2015 DEVCON Scholarship Award Winners


by Molly Connolly and Cris Ippolite

We are happy to announce the winners of the 2015 DevCon Scholarship! FileMaker developers Keena Tomko and Jesse Wakley were selected to attend this year’s conference in Las Vegas. For their award, each will receive a full conference pass and round-trip airfare to Las Vegas*. Please find below selections from both candidates applications essays.

Not that many years ago, Keena Tomko found herself newly widowed with a family to support.

In addition to all the emotions you would expect, I was also faced with a very practical problem: Money. I had massive medical debt and no idea what to do next.

Tomko came across FileMaker Pro almost by accident.

For over a year, I studied FileMaker on my lunch hours and commutes, squinting my way through online tutorials and videos. I organized every aspect of my life into tables and fields and had recurring nightmares about conditional value lists. Finally, through a friend, I found my first client and I launched my business (Prism Database Design) in 2014.”

Tomko’s business is doing well and she’s using her experience to inspire new developers!

“There are many other people who are in similar situations — bright and willing to work but with no clear path before them…I formed a coaching group, “Developing Women and Men” and my group is diverse: three stay-at-home moms, two people with disabilities, a couple of college students, a few people from Clay County, WV (the job market there is almost nil, but they have internet), two musicians who train and will work on the road, a good guy with a felony in his past, three college graduates stuck in low-paying jobs, and my fourteen year old (because she’s old enough to start working and she’d rather design layouts than find a babysitting gig). So, the DevCon scholarship will also benefit the careers of nineteen (and counting) other potential developers who will get every drop of knowledge I can absorb while I’m there.”

2015 DevCon Scholarship winner Jesse Wakley has worked with FileMaker for a number of years in the healthcare setting.

“I have used FileMaker whenever possible in the hospital setting, and I’ve created FileMaker solutions for physician groups as a consultant, all of which are actively in-use today. The largest database is a multi-million record solution for managing collections.”

Wakley’s commitment to ongoing learning is evident in his completion of the entire collection of FileMaker training videos available on Lynda.com Wakley has also begun working on completing the FileMaker Training Series or FTS in preparation for DevCon.

Employed by the same hospital for nearly a decade, Wakley recently learned that his position was being cut in an organizational restructure.

My goal is to replace my current employment activities with FileMaker development,” says Wakley.

“I have loved working in FileMaker from the first version I purchased – FM10. I am entering a phase in my life that makes the timing of DevCon and this scholarship of particular value to me and I’m very appreciative of the opportunities the conference experience will bring.”

Keena Tomko and Jesse Wakley were chosen from a very competitive group of essays! Please keep an eye out for Tomko and Wakley at 2015 DevCon in Las Vegas and say hello.

We would like to thank all the FileMaker developers who submitted an application to the 2015 DevCon Scholarship.

*Two full conference passes to 2015 DevCon were provided by Thorsen Consulting and iSolutions. Round-trip airfare provided by Steven Blackwell.

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