Checking in with Manya Ellenberg, GM of hackNY

Aditya Mukerjee (hackNY Fellow 2011) sat down with Manya after settling in to week 4 of the 2012 hackNY Fellows program to check in on how things are going since she arrived at hackNY in January. They sat down at hackNY HQ this week.

–How’s it going Manya?
Everything’s great!

–Why are you & hackNY a great match?
hackNY’s mission excites me. hackNY touches on three of my passions: tech, students, and New York City. At hackNY I get to take those three things and help build into a community. Before hackNY, I was the Athena Leadership Lab Coordinator at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, a three year old center working to foster the next generation of women leaders. There I got to help create a center dedicated to the advancement of women leaders and now at hackNY I’m working on cultivating a community talented student-hackers. We recently welcomed our third class of hackNY fellows. It is awesome to be a part of the dynamic hackNY community where I get to enjoy and bring my skills to continuing to foster a community of talented and creative hackers.

–Give us a behind the scenes day with co-founders Evan and Chris.
This shouldn’t be surprise, but what impresses me most about Chris and Evan are their commitment to the students. The students are at the center of every conversation and decision that we make at hackNY – whether we’re planning for the hackNY Fellows, hackNY student hackathons, or alumni activities. That’s what hackNY is all about – the students and creating a community for them. It’s just great working with them.

–Say something about the hackNY Fellows.
The 2012 hackNY Fellows are a talented, smart, slightly naughty group of creative badasses. They’re working hard at their start-ups every day, come home to the dorms and hack together at night, and explore NYC on their free time. They ask insightful questions at our bi-weekly speaker events. It’s awesome to hang with them and I have lots to learn from them this summer.

–Since your arrival at hackNY, have you added more technology in your life?
I’ve been spending a lot more time in my terminal since coming to hackNY. The first week of the program, we were at an event and I overhead one of the Fellows say, “let’s go back to the dorm and hack on Manya.” Turns out they named the hackNY IRC bot after me. I don’t spend much time on IRC, but I hope that the hackNY Fellows continue to use Manya bot for years to come. It’s my hope to be one of the oldest IRC bots of all time. I’m also looking forward to attending the tech workshops the Fellows run.

–Tell us a fun Manya hackNY fact.
My first hackNY tweet was retweeted by Mayor Bloomberg.

Manya Ellenberg is hackNY’s general manager. She’s a Barnard College alumna and Athena Leadership Scholar. She served as the Athena Leadership Lab Coordinator at the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College and interned and researched for the President of Echoing Green. Manya has also volunteered with Columbia’s Peer Health Exchange. Before starting her undergraduate degree, she spent a year in Tel Aviv. Manya’s a native New Yorker with a great passion for NYC’s sights, sounds, food, and energy.