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


Miquelyn Thomas

Miquelyn Thomas is an IT Consultant with HMB. As a consultant with HMB for almost five years, Miquelyn has worked with multiple companies providing services in all parts of the software development lifecycle. Before becoming a consultant with HMB, Miquelyn spent seven years as a software developer for Shared Logic LLC, where she helped to build and maintain a business software application for the steeling industry. Though the gender gap in technology is huge, for Miquelyn, it’s important to let this generation of young women know that when they say “A woman can do anything”, it does not mean a woman can do anything but code.

Hannah Stannard

Hannah Stannard is a computer programmer with HMB. Hannah received a Bachelor’s Degree of Science with a specialization in computer science in 2016. 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. Her career has focused on supporting tech professionals through training, community outreach, 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 also President of the Stir Scholarship for high school girls pursuing technology careers 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.