Updated May 2014

Raquel Vélez

email: [email protected]
github: rockbot
twitter: @rockbot

Technology Expertise

  • Languages: JavaScript, HTML5, CSS3, C, C++, Python, MATLAB

  • Platforms: Node.js, Wordpress

  • Databases: MongoDB, MySQL, Redis, CouchDB

Personal Projects

Conference Speaking/Teaching


  • B.S., Mechanical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, 2003-2007. (Caltech President’s Scholar, Winner of the Mabel Beckman Prize)

  • Graduate Studies, Robotics Engineering, Università degli Studi di Genova, 2009-2010. Courses in Control Theory, Computer Vision, Neural Networks, Modeling and Control of Robotic Manipulators, and Real Time Operating Systems. (Erasmus Mundus Scholarship Recipient)

Work Experience

2014 - Present, Senior Engineer, npm, Inc.

Maintain, including: Front-end development
Server-side development Deployment / operations
Contribute to multiple npm-related open source projects Assist with support
Speak at conferences

2013, Software Developer, Mobile R&D, Sauce Labs

  • Pushed the envelope in the mobile testing space

  • Contributed to the Appium open source project

2013, Front-End Engineer, Storify

  • Integrated design and layout changes in HTML5 and CSS as created by Design and Project Teams

  • Developed, tested, and deployed Storify Business featureset in Node.js with Express and MongoDB backend, incorporating APIs from Twitter, Typekit, Stripe, and others for Storify features

  • Developed and resolved bug stories/feature fixes; refactored and pushed code to staging or production as needed; assisted in weekly DevOps rotation

  • Maintained and developed the Storify Chrome Extension and story templates

  • Quickly learned existing codebase, pushed code to production environment in first week

2012 - 2013, Web Developer, Skookum Digital Works
Developed innovative web applications for a wide variety of clients (from startups to small, medium, and large businesses):
Full-stack development in Node.js Front-end: Stylus (CSS), Jade (HTML), JavaScript, jQuery, Ender, Knockout.js
Back-end: Express, Mongoose/MongoDB, Mocha, Front-end development for Wordpress and PHP sites (Stylus/CSS3, HTML5, JavaScript, jQuery, Ender)
Gave talks and wrote blog posts for community building and knowledge spreading Front-End Development in Node.js (November 2012)
No, Robots Won’t be Taking Over the World …Yet (May 2012) Google Analytics for Node.js: Writing an npm Module (September 2012)
* The Guinea Pig Speaks: Skookum’s Internship Program (April 2012)

2010 - 2012, Chief Technology Officer, Escúchame, Inc.

  • Oversaw the development, performance, and upkeep of the Escúchame Community at

  • Managed a team of in-house and overseas software developers in building the site and adding features as necessary

  • Advocated the organization, promotion, and showcasing of Latina experts, through blog posts, speaking engagements, and networking

2010, Robotics Intern, Applied Minds, Inc.

  • Refined a reactive planning algorithm for a robotic vehicle using Python

  • Developed and applied planning algorithms for simulated robotic vehicles in a video game environment using C++ and the Panda3D graphics engine

  • Transformed conceptual algorithms from research papers into an applied planning algorithm using OpenCV, Python, and C++

2009, Founder & CEO, Lightbulb Robotics

  • Consulted for a variety of non- and for-profit organizations to create customized robotics programs appropriate for the institution’s funding, support staff, and student base

  • Motivated audiences through speaking engagements covering such topics as robotics, education, diversity, and leadership

2008 - 2009, Leader/Co-founder, Robotics Outreach at MIT Lincoln Laboratory (ROLL)

  • Collaborated with other staff to establish the Lab’s first robotics outreach program, designed to stimulate youth interest in science and technology, while working as a full-time system analyst

  • Developed and coordinated an intense weekend workshop robotics series for early high school students, complete with introduction, mentoring with Lincoln Laboratory engineers, and final competition

  • Assisted in the creation of other programs, geared to students ranging from 7 to 17 years of age

2007 - 2009, System Analyst, MIT Lincoln Laboratory

  • Created models and simulations of advanced technological systems aimed at solving problems of national security; was granted a Secret level security clearance by the Department of Defense

  • Developed an organized sequence of programs to analyze raw data collected in the field for sponsors including the Department of Defense and the Department of Homeland Security (MATLAB)

2006 - 2007, Project Manager, Caltech RoboRescue Team

  • Initiated and led a new robotics team comprised of fifteen undergraduate students to compete against 30 other teams at the 2007 RoboCup Rescue International Open

  • Raised $30,000 for the team, recruited new members, held weekly meetings with sub-team leaders, and organized design and implementation reviews

2006, Intern in the Chair of Mechanics and Mechatronics, University of Duisburg-Essen

  • Programmed KUKA industrial robots to assist in biomechanical research related to determining stresses in the human arm

  • Developed algorithms for taking measurements using both C++ and the KUKA Control Panel and for analyzing the data using MATLAB’s optimization toolbox

2004, Summer Underground Research Fellow, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Machine Vision Group

  • Simulated and implemented a person-follower robotic behavior, which enabled the robot to continuously follow and maintain view of its target (MATLAB, C)

  • Wrote a proposal, several progress reports, and presented a final technical paper as part of the fellowship


  • World Economic Forum Global Shapers Charlotte Hub, Vice Chair (2011 – 2013)

  • Latin American Coalition, Board Member (2011 – 2012)

  • Hackerspace Charlotte, Board Member and Press Liaison (2011 – 2012)

Honors and Awards

  • Special Recognition for Community Outreach by the Laboratory Director, MIT Lincoln Laboratory (2009)

  • Minority Student Education Outstanding Service Award, California Institute of Technology (2007)

  • Caltech President’s Scholar, California Institute of Technology (2003 – 2007)

  • Research In Science and Engineering Award Winner, German Academic Exchange Service (2006)


  • Featured speaker at events and conferences throughout the United States, covering topics such as technology, robotics, salary negotiation, and storytelling.

  • Internationally educated at schools and universities in the US, France, Germany, and Italy. Speaks English, Spanish, French, German, and Italian.