Calico

The Calico Challenge is a Palisadoes program that offers stipends to student developers to write software code for various open source software projects. It allows students to publicly show the quality of their work.

Our projects are advanced. A majority of participants are enrolled in university or college Computer Science and Computer Engineering programs.


What is Open Source Software?

  • All our funding comes from donations from interested individuals and companies.
  • Employees of many sponsors are often mentors for our students
  • Students work on projects managed by the Palisadoes Foundation itself, not third parties.
  • Many Calico students get hired by our corporate sponsors

Open source software is created through the collaboration of volunteer programmers to make apps that are free for use by all. Popular open source projects include the Chrome and Firefox web browsers, the Android operating system used by 80% of all mobile phones, the freely available LibreOffice and OpenOffice alternatives to Microsoft Office, and many of the free apps available on the Apple App Store and Google Play.


Frequently Asked Questions

What is the program’s timeline?

DateActivity
2019
15 December, 2019Program announced
2020
January 14 19:00 UTC
Mentoring organizations can begin submitting applications to Palisadoes
February 5 19:00 UTC
Mentoring organization application deadline.
February 5 - February 19
Palisadoes program administrators review organization applications.
February 20 18:00 UTC
List of accepted mentoring organizations published.
February 20 - March 16
Potential students discuss project ideas with potential mentoring organizations.
March 16 18:00 UTC
Student application period opens.
March 31 18:00 UTC
Student application deadline.
April 27 18:00 UTC
Accepted student projects announced on the site.
Community Bonding PeriodStudents get to know mentors, read documentation, get up to speed to begin working on their projects.
May 18Students begin coding for their Calico projects
Work Period Mentors give students a helping hand and guidance on their projects.
June 15 18:00 UTC
Mentors and students can begin submitting Phase 1 evaluations
June 19 18:00 UTC
Phase 1 Evaluation deadline
Work Period
Students work on their project with guidance from Mentors
July 13 18:00 UTC
Mentors and students can begin submitting Phase 2 evaluations
July 17 18:00 UTC
Phase 2 Evaluation deadline
Work Period
Students continue working on their project with guidance from Mentors
August 10 - 17 18:00 UTC
Final week: Students submit their final work product and their final mentor evaluation
August 17 - 24 18:00 UTC
Mentors submit final student evaluations
25 AugustFinal results of Calico announced

What are Calico’s goals?

Calico has several goals:

  1. Create and release open source code for the benefit of all
  2. Inspire young developers to begin participating in open source development
  3. Help open source projects identify and bring in new developers and committers
  4. Provide students the opportunity to do work related to their academic pursuits
  5. Give students more exposure to real-world software development scenarios (e.g., distributed development, software licensing questions, mailing-list etiquette)

Is Calico a recruiting program?

Not really. We expect sponsors to use the results of the program to help identify potential recruits, but that’s not the focus of the program. The intention is to expose participants to the latest coding techniques and tools for the benefit of the wider software community.

We hope that participants will become more attractive to potential employers, and business partners, not just sponsors.

How many students are expected to participate each year?

We have set a target of 20 students to work with for Calico.

How does the program work?

Here are the steps:

  1. Open source projects and companies who’d like to participate in Calico should choose at least two organization administrators to represent them. These will called “mentoring organizations”, and will be expected to provide or propose mentors for students.
  2. Organization administrators will submit the mentoring organization’s proposal for participation online.
  3. Palisadoes will notify the organization administrators of acceptance.
  4. Students submit project proposals online to work with particular mentoring organizations.
  5. Mentoring organizations rank student proposals and perform any other due diligence on their potential students; student proposals are matched with a mentor.
  6. Palisadoes allocates a particular number of student slots to each organization.
  7. Mentoring organizations make their final decision on which students to accept into the program.
  8. Students are notified of acceptance.
  9. Students begin learning more about their mentoring organization and its community before coding work starts.
  10. Students begin coding work at the official start of the program, provided they’ve interacted well with their community up until the program start date.
  11. Mentors and students provide mid-term progress evaluations.
  12. Mentors provide a final evaluation of student progress at close of program; students submit a final review of their mentor and the program.
  13. Students provide links to their uploaded GitHub code and reference links to their pull requests.

When can I apply for Calico?

Please refer to the deadline mentioned in the timeline section of this page.

How do evaluations work?

There are a few simple steps we follow:

  1. Palisadoes will pre-publish the evaluation questions for both students and mentors.
  2. Mentors will fill out midterm and final evaluations for their students and submit them to the Palisadoes Foundation. These evaluations will be visible in the system to the mentor and the mentoring organization’s administrator(s).
  3. Students will fill out a midterm and final evaluation of their mentors online as well, and their evaluations will only be visible in the system to the mentoring organization’s administrator(s). Program administrators from Palisadoes will have access to all evaluation data.
  4. Any student who does not submit an evaluation by the evaluation deadline will fail that evaluation, regardless of the grade the mentor gives the student.
  5. If a student submits his or her evaluation on time but the mentor does not, then the student is in an “undecided” state until the program administrators can speak to the mentor and determine the student’s grade.
  6. Students who fail the mid-term are immediately removed from the program: it’s not possible to fail the mid-term, stay in the program, and then have a final evaluation.
  7. In almost all cases, students will never see their mentor’s evaluation of their progress, nor will a mentor see a student’s evaluation of her/his mentorship. However, in the case where the mentoring organization’s administrator and a student’s mentor are one and the same, the student’s evaluation will be viewable to the mentor/organization administrator. If you are a student in a situation where your mentor is also your organization’s administrator and you would like to discuss an issue with the program, please contact the Calico program administrators.
  8. Organization administrators are expected to review midterm and final evaluations and to provide course corrections where necessary.
  9. Many organizations may choose to speak to students about their midterm and final evaluation responses directly. We would recommend you speak to the mentoring organization directly about how they administer their evaluations.
  10. In some cases, Palisadoes’ program administrators may need to share the results of evaluations with the student and mentor, such as to arbitrate when payment should not be made. Should this need arise, all parties will be notified in advance.
  11. In the unlikely event that a mentor and organization administrator do not agree on a student’s grade for any evaluation, the decision of the organization administrator is the final one.
  12. In the also unlikely event that a student does not agree with a mentoring organization’s evaluation decision at either the midterm or the final, the student may choose to submit his/her entire project plan, timeline and code sample to Palisadoes’ program administrators. Palisadoes will choose an advising engineer who is not working with any Calico mentoring organization to review the code and arbitrate the decision. The decision of Palisadoes’ independent engineer is final.
  13. Finally, any mentor who misses a deadline for an evaluation of his/her student without notifying the program administrators beforehand will not be allowed to attend the Calico mentor summit. Any organization that misses two or more evaluation deadlines at the midterm, the final, or the midterm and the final combined, will be uninvited from the mentor summit completely. Timely evaluations of Calico students are crucial to us. Please also note that organization administrators can submit student evaluations on their mentors’ behalf, so there really is no excuse for missing an evaluation deadline.

Applying to Calico

How does a student apply?

Students can download the latest version of the application form from the Calico area of the Palisadoes website. It contains sections where they can add their proposals. The form contains details on the application process.

We expect the best proposals to be from students who took the time to interact and discuss their ideas before submitting a proposal, so make sure to check out each organization’s Ideas list to get to know a particular open source organization better. In addition to a proposal, students will be required to sign a Student Participation Agreement and submit their Proof of Enrollment forms.

What should a student proposal look like?

Your proposal should include the following:

  1. Your project proposal,
  2. Why you’d like to execute on this particular project,
  3. The reason you’re the best individual to do so.

Your proposal should also include details of your academic, industry, and/or open source development experience, and other details as you see fit. An explanation of your development methodology is a good idea, as well. It is always helpful to include contact information as well, as it will not be automatically shared with your would-be mentors as part of the proposal process.

If the organization you want to work with has a specific proposal template they would like you to use, it will be made available to you to fill in when submitting your proposal. Check the forms section of the Calico area of the Palisadoes website beforehand.

Regardless of what you include in your proposal, we recommend you speak to the mentoring organization(s) you are applying to about what they are looking for in a proposal to give you the best chance of success in your proposal.

Can a student submit more than one proposal?

Yes, each student may submit up to five proposals. However, only one proposal will be accepted. Quality is better than quantity.

Can students already working on an open source project continue to work on it as part of Calico?

Yes, as long as they meet all other requirements for program eligibility. Students should be sure to note their previous relationship with the project in their proposals. New work will need to be done for the project as part of participation in Calico.

Can students already working on an open source project continue to work on it as part of Calico?

Yes, as long as they meet all other requirements for program eligibility. Students should be sure to note their previous relationship with the project in their proposals. New work will need to be done for the project as part of participation in Calico.

Can a student work on more than one project?

No, each participant may only work on one project and is only eligible for one stipend.

What happens if two students are accepted to work on the same project, e.g. from an organization’s Ideas list?

That’s fine, a little duplication is par for the course in open source. The owner of the organization’s idea list will have the final say in which project becomes the final solution.

Are proposals for documentation work eligible for Calico?

While we greatly appreciate the value of documentation, this program is an exercise in developing code; we can’t accept proposals for documentation-only work at this time.


Students and Eligibility

Are there any age restrictions on participating?

Yes. You must be at least 18 years of age when you register to participate in Calico.

Who is eligible to participate?

  • You must be a Jamaican student residing in Jamaica for the duration of the exercise.
  • Students must also be eligible to work in the Jamaica for the duration of the exercise.
  • Palisadoes defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) high schools, colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs.
  • You should be prepared, upon registration, to provide Palisadoes with transcripts or other documentation from your accredited institution as proof of enrollment or admission status. Please see the document on Proof of Enrollment if you have questions about what form(s) we required.
  • Computer Science does not need to be your field of study in order to participate in the program.You may be enrolled as a full-time or part-time student.
  • While in the program you will not be employed by Palisadoes.

Who is eligible to participate?

  • You must be a Jamaican student residing in Jamaica for the duration of the exercise.
  • Students must also be eligible to work in the Jamaica for the duration of the exercise.
  • Palisadoes defines a student as an individual enrolled in or accepted into an accredited institution including (but not necessarily limited to) high schools, colleges, universities, masters programs, PhD programs and undergraduate programs.
  • You should be prepared, upon registration, to provide Palisadoes with transcripts or other documentation from your accredited institution as proof of enrollment or admission status. Please see the document on Proof of Enrollment if you have questions about what form(s) we required.
  • Computer Science does not need to be your field of study in order to participate in the program.You may be enrolled as a full-time or part-time student.
  • While in the program you will not be employed by Palisadoes.

Is my school acredited?

You can read more about accreditation for universities in Jamaica or you can ask yourself the following questions about your institution:

  1. Does Jamaica consider that institution to be a valid university/college/etc capable of bestowing academic awards?

AND

  1. Does that institution consider you a student to the extent that it issues you with material such as identification cards, or written letters confirming that position?

Please note that participating in online courses, even if they are with accredited universities, does not alone constitute enrollment. You must be/will be a matriculated student at the university.

Who is not eligible to participate as a student in Calico?

Palisadoes employees, interns, contractors, or family members thereof.

Who is not eligible to participate as a student in Calico?

Palisadoes employees, interns, contractors, or family members thereof.

I have been accepted into an accredited post-secondary school program, but have not yet begun attending. Can I still take part in the program?

As long as you are accepted into or enrolled in a college or university program as of the Calico enrollment date, you are eligible to participate in the program. Students will be asked by Palisadoes to provide proof of enrollment during registration.

I graduate in the middle of the program. Can I still participate?

As long as you are accepted into or enrolled in a college or university program as of the Calico enrollment date, you are eligible to participate in the program. Students will be asked by Palisadoes to provide proof of enrollment during registration.

Can students who have participated in Calico in past years apply again this year?

Yes, provided you meet all other eligibility requirements, you are welcome and encouraged to apply for this year’s instance of the program. You might also want to consider becoming a mentor instead.

I would like to participate in Calico as both a mentor and a student. Is this possible?

No. We’ve given this question a lot of thought, and we’ve decided it is best not to allow participants to act as a mentor to another Calico student while they are working on their own Calico student project.

We want to make sure that each project and student receives sufficient attention, and we’re concerned that this split in focus could create a bad experience for those involved. Please choose whether participation as a mentor or a student is more appealing to you and plan to apply accordingly.

How much time is required to participate as a student in Calico?

The amount of time you will need depends on both the scope of your project and the requirements of your mentoring organization. While your organization may offer some flexibility around milestone completion dates, you should expect your project to be your primary focus during the summer. If you have a great internship starting soon or you’re planning a month long backpacking trip, you likely won’t be a good candidate for the program.

Should students contact the mentoring organization before the program begins?

If you’re interested in contributing to a particular open source project, there’s no need to wait for Calico to start; start talking in the project’s IRC channel, subscribe to the development mailing lists, take a look through the bug tracker and submit a patch. If you see something that you think would make a particularly good project for Calico, why not suggest it to the organization?

That said, we’ll announce the list of accepted organizations on 2 March, 2017. At that point, students should definitely contact the mentoring organizations using the contact information listed on the project’s Ideas page.

Should students contact the mentoring organization before the program begins?

No, all proposals should be submitted according to the instructions on the application form to the Palisadoes Foundation. Proposals otherwise submitted will not be considered for Calico.

Should students contact the mentoring organization before the program begins?

Yes. Whether or not the project uses the produced code does not impact the student stipend, only passing evaluations do.

Is Calico considered a job or any form of employment?

No. This is an activity that the student performs as a student developer for which he/she is paid a stipend.

Can I participate in Calico and not be paid?

No. We welcome you to volunteer for your favorite open source organization whenever you like, but participating in Calico means you must accept the stipend.


Code

Who owns the code produced by student developers?

Each student (or her/his mentoring organization) must license all student Calico code under an Open Source Initiative approved license palatable to the mentoring organization. Some organizations will require students to assign copyright to them, but many will allow them to retain copyright.

What licenses do I have to choose from?

Each student (or her/his mentoring organization) must license all student Calico code under an Open Source Initiative approved license palatable to the mentoring organization. Some organizations will require students to assign copyright to them, but many will allow them to retain copyright.

What language(s) should a student program in?

Talk with your mentoring organization about this and other technical style questions. Of course, the Python people will prefer Python submissions, and so on. Students should let the mentoring organizations know in their proposals what languages they’re thinking about using.

Where does development occur?

All development occurs online; there is no requirement to travel as part of the program. Palisadoes makes no provisions for office space or travel to mentoring locations. Any such travel is undertaken outside the scope of the program.

All code development must happen in the open and all code must be made available publicly. Students may mirror development on their personal infrastructure if they wish. Students must also provide a copy of their code to Palisadoes to be publicly hosted by us.


Payments and Other Administrivia

How do payments work?

Palisadoes will provide a total stipend of 1,500 USD per accepted student developer.
The aim is that mentoring organizations will receive a contribution in future years as acceptance grows.

  1. Stipends are paid in three parts, one after each successful evaluation.
  2. First Evaluation (paid ~July 1): 30%
  3. Second Evaluation (paid ~July 29): 30%
  4. Final Evaluation (paid ~September 5): 40%
  5. Please note that Palisadoes cannot issue any payments until the proper tax-related documentation is submitted. The forms required will be provided to you and you do not need to submit them until you are asked to do so by Palisadoes. More detailed documentation on payments will be sent to you.

I would like to use the work I did for my Calico project to obtain course credit from my university. Is this acceptable?

Absolutely. If you need documentation from Palisadoes to provide to your school so you can obtain course credit, we can provide it to you. We will not provide documentation to you until we have received a positive final evaluation from your mentor.

Isn’t it unusual for open source developers to be paid?

Not really. It is a common occurrence. Some contributors run their own consultancies, others tinker for some cash on the side, others work for large companies.

That said, we do know it is tricky to introduce cash into the mix of Free and Open Source, but that is why we’re working with external organizations with years of collective experience in this kind of thing.

What documentation is required from students?

We will need the following documentation from all students:

  1. A transcript/proof of enrollment in school. A pdf or electronic file of the transcripts is acceptable.
  2. We will need the following documentation only from students accepted into the program:
  3. For students based in the United States, we will need a completed IRS form W9.
  4. For students based outside the United States, we will need a completed Foreign Certification form.
  5. Detailed instructions for obtaining and returning your tax form to Palisadoes will be sent to the private students’ mailing list. We will need to have all of this documentation on file before issuing payments to accepted students.

Forms and Projects


Application Forms

You can download the latest Calico Challenge 2020: Application Form. Contact your mentors for further details prior to applying.


Ideas Lists

Your application form will ask you to propose an idea for the project. Here is a list of ideas from previous years that have been submitted by the mentors. Feel free to use these for inspiration.


Tutorials

Many of the projects may use applications and concepts with which you are not familiar. Please check The Palisadoes Foundation YouTube channel for helpful foundation tutorials provided by each project.

ProjectDescriptionMentorDemo Site
TalawaA modular open source project to manage the member operations of religious institutions, not necessarily limited to churches.

Please visit the Talawa documentation website for more details.

David Bain (Lead)
GitHub , LinkedIn, Company Page

This project will be written from scratch. Get your ideas ready!


Talawa – YouTube Demo


Pattoo Pattoo is an API that stores timeseries data in a database and makes it available for users via a GraphQL API.

Please visit the Pattoo documentation website for more details.

Peter Harrison (Lead)
GitHub , LinkedIn


Jordan Jones (Lead)
GitHub , LinkedIn


Pattoo Website Demo


Pattoo – YouTube Primer



Other Questions

How can I volunteer to help?

We usually have two volunteers each year who provide help to us. Most of the activities are concentrated in the spring and summer months.

The responsibilities include:

  1. Follow up with students and mentors on the submission of documentation. this includes:
    1. Signing Memorandums of Understanding with students and mentors
    2. Signing of Milestones for projects
    3. Submission of mid-term and final mentor and student evaluations.
    4. Getting short biographies and photos of students finally selected for the program.
  2. Following up with the Jamaica Computer Society to verify our bank account balances and ensure students are paid on time.
  3. Occasional social media postings. (Mostly reminders for students to submit documents, posting of information about trips to sponsors)
  4. Coordinate student visits with sponsors. These need to be planned 2 to 3 months in advance.
  5. Get photos of students working and enjoying campus life while using information technology that we can use for newsletters, social media, flyers etc.
  6. Get students to signup for our mailing lists and follow us on social media.

This is a great opportunity for students to get involved and understand how an international non-profit operates. Successful volunteers are always in demand by our sponsors.