Grace Hopper – “Queen of Code”

by Kristen Abell

If you follow this blog and don’t know the name “Grace Hopper,” I hope to amend that in this blog post. Grace Hopper was a programmer during World War II and essentially created COBOL – the basis for computer code. But that’s just a brief bio. Recently FiveThirtyEight featured a short film about her on their Signals series that is well worth a watch: Queen of Code. It’s about seventeen minutes long, and you should definitely take the time to find out more about her. As far as women in tech go, she’s one of the more amazing ones.

I also appreciate that this film was directed by a woman – Gillian Jacobs from the television show “Community.” How can you not love it now?

Let us know – who are your favorite women in technology?

Grace Hopper – “Queen of Code”

Reflections from #LeadOnCA

by Rachel Luna

This week, I had the privilege of attending the inaugural Lead On: Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women with 5,000 mostly female folks who gathered at the intersection of technology, leadership, and gender.  I attended this event as a volunteer resume reviewer and was also able to participate in the general sessions.  I’ll admit it was odd for me to be in a space so focused on gender as this is an aspect of my identity I don’t often have the opportunity to explore with as much depth and concentration.  Here are some of my takeaways:

Conversations I appreciated

Leadership as a ‘lady thing’

“We’re going to talk about lady things, like leadership and taking over the world in 2016,” said Kara Swisher as she kicked off the opening session.  The conference theme was “Lead On” and this sentiment was palpable in everything from the hashtag (#LeadOnCA), to the background music (“I’m every woman” and “You’re gonna hear me roar”).  Of course, the main draw for the conference was the keynote lineup, which included Hillary Clinton, Jill Abramson, Dr. Brene Brown, Candy Chang, Kara Swisher, and Diane von Furstenberg.  Their stories are remarkable not just because they are women but also because they are leaders.

Opportunities and encouragement to be change agents

Top: My colleague Kathryn Ward writes on the "Before I Die" wall.  Bottom: I contribute my goals to the community art installation at #LeadOnCA.
Top: My colleague Kathryn Ward writes on the “Before I Die” wall. Bottom: I contribute my goals to the community art installation at #LeadOnCA.

It wasn’t all talk at this event; leadership was in action in a variety of ways.  For example, conference participants shared goals and contributed to their own “Before I Die” wall, inspired by Candy Chang’s work.  The exhibit hall, which at most conferences is all about commercialism, featured a couple community engagement efforts, namely partnerships with Family Giving Tree (where attendees stuffed 500 backpacks with school supplies and encouraging notes for children in need) and Dress for Success San Jose (which collected donations of handbags and jewelry).  “What you do doesn’t have to be big and dramatic,” said Hillary Clinton, encouraging participants to make change.  “You don’t have to run for office,” she said with a figurative wink and nod but no official announcement about her intentions.

Conversations I wanted more of

I’ll admit I spent most of the day fulfilling my volunteer duties in the Career Pavilion, meaning I only saw the keynote addresses and attended one workshop.  So conversations like these could have happened in other spaces, but I found them glaringly lacking from the general conference dialogue and social media backchannel.

Breaking out of the gender binary

Everywhere I turned, there were examples of dualistic gender thinking.  In general sessions, female attendees were celebrated while male allies were thanked for their presence.  Every statistic was presented with just two options (ex: 70% of Google’s workforce is men and 30% women).  An announcement that some of the men’s restrooms had been converted to women’s facilities elicited a big cheer from the audience, and I couldn’t help but think why some couldn’t have been converted to all-gender spaces.  The result of these binary practices: our nonconforming community members were unacknowledged and rendered invisible.

Gender + any other aspect of diversity

I know this was a “conference for women” so it is expected we’d talk a lot about gender, but could we please acknowledge some other aspects of our identities?  While listening to the main stage speakers, I noted less than a handful of comments that directly addressed aspects of diversity other than gender.  And of those comments, most came from women of color.  By not addressing intersectionality, the female experience was painted with the same (white, middle class, well-educated) brush.  “Leaning in” and trying hard were touted as the keys to happiness and success while dynamics of privilege and power were unexamined.

Random things that got me thinking

TableTopics

  • The items in my participant swag bag included two office supplies and four body/cosmetic products, including one item for children (sunscreen). I wonder how these giveaways were determined and what conversations happened around those decisions.
  • A Nursing Mother’s Room was available for attendees.  Although I did not utilize this space, I tracked it as one of the event’s inclusion efforts and was glad to share its location with the woman who was balancing her pumping equipment and bottles on the edge of the bathroom sink.
  • An emphasis on making connections was built into conference process and content.  Intentional spaces for informal conversations were available in the exhibit hall and general session area, Twitter handles for all speakers were included in all conference materials, and almost every major speaker described women supporting women as essential to success.  In these ways, networking was framed with a relational perspective as opposed to a transactional one.
  • All the resume reviewers were volunteers from local colleges and universities.  It was nice to see higher education professionals recognized and sought out for their expertise in career support and guidance, especially in the business-driven environment of Silicon Valley.  I even consulted with someone who currently works in corporate HR and said she brought her resume because she valued the advice of career services professionals.
  • One last thing: shoutout to Kathryn Ward who also represented Samuel Merritt University as a resume reviewer and drove us both around the Bay Area that day!

Have you attended a conference like this?  What were your takeaways?  What would you like to see at a “conference for women”?

Reflections from #LeadOnCA

Adventures in Podcasting

By Valerie Heruska

I feel a little weird writing about podcasting, but I think that is something that I am just going to have to get over and move on with.

I’ve embarked on a new adventure: Podcasting. Blogging will always be near and dear to my heart, but podcasting allows for me to engage in another form where one can actually hear my voice and sassiness…. and my bad jokes, although I think they’re hilarious.

The idea came about to co-host a weekly podcast after some texts back and forth with a friend. We decided to call it “Professional Reputations Aside” because although we are both professionals in student affairs, we wanted to show case our thoughts on the field and other things that have nothing to do with student affairs. Basically, it’s a hodge podge of ridiculousness, but there’s something for everyone to enjoy. I think we have 5  dedicated listeners.

With that, if you ever decide you want to podcast, here’s a simple way of how to get started:

1. If you’re using a Mac Book Pro (or any Mac product), using Quicktime would be your best bet. All you need to do is to open a new audio recording and hit that big red button and you’re on your way to making media history.

2.  If you’re co-hosting… use headphones.

3. Check your audio input and output levels. If your input level is too low, you sound like you’re underwater. Same goes for your co-host or any special guest you have on your show.

4. Once you’re done, you want to export your recording into Mp4/Mp3 format.

5. Edit, Edit, Edit. You never know when you might have said something shady or inappropriate. I’m sure I have…and I’m sure my co-host did not edit them out. Macbooks come with some great editing tools. I have no clue about PCs (sorry folks)

6.  You’re going to need someone to host your podcast. If you have your own website where you can host, feel free to use that. If you don’t there are services that will host a podcast for you. I did a quick Google search and Libsyn seems to be the most popular.

7. Tell people you’re podcasting. I would love to hear what you have to say. In fact I prefer to listen to podcasts over music when I run.

If you have a podcast or any audio recording tips, please share them with us!

Adventures in Podcasting

Highlight A Woman: Stacy Oliver-Sikorski

By Kathryn Magura

Hello everyone! Today I have the pleasure of highlighting a woman who has not only been a pioneer of advocacy for women in Student Affairs, she is also a good friend of mine. Stacy Oliver-Sikorski has been a mainstay in the Student Affairs community on Twitter. Surprisingly, Stacy has never been featured in this series, so consider that glitch fixed!

  1. Tell us a little about yourself, and how you use technology in your professional role? I currently serve as the Associate Director of Residence Life for Student Success at Lake Forest College, a small, private liberal arts college 30 miles north of Chicago. In my role, I work primarily with housing operations — including room assignment processes , academic programming, and student conduct. Technology is imperative in my role. If our office is a bus, my role is serving as the computer in the engine. I work intently with our student information system, our conduct software, and we recently started the implementation of a housing software solution to assist with assignments and operations.
  2. What advice do you have for women looking to get into a career path of leadership in technology? Very simply, you can’t break it. People, especially women, are intimidated by technology and afraid of breaking something. I jump in, feet first, and start testing the limits of our solutions. I ask questions when I don’t see a function that would be helpful for me. I try new things. I always have a test student in each of our systems so I can run through a series of processes before launching something more widely. I meet regularly with Tonja, my colleague in IT, to talk through what I have going on in my world and what ideas she has for helping. I regularly ask her to teach me things so I can do them for myself, rather than letting her do them for me semester after semester.
  3. SLOWhen you were younger, did you ever see yourself pursuing a career in technology? Absolutely not. I’ve always been a nerd, but in different ways. This position is the first place that all of these separate interests have collided into something that finally makes sense for me.
  4. When you were younger, did you ever see yourself pursuing a career in technology? Absolutely not. I’ve always been a nerd, but in different ways. This position is the first place that all of these separate interests have collided into something that finally makes sense for me.
  5. What are some barriers for women in technology? Women are afraid to ask questions, afraid to look stupid in front of others.  But it’s through asking those questions that we learn. Women are also not always given access to technology in the way men are, even from the time they are young. Open doors for yourself, tear down walls. Even if you don’t have the solutions, asking the right questions is a perfectly valid reason to claim your seat at the technology table.
  6. Who are your female role models (student affairs or otherwise)? Oh, you don’t have time for this list. Deb Schmidt-Rogers at DePaul University is who I aspire to be; Anne Lombard at SUNY-ESF is my cherished mentor of 11 years; Kristen Abell at UMKC is someone whose courage and passion is awe inducing; Kathy Collins at Michigan State University is a force in this field and in my life.
  7. If you were one of the seven dwarves, which would you be and why? Sneezy. I’m allergic to EVERYTHING. I sneeze twice every morning while eating a banana, and I have no idea why (neither does my allergist). 🙂

 

Thank you for sharing your story, Stacy!

Highlight A Woman: Stacy Oliver-Sikorski

Highlight a Woman – Jenny Muschinske

by Lauren Creamer

Jenny Muschinske is one-of-a-kind. She knows what she wants, goes for it, and doesn’t stop until she gets it. She is bold. She is funny and quick to laughter. She puts forth quality work in all aspects of her life. Jenny is one lady I would not mess with.

Jenny graduated from Northeastern University this past May. Like the rest of her cohort-mates, her goal was to have secured a job by the end of the summer. She cast a wide net, as she was set on staying in Boston. Much of her experience lay in student activities and late-night programming, so her aim was to be doing something along those lines. She loves to work directly with students and appreciates the personal interaction that is required when directing and event on the ground. When she wasn’t advising students or doing physical labor herself, she was promoting events through social media – not uncommon for student activities folks. The majority of her experience utilizing technology was focused on developing a following for her events and programs on social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

As the summer wandered to an end, Jenny began to apply to jobs increasingly outside of her comfort zone. She was open to trying something new (and really wanted a job… we all did). So, she applied to an administrative assistant position… and was surprised to find she got a call for a completely different job. A few weeks later, Jenny began her position as Assistant Director of the Student Activities Business Office at Northeastern University. (Some stroke of luck, right?!). Jenny wanted to stay in Boston and she got exactly that. (I told you she gets what she wants).

Having spent some years in the field before graduate school, Jenny felt like she was ready to take on this new position. Her job focused changed from heavy student interaction to spending most of her time in front of a computer. When I asked Jenny how she was coping with the increased use of technology (specifically, outside of her wheel house), this was her response:

“It’s a big adjustment going from a role where I was face-to-face interacting with students 90% of the day, to one where much of my interaction happens online.”

Part of Jenny’s role is to approve program funding for Residential Life programs through the still-developing eRezLife software. Instead of spending time brainstorming around a table and submitting paper forms, Resident Assistants are required to plan and track all of their programming efforts in this system.

“I think there are pros and cons to the increased accessibility of doing programming online now.” Jenny says, ” it’s convenient for the students and it helps me to manage my day [instead of running meeting to meeting], but it takes away from the brainstorming that happens when students and staff meet face-to-face to talk about campus programming.”

I asked Jenny how she would like to see eRezLife evolve to encourage more collaboration and she shared the following:

“It’s hard to say so early on, but I’d love to see a message board of some sort where RAs can share successes and challenges. I see so many students submitting proposals for programs that weren’t successful in the past – it would be great to see them sharing these things with each other in the very program they are utilizing.”

And for now? Jenny will keep learning the ropes in her new role and maybe, one day, will get to implement some of the changes she’d love to see.

Highlight a Woman – Jenny Muschinske

Linkage Love: Productivity Jump Start

by Jess Faulk

This coming Monday I will be teaching a session at the Boston Nonprofit Center on Productivity #Techtips for the organization Socializing for Justice (My 2012 SAWTT blog post on last year’s presentation).  When I began thinking about teaching folks about the technology they can use to be more productive, I also started to reflect more on the behaviors we need to take on to be more productive.  I believe you need both to truly find success.  So this week’s linkage love is pointing you in the direction of some fabulous women’s blogs talking about productivity.

How to Be More Productive and Accomplish the Big Things That Really Matter

Alex Grant entrepreneurial writer and digital strategist, writes in her blog, “The secret to creating the life you want: Be proactive, not reactive.”  She writes about how important it is to be make priorities, and make peace with the fact that you can’t do it all.  I was particularly impressed that she actually had a “tweet this” link in her blog to share the idea.  What a cool idea!

How to Maximize Your Productivity in the Morning

Jessica Lawlor, Public Relations and Social Media Professional tells us about how she gets a great start to the day by waking up early and making most of her morning.  While I fear I will never be a morning person, I do like her ideas on planning ahead and being focused on what you want to accomplish.

Linkage Love: Productivity Jump Start

Highlight a Woman: SA Women Talk Tech

by Kristen Abell

I know that I’ve highlighted our bloggers before, but I think they deserve more than one post – they’re that amazing. This blog was started just over two years ago, and during that time, we have gotten to work with some fabulous women in tech. These bloggers have written 421 posts (or roughly 15 posts a month) over a variety of topics – both tech-related and student affairs. They’ve presented and done podcasts. They’ve created infographics and tweeted. They are, in short, outstanding representations of women in student affairs and technology. But enough about “they” – just exactly who are these fabulous women?

Colleen – Colleen has been with us since the beginning, and she has been an incredibly active blogger for us. Her experience with new motherhood has given her some additional insight into using technology as a mom, but she’s also big into fitness apps and tech tools.

Jennifer – Jennifer has long been into technology, and she has her own blog where she promotes “Tech Lady Tuesdays.” I was fortunate enough to meet Jennifer F2F at #NASPATech two years ago, where we presented on the state of women in technology.

Anitra – Anitra is our blogger who is always bringing social justice and technology together – she’s pretty awesome like that. Also, she is a fellow Buffy fan, so of course I adore her.

Jess – Jess is the Queen of the Infographic – both for our blog and for student affairs in general. She does amazing work, and her special brand of geekiness makes them even more amazing. Geeks unite!

Lauren – Lauren is our graduate student blogger extraordinaire. Anyone crazy enough to add blogging to their already full grad student schedule is just crazy enough to be blogging with us!

Valerie – Although Valerie is an all-around tech gal, she keeps us sharp on our social media use. Plus, not only is she a fellow Buffy fan, she’s also my favorite new pen pal!

Julia – Julia is our newest blogger, and we can’t wait to see what she’s going to bring to our blog. We’re just thrilled to have her on board!

Kathryn – My co-editor and partner in crime, Kathryn has also been with us since the early days, and she is an incredible asset to our blog. It wouldn’t happen without her help!

Brenda – Last, but most certainly not least – our co-founder and co-editor for the first two years, Brenda is my partner in crime in more ways than you can imagine. She has been my boss, my fellow blogger, and my friend. She brings the important feminism and tech topics to our blog, and she is a support to me in too many ways to list here.

Did I tell you they were amazing, or did I tell you they were amazing? I could not be more proud of what this blog has become from its early imaginings, and I could not be more lucky to have such a great group of bloggers (and even past bloggers!) to work with – you all deserve to be highlighted every day.

Do you know one of our bloggers? Tell us why you think they’re amazing and share the love (it is Valentine’s Day, after all)!

Highlight a Woman: SA Women Talk Tech