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Ladies Rocking Humanitarian & Disaster Response – Meet Dara!

September 5, 2014 - Blog -

Meet Dara – VOTE for FIT!

FIT is gearing up for the 22nd Annual SXSW Interactive Festival, held in Austin from March 13 – 17, 2015. For those of you not familiar with the festival it is, “An incubator of cutting-edge technologies and digital creativity” that features presentations, panels, discussions, networking opportunities, and a place to preview tomorrow’s technologies.

FIT’s mission to “deliver real-time innovations in disasters” and our team members pioneering application of technologies, makes us the perfect FIT to be included on SXSW’s Interactive Panel. We’ve submitted two proposals. To give you a glimpse of the four fabulous ladies on FIT’s Panel – Ladies Rocking Humanitarian & Disaster Response  – we will be introducing you to each person. Like what you see? Go to the PanelPicker, create an account and vote for 1) “Ladies Rocking Humanitarian & Disaster Response,” and 2) our “Tech in Disasters – a Robotics Petting Zoo” workshop. Please add your comments too! Adding comments helps the SXSW board select the 2015 panel finalists.

Meet Dara – Designer in Disasters for Field Ready & Human Factors Lead for Made In Space, Inc.

Dara believes that building, making, and hacking through collaboration is how we get things done in the disaster space. Dara worked in Haiti after the devastating 2011 earthquake, 3D printing devices for use in hospitals. She is Designer and Maker with the Field Innovation Team’s Design and Technology Sections. Dara was also recently promoted on Tech Girls Canada, which “features women who help break barriers and achieve great things within their industry.”

Question: How did you start your work in humanitarian disasters?

Answer: I’ve always been interested in working with communities affected by crisis. I started working with refugee populations in 2003. Most recently I’ve wanted to work with communities impacted by disaster. I knew I wanted to find out how communities are able to recover post disaster, and when the opportunity to go to Haiti in 2011 emerged, I went. I have a passion to help, and I followed the passion.

Question: Why is additive manufacturing so important in disasters and humanitarian crisis?

Answer: It’s not the only tool, but it’s a good fit for on-demand need. You don’t have to worry about the difficult situation of not knowing what you need until you get to the disaster. For example, in Haiti, only one hospital technician had a wrench – one wrench.  Everyone wanted it, but she needed it to change oxygen tanks. With a 3D printer on hand, we can print wrenches for anyone. This technology allows you to have a catalog of items to print, then you pick and choose what you need rather than waste time and money planning and bringing extra equipment you may never use or that doesn’t help the crisis.

Question: Why should people vote for the FIT Panel to be featured at SXSW?

Answer: Because we’re a group of rock’n, innovating women in a male-dominated industry and we need to get more women involved.

Question: If you could create a new species of animal, what would it be and why?

Answer: Zebra-Unicorn Pegasus – just because it doesn’t exist on earth doesn’t mean it can’t exist in space! Why should we limit ourselves?

What to learn more about Dara’s work? Go to the SXSW PanelPicker, create an account and vote for “Ladies Rocking Humanitarian & Disaster Response.” Please leave a comment about why this panel is important and should be a finalist for the 22nd Annual SXSW Interactive Festival.