All projects submitted for judging must be created at Hack-a-Pipeline, and not prior to the event.

Each team will be provided 5 minute to present their end results during the demo portion of Hack-a-Pipeline event. These presentation demos are in front of the judges and the community.  

Hack-a-Pipeline demos will be judged on creativity, user experience, collaboration, pitch, and wow factor. No one of these categories will have more weight than another.

There will be a panel of four judges. Each judge will rate the team presentation of the project with a 1 through 4 for each of the categories: creativity, user experience, collaboration, pitch, and wow factor. 

The total score of each team will be tallied up and the judges will decide which team takes first, second and third prize.

The Tech Community Prize is determined by the community votes at Demo Day. 

Meet the 2019 Judges

Nadiyah Johnson


Nadiyah Johnson currently works at GE Healthcare as a Technical Product Manager in data analytics. She graduated from Marquette University with a master’s in computational science and is currently pursuing a PHD with a focus on computational science and mental health. Her research is predominantly geared toward mobile Health (mHealth). Nadiyah’s research has granted her recognition at several conferences around the globe. In 2015 Nadiyah traveled to the Ubicomp conference in Japan to present her research on an elderly balance monitoring device she developed. Her new career at GE Healthcare continues to cultivate her passion for uniting healthcare and technology. Nadiyah’s passion for diversity in STEM led her to launch her startup business- Jet Constellations. Jet Constellations is a local startup hub that functions to promote STEM education in Milwaukee, consult tech-oriented startups, and build a nurturing ecosystem of techies and entrepreneurs. As founder, Nadiyah aims to rebrand Milwaukee as “The Milky Way” – a tech hub representative of Milwaukee’s diverse population. 

Nadiyah enjoys painting and teaching computer science in her free time. She currently sells her art in pop-up shops at local art fairs. When Nadiyah isn’t painting or working in the community she is spending quality time with her family. 

Li Jacobson


Li Jacobson drives strategic vendor and financial management for Kohl’s Department Stores, where she serves as the Vice President for Kohl’s Technology Strategy & Services. Her scope and responsibilities include IT financial and portfolio management, strategic sourcing, vendor management, end-to-end contract lifecycle management, and technology communication and talent for Kohl’s.  


Jacobson works to align Kohl’s with the strategic technology partners that will drive the company forward and is responsible for key company initiatives that directly influence the bottom line. She leads large-scale negotiations with global and niche vendors while managing and supporting technology spend. Additionally, she manages the overall technology spend for Kohl’s, ensuring the optimization of the company’s technology investments. 


An accomplished and passionate leader, Jacobson has 15 years of experience in IT strategic planning and execution. Prior to joining Kohl’s leading IT strategy, she spent a decade with Northwestern Mutual, where she provided integral large program management to multi-year technology initiatives, including contract negotiations, strategic roadmapping, program delivery, and cross-functional team management.  


Jacobson has a Bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems (MIS) from the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Marquette University. 

J. Dietenberger


J. Dietenberger is an International Executive Strategic Consultant, Speaker, University Lecturer, Administrator, and Engineer in Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Internships, and Technology.  J. brings Ivy League Harvard training, extensive sector, and multi-industry expertise.  J. is a multilingual senior-level leader in Information Technology, Project Management, Corporate Competitive Strategy, and Organizational Development. 

J. Dietenberger has over 25 years experience consulting domestically and internationally with a multitude of clients with diverse backgrounds -- including Global 500, AmLaw 200, CxO/Executive Suite, as well as Startups, and Scale-ups.  In addition to serving on multiple Corporate, University, and Community boards and directorships, J. has managed projects valued up to $100 million and advised on projects upwards of $1 billion.  

Having authored with a member of the STEM Advisory team to the President at the White House, the focus of this leader is “transformational success in pursuit of the client’s objectives.”  J. is a frequent industry speaker globally and utilizes processes that are collaborative, engaging, and transformational.

Connect with and follow J. Dietenberger on LinkedIn.  At this link, you can also read his articles, request and book J. for presentations, and discuss other professional appearances.

Margarida Fernandes


After 10 years in the retail industry, Maggie decided to make a career change into tech. Based on her journey back to school and starting over in a new industry, she has become passionate about creating safe spaces for others who are looking to make the same transition.  Maggie is currently a Software Developer at MacGregor Partners. She also sits on the founding board of We Pivot and on the curriculum advisory committee for the Media and Creative Arts Program at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

My twitter handle is @MaggieCodes

Nicole McNelly


Nicole McNelly is the IT Applications Director for Agency systems at American Family Insurance. Nicole switched from insurance product management to IT 10 years ago to help lead American Family’s technology platform modernization, which included everything from policy administration and billing systems, to CRM and analytics. She’s spent her career at Amfam moving from one strategic initiative to another, helping drive the programs that allowed the company to move 82 spots up the Fortune 500 list since 2013. 

Nicole earned the coveted OneAmfam Award in 2015 for delivering what’s described as a “championship performance” for the organization. Currently, she’s leading initiatives that will revolutionize the user experience of American Family’s world class team of agents to drive exceptional customer service. 

While she loves leading delivery teams and learning about new technology, her passion is for unleashing the potential and talent of people. She’s recognized as an innovator in process and people interactions and enjoys mentoring aspiring leaders. As a woman in tech, Nicole looks to promote interest in IT and elevate women in the field. 

Shalini Badhwar


Shalini Badhwar is a Software Engineering Manager at Direct Supply. She leads product delivery teams and has a passion for developing people. 

Shalini sits on the board for STEM Forward and is committed to providing STEM opportunities to kids of all ages with a goal of inspiring a future ready STEM workforce. 

She is also on the leadership team for the Women’s Initiative Network at Direct Supply and seeks to bring awareness to topics that impact women, produce meaningful dialog, and create an environment where women feel they can thrive professionally.

Prior to joining Direct supply, 8 years ago, Shalini took time off to raise a family.  Shalini personally understands the need to be able to support women holistically through life's journey.

Shalini went to school for Electrical engineering in Indian and has worked with Schneider Electric, GE and a couple startups.