Remembering Kim Parsell

Matt has approved the proposal for a travel scholarship to WCSF (or it’s new equivalent once that’s announced) in Kim’s memory. Here are the details:

  • It will be a scholarship for a woman contributor with financial need who has never attended the event before.
  • It will be limited to WCSF’s replacement event rather than available for any WC.
  • When we announce travel scholarships for the event, this specific memorial scholarship will be mentioned in the post.
  • It will cover the ticket cost, flight, and lodging.
  • We will award one per year.
  • It will be funded by the Foundation.
  • It will be awarded by the community team (or whatever people within the project are overseeing travel scholarships that year) to the recipient 3 months in advance of the event.

I’ll try to pre-empt a couple of anticipated questions. 🙂

Why just WCSF (WCUSWCUS WordCamp US. The US flagship WordCamp event.)?
WCSF specifically was hugely important to Kim. A bunch of people have posted about how much being at WCSF this past year meant to her (especially being there when Matt mentioned her during State of the WordState of the Word This is the annual report given by Matt Mullenweg, founder of WordPress at WordCamp US. It looks at what we’ve done, what we’re doing, and the future of WordPress., so it makes sense to choose the event that had that big impact so recently before her passing. Also, making it open to more events would mean a bigger need for logistical oversight, and we want to keep it pretty easy to manage. The assumption is that it will live within a broader travel scholarship program that can be worked on this year (SF was a test of the idea, but not intended to be the only WC that would offer assistance in the future if it worked well, which we haven’t yet worked out).

Why only a woman contributor?
Kim and I talked several times about getting more women involved, and she said that she did feel at times that some areas of WP were dominated by men that made it tough to find a place/voice for women, especially older women. I thought about making it even more Kim-specific and making for women over 40 or something, but realistically I was afraid we might not have enough people in that narrow a demographic to be able to award it each year. Related: we need to be a great place for older women to contribute!

Why is there a financial need component?
Kim had never been able to attend until this year, and she talked about how amazing it was for her to be here, and that without the travel program it wouldn’t have been possible. Kim and I also talked quite a bit about the employablility of core contributorsCore Contributors Core contributors are those who have worked on a release of WordPress, by creating the functions or finding and patching bugs. These contributions are done through Trac. vs. support/docs/community/etc — many of you know she was unemployed around that time — and how the areas that tended to attract more women volunteers weren’t necessarily tied to high-paying careers like “the whiz-bang kids that work on coreCore Core is the set of software required to run WordPress. The Core Development Team builds WordPress.,” as she once referred to them. 🙂 So making this scholarship especially for someone without a fancy tech salary to count on seemed like a good nod.

Why only someone who’s never been before?
Again, as a Kim memorial, we wanted this to be very Kim-specific, and that first-time experience is what we want to provide someone in her memory.

@siobhan: Do you want to mention this/link to it on the docs team blog rather than me re-posting?

#kim-parsell, #travel-scholarships, #wordcamps