🗓Lab History.

A long history of using media, tech & science as tools for understanding, connecting & transforming how marginalized communities study + share + ultimately shape the world as we know it.


March 2014 - Tiffany Mikell & Dr. Kortney Ziegler first started working together while collaborating on Trans*H4CK Chicago. Trans*H4CK is a hackathon & speaker series founded by Ziegler in Oakland (September 2013).

At the time, Mikell was working on the founding team of Dev Bootcamp Chicago, while Ziegler was a professor at San Francisco State University.

Ziegler & Mikell's partnership & collaboration on Trans*H4CK Chicago helped foster a more inclusive tech community in the Midwest and beyond, forever.

June 2014 - Ziegler & Mikell began to explore collectively revamping the BlackStarMedia brand created by Ziegler during his time a filmmaker (1995 - 2008). Together, they created BlackStarLAUNCH, which launched a first of its kind live digital learning platform in Summer of 2014 for entrepreneurs & technologists of color.

Programming and research partners include The University of Chicago's Entrepreneur Center (CIE) & Kapor Center for Social Impact.

November 2014 - After the Chicago hackathon, Dev Bootcamp was acquired by Kaplan University and Mikell joined the Trans*H4CK team as a volunteer Technology Director. As Executive Director, Ziegler led the team to Harvard Innovation Lab -- the first collaboration of its kind for Harvard.

December 2014 - BlackStarLAUNCH pilots InclusiveDev for code schools, nationally.

The program provided educational resources designed for the overall success of students of color that ensure completion of tech bootcamps and increased placement rates for graduates.

Culturally specific tech workshops, coaching by senior technologists of color, support lunches where students can share their experiences and weekly virtual mini-conferences with speakers who are POC technologists.


March 2015 - InclusiveDev becomes a Virtual Conference Series and the Prototype of the AerialSpaces SaaS platform.

July 2015 - Trans*H4CK Partners with Laura & Marc Andreessen + The Arcus Foundation to build The LOFT -- a collection of virtual classrooms designed specifically for collaboration, sharing and building for the trans* community.

October 2015 - AerialSpaces Alpha powers a Global Conference for Women's Freedom. Uday Reddy joins the team as Lead Engineer.


April 2016 - AerialSpaces launches its first Enterprise Pilots with Github and The White House in a national initiative to deliver digital literacy training to 28,000 low-income adult learners.

June/July 2016 - AerialSpaces Pilots with University of Illinois to support ongoing Virtual Professional Development Alumni Outreach with the Medical Career Center.

Write/Speak/Code - a conference to help women & gender non-confirming software engineers develop Talk Proposals, Blog Outlines & Open-Source Code Contribution Portfolios - uses AerialSpaces for capturing, broadcasting and sharing Talks.

August 2016 - The LOFT, a Fiscally Sponsored Innovation Project, Launches with a Virtual Conference & Speaker Series (ibuild4-conf).

Over 50 transgender technologists contributed 200+ hours of live educational content; 1619 attendees from 32 states and 15 countries accessed the live content; 6 exclusive product demos of new technologies developed by transgender developers were premiered.

November 2016 - AerialSpaces SaaS is piloted by Microsoft Program Management Team who needed an alternative to YouTube -- which was banned in several countries, negatively impacting education outreach initiatives.

Pipeline Angels, a minority owned. seed investment program for first time women Angel Investors launches a successful Portfolio Showcase series via AerialSpaces allowing following on investments for female founded startups.


April 2017 - Ziegler & AerialSpaces are invited back to Harvard to give share about how Media & Broadcasting are improving Trans* Lives.

Mikell is honored by Project Entrepreneur & American Express.

June 2017 - Trans*H4CK & The Social Impact Media Lab co-produce Open House Summit with GitHub; AerialSpaces hosts/delivers keynote talk by Taiwan Digital Minister. The event brought together scholars, technologists and policy makers from across the globe to discuss the economic climate for Transgender people globally.

August 2017 - The AerialSpaces Team begins the design for 1871.LIVE, delivering over 17,000 hours of entrepreneurial and business-focused educational programming to multiple community center partners across the city of Chicago.

November 2017 - Appolition V1 Launches as a Product Demo Use Case for AerialSpaces & Social Justice Team Side Project. Our goal of 200 users in 30 days is exceeded by 1000% -- 4500 user sign-ups are captured in the first 6 weeks of activity. Over $1M in Earned Media is captured within 30 days of launch.

Q4 2017 - AerialSpaces powers Backstage Capital Headliner (Underrepresented Founder) Education series, partnering with AirBnB. AerialSpaces Raises A Pre-Seed Round, partnering with New Media Ventures and Bloomberg Beta.


Q1 2018 - Appolition crosses $100K raised on app mark; Over 10,000 user sign-ups. Social Justice/Accessibility Designer Rosa Pergams (Chicago, Detroit & Oakland) is hired as Head of UI/UX.

Q2 2018 - AerialSpaces gets a major redesign/launch; Chicago HQ Office Opens; Appolition V2 Officially Launches

September 2018 - TheMediaLab: Chicago launches a Podcast Studio & LiveStream Lab for local creative and entrepreneurial community including youth & adult media literacy programming.

November 2018 - Ahmed Eltowi (Egypt) joins the team as Appolition Lead Engineer


March 2019 - Appolition crosses $200K raised on app mark and is featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune as well as Money Magazine (TIME).

Q2 2019 - The Social Impact Media Lab Raises An Impact Fund

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