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Next Generation
Name: Nell
Age: 12
Interests: Web designing, filmmaking, illustration, hip hop dance, writing, acting, comedy, tons of TV shows and movies: Basically anything to do with the arts and/or Sam Raimi, westerns, Xena, whatever fandom is currently holding my interest.

Nell is the founder of a successful design firm called Valerik Multimedia, though you can't tell by her age.

Nell is 12 years old and can't remember when she did not use computers. The daughter of longtime multimedia developers, Nell began designing Websites two years ago using MS Publisher, which she says is a "somewhat limited creation tool." She broke the limitations of Publisher by learning HTML and immediately created more sophisticated designs by hand. At the tender age of 12 she has created hundreds of HTML pages.

What's the most exciting thing you have done?
I explored the winding stairway up a turret in a French Chateau with my dad. It was like an adventure out of a novel, Nancy Drew or something, we had no idea what to expect. It was scary but thrilling.

When did you discover your interest in science/technology?
I've been an artist since I could pick up a crayon but I first discovered the wonders of computers probably when I was in kindergarten, when my dad taught me how to use e-mail.

How long do you want to continue your current career/ tech activities?
My company Valerik Multimedia is a sort of short-term thing, for the next couple years or so. Anyway, computers as we know them probably won't exist when I'm an adult, although I'll always be interested in digital art. For my long-term career I'm interested in filmmaking/acting and illustration.

What's it like to have this career/tech activity at your age?
Very interesting. I have to answer to a lot of questions about my career that most people don't. But in my day-to-day life I find it really quite normal. Although sometimes being a Girl Geek is alienating, like the time at a Wondercon comic book convention discussion panel where I was the only person who wasn't a gargantuan, middle aged lumbering nerd who is laughing uproariously to a reference made to page 21 of Dark Knight issue #274, volume 1. Luckily I'm confident enough about my interests not to be intimidated or discouraged by that, in fact quite the contrary, I was rather amused!

What do you like about what you do?
Non-stop creativity. I get to make lots of art in various forms and I feel it has made me a happier person and given me an interesting edge.

What's your advice to other girls?
Don't assume that your age is a boundary to what you can do. Don't say , "when I grow up I wanna [insert grownup job or accomplishment]." Try and do it now!


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