Highlighting a Woman in Tech: Laura Pasquini

by Kristen Abell

I’m not sure there’s many questions I need to answer about why I chose Laura Pasquini for one of our “highlight a woman” posts except one: What took you so long?

Laura has long been an inspiration to me and other women when it comes to technology in higher ed. Because I don’t think I could do her the justice she deserves in this blog post, I asked her to answer a few questions for our readers to give a better idea of why she is so amazing. First, a little background…

Laura A. Pasquini is a doctoral student in Applied Technology and Performance Improvement, Department of Learning Technologies, at the University of North Texas.  She is also an Academic Counselor and Instructor with the Office for Exploring Majors, Undergraduate Studies at the University of North Texas.  Laura holds an M.S. Ed in Elementary Teacher Education from Niagara University, NY, and an honors B.A. in History. Her professional experience in higher education include academic advising, tutoring services, supplemental instruction, career advising, campus activities, first year experience curriculum, orientation programs and housing/residence life. Laura’s research and consulting interests include the effects of emerging technology with regards to collaborative learning environments and shared learning networks for education, training, and professional development.

In response to a prompt we had previously posted, Laura had this to say about her introduction to technology:

I think that my prolegomenon to technology was definitely the Commodore 64. I was introduced to this machine at a young age, thanks to my father.

(And can I just say, I am wicked impressed with her use of “prolegomenon” – a word I now need to find a way to work into my regular conversations I think.)

What do you think about the role of women in technology today?

I am proud to be part of the growing population of ladies who work and support technology. There are a number of #edtech and #satech women who have been contributing to their field for years – with resources, blog posts, podcasts, tweets, training workshops, resources, and ideas. I give credit to a number of women in technology who have blazed the trail before me. Technology is such a vast field – I am honored to know and collaborate with a number of women who research new media, write code, design graphics & games, teach in the field, and MORE! Many women are playing well in the technology sandbox, and I only think that will thrive as technology competencies are in demand for the field of K-12 and higher education.

Laura shared how she connected with other #womentech in a video for blogger Jess Faulk’s presentation on this topic previously:

Do you have plans for future pursuits in technology?

During the last three years, I have been grinding out my doctoral course work, teaching classes, and working as an academic counselor — so it wasn’t until recently that I have had to ponder this question. I know that I will continue to research technology in learning, training, and professional development, and most likely apply technology to whatever field or area I end up in after my degree is complete. I have been fortunate to work with a number of professional associations to use technology for various reasons, including mentoring, collaborative working groups, sustainable leadership and transition, professional association partnerships, and learning initiatives. I have worked in higher education for just over 10 years, so I am now pondering my future path towards a tenured faculty position, hybrid instructional designing/faculty/professional position, consultant, or a combination of all of the above with technology. Should you want to read more about what I’ve been up to at UNT (and then some), you can check out my ATPI Doctoral Portfolio that recently qualified me to be a PhD candidate. Otherwise  I will probably share my professional plans and where technology takes me next via my blog as I ponder this while trucking through my dissertation and other fun other projects on and off campus.

Here is Laura talking about how she explores new technology:

And because this is me, I had to ask one question for fun:

What is your favorite “geek chic” item/accessory?

If I had to look up geek chic in urban dictionary, then I doubt I have any items of said nature. I do have a Batman ring & I will sport an ink mustache on me before 2012 is out – but I think I’m nerdy in different ways.

Connect and share with Laura at http://about.me/laurapasquini.

Do you know a woman in tech that you’d like to see us highlight? Let us know by emailing sawomentalktech@gmail.com!

Highlighting a Woman in Tech: Laura Pasquini

Linkage Love: The Power of Sheroes

By Brenda Bethman

One of the best things about my job is that it brings me in touch with a variety of incredible people. One of them is Gloria Feldt, amazing feminist and former president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. I am lucky enough to be in the middle of talking to Gloria about the possibility of a visit to UMKC to talk about “The Power of Sheroes,” which meant a phone call on Tuesday morning to discuss details. After our phone call, I was motivated to post this as my Facebook status:

Image 12-19-12 at 8.03 PM


This week’s Linkage Love is dedicated to sharing the names of some of the folks I listed as my mentors, role models, and sheroes with links to their websites, blogs, etc. I wish I could include all of them, but I am fortunate enough to know too many inspiring women and men to be able to list them all here. So, here is an abbreviated list:

  • Kristen Abell. Because she’s my work BFF (it’s true — she said so) and because she’s fierce, funny, and honest. UMKC would not be the same without her and I’m lucky to call her a friend.
  • The Staff, Advisory Board, and Constituents of the UMKC Women’s Center. For making my job fun and meaningful.
  • Courtney MartinFor being an amazing feminist, for the inspiration she brings, and for making everyone around her want to be better people.
  • Kassie Stallings Sands. Because her blog makes me laugh and think. Many, many thanks to Kristen for introducing us.
  • Casey and Sloane Simmons. For being the most generous, giving people I know (and that is really saying something given some of the people I know). The good they do for Kansas City is unmatched.
  • Barclay MartinFor the reasons Chris Dahlquist lists. And for being an awesome scheming partner.
  • My #femlead ColleaguesFor teaching me something new every two weeks.
  • Rosemary FealFor making the MLA fun (no small feat!).
  • Anitra. Because she is awesome in all ways. She is also fiercely private, so I will go with one name and no links.
  • Shaun LongstreetFor being a fabulous friend, super smart, and the best business partner a girl could ask for.
  • Deb Schmidt-RogersFor being a friend and showing us that it’s okay to be vulnerable and how to build community.
  • The Snow GlobesFor making beautiful Christmas music and doing good at the same time.
  • Liana Silva-Ford. For being a great friend and inspiration. Our talks always leave me feeling better.
  • The SAWTT BloggersFor being better than Kristen and I ever imagined when we started this project.


There are so many, many more folks I could list, including friends, family, colleagues past and present, former faculty, and current and former students, but there is just not enough time to list them all. I am truly lucky to have this network of support to draw on. Who are your mentors/role models/sheroes?

Linkage Love: The Power of Sheroes

Best Practices: Hosting a Twitter Chat

By Brenda Bethman

For this installment on best practices, I wanted to write about my experience helping to set up a Twitter chat. The #femlead chat (held every other Tuesday at 2 p.m. EST / 1 p.m. CST) is a  project of the University of Venus (as well as other contributors who write for us, ProfHacker, and/or other places). We held our first chat in February 2012, so we’ve been going strong for almost a year (which is hard to believe, I have to say!). Here’s what we’ve done that I think has helped us keep the momentum going:

  • Filled a need: The mission of #femlead states, in part, that “#femlead is for those who lead, those with vision, those who seek to support one another in the challenges and opportunities facing us in all areas of academic life (faculty, staff, administrators).” We are female-centered, but welcome all voices to the conversation. There was no similar chat on Twitter before we started, but there was definitely a need as has been evidenced by enthusiastic response, including this blogpost from Liz Gloyn, in which she describes #femlead as a type of “informal mentoring.”
  • Recruited widely for facilitators: In an attempt to involve as many people as possible, we have recruited widely for chat hosts — and each facilitator hosts the chat from her/his own account. This has allowed us to include many voices and also gives the facilitators more exposure — exposure they wouldn’t get if we hosted the chat from a generic femlead Twitter account.
  • Archive: After each chat, we post an archive on Storify, which allows folks who missed a chat or who just want to review shared links/advice to access the chat after it’s over.
  • Keep it short: #femlead is a 30-minute Twitter chat. When setting it up, we debated whether to go with 30 or 60 minutes and decided to try 30 in case no one showed up. Well, folks did show up, but we’ve left it at 30 as we’ve found that, while, it goes by quickly, it allows us to focus in a way that an hour might not. It also seems to encourage participation and interaction between chat participants as it’s easier to find 30 free minutes in a day.

The other reasons for our success, I think, are the wide variety of topics we’ve covered (there really is something for everyone) and  community-building through the use of the hashtag during our off weeks. And, of course, my fabulous collaborators, Mary Churchill and Janine Utell, not to mention the participants. If you haven’t yet joined us, mark your calendars for Dec. 18, 2 pm EST / 1 pm CST  when Natalie Houston will facilitate a chat on how to get the most from your winter break.

Best Practices: Hosting a Twitter Chat

Creating a Culture of Kindness

By Kathryn Magura

Two weeks ago, I went to my car after a long day at work and discovered that the person who parked next to me was so far over the line that I couldn’t even open my door to get in. As I stood there and pondered what to do, my “pet peeve” internal alarm for other drivers and their lack of regard for anyone else was sounding. How friggin’ hard is it to pull out and re-park? Thankfully I am able-bodied enough to find alternative routes into my driver’s seat, but what if I wasn’t? Would the other driver even care?

Over the summer, I dealt with a roommate issue that was so terrible, one of the students earned a trip to meet with our Director of Student Conduct as soon as she came to campus. In my conversations with her, she seemed genuinely confused as to what she had done that was so terrible. As I tried in vain to explain that there are consequences for words and actions, it became clear that this was the first time she had ever been held responsible for her actions. That’s certainly a tough lesson to learn for the first time at 18.

This past Tuesday, I checked Twitter in the afternoon and saw that there was a shooting in a local mall. This mall is very close to my brother’s house, so I immediately checked in on my family. Thankfully, they were all away from the mall, but this was way too close to home. People were shot in cold blood while they ate at the food court. Why would someone do this? What pushes someone to the point that killing strangers is the only solution to their problem?

Then on Friday, a man forced his way into an elementary school in Connecticut and viciously murdered 20 children and 6 adults. The brutality and senseless nature of this act are so deplorable, we are left with more unanswered questions as to why someone would do this than we know what to do with. The fact that this happened so close to the holidays adds a layer of sadness that is unbearable. 20 young lives cut far too short, and 6 adults who tried to shield them from terror will never know how they were heroes that day. Why did this happen? How could this happen?

What connects all these acts? While I’m not trying to compare the level of severity between them, I am trying to make a connection to how I see our society as a whole. I believe we have created a society wherein it is too easy to not have to care about other people. If actions have no consequences, why does it matter what we do? If we are able to hide behind a persona we create for ourselves (whether it’s online, shut off from others, or covering up our true selves), then we don’t have to be personally accountable for our own actions, right?

Wrong. I want to see us create a culture where we genuinely give a damn about each other. I want us to think through how our actions may impact others. As much as we are all feeling this great loss for the lost futures that will never be realized in Connecticut, I want us to not let these deaths come in vain.

So what can we do? I challenge us all to perform acts of kindness for each other. Do something small like let someone merge in front of your car when they are trying to turn against traffic, or something bigger like buy the groceries for the person behind you in line at the grocery store. Take some time to help an elderly person get their groceries to their car, or volunteer at your local retirement home. Do something. Do anything to prove that we are better than this.

I know in this time of senseless tragedy it is easy to get lost in hopelessness. So consider this my challenge to us all to get out there and create a culture of kindness and caring for each other. Who’s with me?

Creating a Culture of Kindness

Link me up, Scotty!

by Valerie Heruska

Clicky clicky, have I got some awesome links for you all to check out this week. My mind has been all over the place: writing papers, continuing the journey on finding my graphic design mojo, and gearing up for the holiday season. Here are some of my favorite links of the week:

Adobe Creative Cloud

If you love Adobe products and have the outdated versions on your computer, you should probably look into joining the Adobe creative cloud. The Adobe Creative Cloud allows you to gain access to all of Adobe’s wonderful products and play. Of course, this is costly, but if you have a “.edu” email address, this can be yours for $20.00 a month.

Adobe Blog

I was on the search on how to use said creative cloud products. Alas, Adobe also has a blog. Their blog features tips and tricks on using all of their programs. Pretty spiffy.

Scott Kelby’s Blog

Scott Kelby is the master of Photoshop. Seriously, he teaches seminars, is a Photoshop power user, and, according to his biography, sleeps little. Scott’s blog is Photoshop specific and offers some great tips for using the program. He also tells you what tools are great to use and has some giveaways every now and then.

12 Days of Cookies

Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies. Every day for the past 3 years, Food Network delivered fabulous cookie/bar/dessert recipes to my email. Swoon.

Teh Cuteness

The very awesome people at Syracuse University know what students want: puppies, kittens, and cute baby animals. And when do they want it? During finals time of course! Syracuse University created this Pinterest board of cute animals and shared it with their students. I sent it to my student staff and they absolutely loved it.

Link me up, Scotty!

Financially Fierce for 2013

by Jess Faulk

Aged jessfaulkI have a few things I get on a soapbox about with friends and co-workers.  As you imagine, many of those things fall under my geek pursuits, like fonts, apple products, etc.  Another one of the things I really get excited to talk to folks about is retirement savings.  I suppose that falls into a geek category in a whole other way.  I get excited to talk about retirement savings because I have read enough to know how much time really is so very important in the whole equation, and I think younger professionals don’t hear enough about retirement savings to really value getting a head start.

Young student affairs professionals in particular may not be thinking forward to retirement because they are not always earning a significant amount of money in their first or second job out of school.  However, it is in these positions, particularly live-on positions, that new grads have so much savings power.  Putting away as much money as you can while you are not paying rent will do so much more for you in the long run than waiting until you are in a higher paying position years later – even if you begin putting more away for retirement.  It’s all about compound interest!  A 35 year old who just begins investing will never catch up to her 25-year-old self, even contributing twice as much (see example below).  The decision is clear – if you aren’t already contributing to your retirement savings – make a plan to do so as soon as possible.  Also, if your institution offers matching and you aren’t signed up for the match, you are literally passing up on free money.

Compound Interest

Full example from Russell.com

Whether you have been putting off thinking about retirement savings, or have savings on your horizon for a 2013 resolution, you can check out the sites below for more information and guidance on how to get started!

OEDB30 Best Blogs for Recent Grads Saddled With Debt

A list of blogs covering managing your finances, dealing with student loan debt, and giving you inspiration to meet your financial goals.


Money under 30

Money under 30

Personal finance blog featuring money tips on budgeting, saving, credit, investing, and getting out of debt in your twenties.




Budgeting tool, resources and a free fun daily newsletter to help women better understand their finances.  I met the woman who started this website while at an internet week conference in New York City a few years ago.  I like their mission and beautiful layout.



Compare credit card, savings and CD rates. Access to dozens of calculators from debt management to retirement.



Face Retirement


Not yet inspired to save? Visit Merrill Edge’s Face Retirement App to get you thinking more seriously about what retirement might LOOK like for you.  Take a snapshot of  you today and see what you will look like 20, 30, or 40 years away.  My own photo (top) certainly was a surprise!

Financially Fierce for 2013

Blurring the Line

by Kristen Abell

Last week I presented to a group of student affairs professionals on the topic of using technology for professional development. At the end of my presentation, I asked them to discuss in their groups three questions, but only one seemed to garner much discussion – and boy did it. This was the question of how one presents oneself online – when you are communicating with friends and family, students and colleagues, how do you define your boundaries? We came up with one definitive answer: It depends.

I wish there was an easy answer to this question – if for no other reason than it would make my presentations easier. All I can tell you, though, is that the boundary is different for different people. When I originally started blogging and Facebooking, I kept the two completely separate. I didn’t necessarily want folks on Facebook to see the bluntly honest me that I was on my blog. And then along came Twitter – what a great way to promote my blog! Until my friends and family that were on Facebook started joining Twitter. And then it all got to be a big muddled mess.

At some point, I had to come to terms with the fact that having different online personas was only going to give me multiple identity disorder and boil them all back down to one person. And that person is maybe just slightly more open than I am face to face (depending on the face), but it’s all the same person. I know it would be nice if I could describe my boundaries a little more concretely, but that’s just it – they’re my boundaries – they’re most likely different for everyone else.

But lest you think I have no advice to offer, pay heed – here are a few rules I’ve found helpful in establishing both my own online presence and in guiding others:

1. Do no harm – this is the main tenet by which I try to guide myself on my blog and elsewhere. There’s just no point to insulting or hurting others online or otherwise. Just don’t do it. Please.

2. Don’t put something online unless you’re comfortable with your grandparents, parents, siblings, and children seeing it at some point. The interwebs are practically forever, people. I’m pretty sure your kids don’t want to read about your nasty divorce, nor do they need to – please save it for your bestest friends and a glass of wine.

3. Do not keep separate accounts for different personas – most of the time, this is illegal anyways according to site terms (specifically on Facebook), but it’s also just a poor use of social media. The beauty of social media is that it allows us to form deeper relationships with people we don’t see face to face as often. How is someone going to form a deeper relationship with just Work Kristen? And how is my work not a part of Personal Kristen? These are both the same person, and as I said above, keeping them the same will help you avoid a multiple identity crisis.

4. Figure out your boundaries early and stick to them. The earlier and more firm you can do this, the easier it will be to share online.

What rules do you have for setting boundaries and developing your online persona?

Blurring the Line