About Us

Stir Scholarship’s founding purpose is to foster gender diversity within the IT profession. To accomplish this, we are offering a scholarship to young women pursuing a degree in software technology. The foundation was created by like-minded individuals who have been working to change the industry. Meet the mentors.

Rick Kierner

Rick is a passionate technology leader focused on applying innovative technology solutions to real-world business challenges. He is experienced in all phases of software development life-cycle, project management, and support – from complex enterprise environments to start-ups. Rick takes pride in his energetic self-starter personality and with his strong work ethic and inter-personal skills.

By focusing on team dynamics and mission critical operational activities, Rick has successfully lead small, medium and large teams through successful project planning, execution, and completion in a wide diversity of industries.

Rick excels at leveraging strong attention to detail and strategic thinking earns the respect of a team and leads to wins for an organization


Hannah Stannard

Hannah Stannard is a software engineer at Root Insurance. Hannah graduated from Cedarville University in 2016 with a B.S. in Computer Science. To Hannah, programming is a creative medium and information technology a creative industry. Every day programmers create something from nothing. Programmers bring life to inanimate objects.  It’s a creative process. For Hannah, the hope of Stir Scholarship is to bring programming to women. The IT industry isn’t just a man’s world, it’s a world where everyone can contribute.


Cassandra Faris

Cassandra Faris is passionate about the human side of technology. She is the Community Manager at SaltStack, an open-source based DevOps and SecOps company. Her career has focused on supporting tech professionals through training, community outreach, marketing, hiring, mentoring, and employee engagement. She is an international speaker who specializes in teaching people how to communicate, be more effective team members, and advance their careers. She is President of the Stir Scholarship for women pursuing technology degrees and President Emeritus of the DogFoodCon tech conference. She has an MBA in Organizational Leadership. When she’s not busy with the tech community, she is an avid tabletop gamer, runner, and soccer fan who travels as much as possible.


Jeff Blankenburg

Jeff Blankenburg spent the early part of his career in digital advertising, building websites for a series of companies including Victoria’s Secret, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Ford Motor Company. Blankenburg then spent eight years at Microsoft, primarily experimenting with any technology he could get his hands on. Today, Blankenburg is part of the Amazon Alexa team helping developers make the voice assistant smarter. Blankenburg has been a keynote speaker at conferences all over the world, including London, Sydney and Tokyo. Blankenburg is currently an organizer for the Stir Trek conference.


Amanda Lange

Amanda is a End User Communication and Training consultant and an Adoption specialist for Mettler Toledo. Her career in the technology world started when she was an Account Manager and recruiter for an IT staffing company in 2016. Fairly quickly Amanda realized she enjoyed the tech space and began joining different communities and groups around Columbus to find her own place. She is a technology enthusiast and is constantly empowering and enabling anyone, but especially women, to jump into the tech world. Serving on the www.getwitit.org board for the last three years has been a huge passion project of hers because she is able to help women connect and grow within their networking groups and career. 

Amanda received a degree in Human Ecology from The Ohio State University with intentions of making a career of helping people in one way or another. When she finds any free time she enjoys camping, hiking and spending time with her three year old son and husband. Connection and communication are her favorite things so feel free to add her on LinkedIn!


Jen Kerns

Jennifer is the owner of JK Communications, which works with companies to create and implement marketing strategies. With more than ten years of agency experience and another eleven years of running her own firm, Jennifer has worked with a variety of clients in agriculture, residential and commercial development, healthcare, professional services, and more. Business First has recognized Jennifer with their 40 Under 40 Award and the Central Ohio BIA awarded her with their Marketing Director of the Year honor.

Jennifer received her Marketing degree from The Ohio State University and just recently joined the Stir Scholarship Board. She is also a Board member at the nonprofit Seeds of Caring. Jennifer and her three children reside in Westerville, Ohio.