Sonali is the cofounder of a New York-based startup, Hacker School, a three-month retreat for programmers. Hacker School has gained worldwide attention for providing a hospitable, immersive, and diverse environment for learning, and its participants are currently 40% female, 15% LGBTQ, and 30% international. Over the past ten years, Sonali has worked on several hardware and software projects. Her past work includes interaction and user experience design for sites like Charlie Rose, Panasonic, and Nike. She also spent two years with OpenPlans, an open source organization, building mapping tools for the Department of Transportation of New York City and the bike advocacy network, Transportation Alternatives. Sonali was the recipient of the Art Matters grant for a wearable technology piece called “Odhni,” a garment worn by South Asian women when they go on long walks to gather water, which gathers energy through solar panels and a battery pack. She has also served on the board of directors for the South Asian Women’s Creative Collective (SAWCC), an NYC-based arts nonprofit. Sonali received her Bachelors in Fine Art from Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), followed by a Masters in Professional Studies from the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU. She is interested in designing interactions and environments that are immersive, playful, and ubiquitous and that explore the connectivity and psychology of learning.
Diverse representation is a priority for us. We're proud to say that our Summit speakers are 80% queer women, 50% women of color, 25% Black & Latinx, and 15% transgender and gender nonconforming.