nick DeNardis is the Associate Director of Web Communications at Wayne State University. As host of the video blog EDU Checkup, he reviews higher education sites from the point of view of a first time visitor. He is the curator of EDU Snippits, a hand picked selection of inspiring and unique higher education web elements. He is a respected speaker at conferences on subjects ranging from Web usability, mobile, accessibility, and analytics. He is also one of the directors of TEDxDetroit.


James York

James York is a musician-turned-software-developer who is like a knowledge TARDIS. He currently builds AngularJS apps for cars (lolwut?) on OnStar’s connected consumer platform. He has previously worked in enterprise java and on an enterprise message bus, which even he has trouble describing. Passionate about helping others find their way into software, James spends his spare time mentoring local software newbies, volunteering with Girl Develop It, and teaching beginner programming classes for Grand Circus Detroit. He also recently co-founded a user group dedicated to software craftsmanship in downtown Detroit called the Detroit Craftsman Guild. He loves good chocolate chip cookies, bad kung fu movies, and is still waiting for Gandalf to invite him on an adventure.