GirlGeek of the Week
I have been taking electronic devices apart
since I could reach the telephone. My mom, another GirlGeek, eventually
got a phone with a transparent case, then bought me a Commodore
64 in 3rd grade. I taught myself BASIC and wrote a program to make
a rocket take off on screen. I was obsessed with Sci-Fi even then,
and pretty much wanted Spock to have my babies-obviously, my understanding
of how things worked in the non-techno-sci-fi world took a bit longer
to develop. :-)
I was the first girl to take AP Computer Science at my high school,
and the only girl on the Computer Team. Despite my talent and interest
in math and computer science, I was told by teachers to drop AP
Calc because I happened to do poorly on the first quiz. Years later,
when I took multivariable calc in college, I not only got an A,
but I also tutored the subject while I was taking it. The ego stomping
had taken its toll on me, however, and I opted to study biochemistry
and molecular biology (like mom).
While attending Simmons College (all girls, all the time), I began
working at the MIT Center for Genome Research, a part of the Whitehead
Institute for Biomedical Research. I worked on the Human Physical
Mapping Project, and various genotyping projects during my first
year. What I thought was going to be a "lab job" turned out to be
a "computer job" and my passion for computers was reawakened. I
joined the Computer Systems Group and took over much of desktop
support and management. After nearly three years at Whitehead, I
became the Systems Administrator for the Department
of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, where I helped
design the computer system for a new lab set to open in early '00.
This year I'm working at Harvard in the Division of Engineering
and Applied Science as a Systems Administrator. I'm still putting
myself through college at the moment, planning to transfer to a
school where I can pursue my latest super-nerdy interest: Quantum
Computing. I also plan to minor in math and possibly women's studies.
I still have a hard time being one of very few women (and very very
few young, single women) in computing, but I'm absolutely determined
to fulfill my nerdy aspirations to do research in computer science.
I also plan to give presentations on Careers for Women in Computer
Science to schools in the Boston area this fall. I think that mentorship
of young women is one of the most important things a GirlGeek can
do. And it works! My little sister just blew the curve in her physics
When did you first discover your love and/or
obsession with computers and technology?
I was an unstoppable dissector of electrical/mechanical gadgets
around the house, much to my mother's chagrin. I taught myself BASIC
and thus began my lifelong love of reading technical manuals.
How do you earn a living?
My duties at Harvard range from computer systems
planning, engineering, and standardization, to Y2K and security
assessment and compliance. I do some Web design and administration
as well, and advise senior management on the future technical direction
of the Division.
Do you consider yourself a Geek?
Does Homer like donuts??
What is your favorite Web site?
At the moment, I'd have to say my friend Joe's
ejournal page http://web.mit.edu/reagle/www/goatee/.
I check it every day for chronicles of his many (mis)adventures.
Others that I hit often:
GirlGeeks. A great site, need I say more?
A self-described "running-with-scissors approach to pop-culture
Recently famous for providing BackOrifice, a Microsoft Windows 95
and 98 "remote administration tool." Long-time virtual home of my
friend Deth Veggie. Hack the planet! Oh, and Free
I have been looking to the penultimate Geek Girl, Jennifer Meyers,
for wisdom (and a convenient BugTraq security mailing list archive)
Homepage of my mother's people, Polynesians hailing from the Mariana
Mysterious. Artsy-fartsy. I love it!
What do you do when you are not working?
I frequently lift freeweights at the gym, and infrequently play
freeform noise-music with my roomies. I sculpt in fimo (especially
the glow-in-the-dark variety), and do a good deal of reading (sci-fi,
poetry, what have you). And, of course, I muck around on my Linux
box for hours on end. ;->