Tag Archives: ada lovelace day

Ada Lovelace Day heroine: Sarah Stierch

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! Ada Lovelace Day, founded by Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009, is for sharing the accomplishments of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and thereby to contribute to their increased visibility. We encourage you today to share the story of a woman in open technology and culture who inspires you!

This is a guest post by Netha Hussain, AdaCamp DC alumna.

Photograph of Sarah Stierch

by Matthew Roth, CC BY-SA

Sarah Stierch (User: SarahStierch on Wikimedia) is an active contributor to Wikimedia, she has been contributing projects since 2006. She is an administrator on Wikipedia and the Program Evaluation & Design community coordinator at the Wikimedia Foundation. On Wikipedia, she is interested in writing articles about people and places. She was instrumental in launching the Teahouse, a friendly place to help newcomers get accustomed to Wikipedia’s culture and WikiWomen’s Collaborative, a global initiative in increasing the participation of women in Wikimedia projects. Both these projects she developed as a part of her fellowship program with the Wikimedia Foundation. She has also participated in OpenGLAM initiatives by working with prominent libraries, archives and museums in the US.

On Wikipedia, she performs administrative tasks like cleaning up speedy deletions and emptying the backlogs. Being an OTRS volunteer, she handles issues with images and media by adding appropriate licenses to images tagged for deletion. She does not get involved in controversial admin actions, like closing of consensus driven article discussions. She thinks that it would be a good idea to have more admins in charge of discussions related to women.

Sarah enjoys the work she does as an employee of the Wikimedia Foundation. Her experience as an employee is different from that of being a community member. Her experience as a community member always comes to help when she is asked her opinions about implementing new projects and programs. Some people treat her with more respect and interest because of her newly assumed roles. In her opinion, to have a chance to get paid for doing the work you love, with the colleagues you respect, to help Wikimedians around the world is a fulfilling experience. As a full time employee, she now also gets health benefits, which she thinks is nice!

She likes the work culture of Wikimedia Foundation. She finds satisfaction in being able to support one of the most popular websites in the world. Being located in San Francisco, the Wikimedia Foundation’s office is next to numerous tech-companies like Google, Yelp and Salesforce. She thinks that the unifying mission of employees of all organizations in SF to make the web a better place is a meaningful goal.

In the past, she worked as a fellow at the Wikimedia Foundation as a part of which two projects: the Teahouse and WikiWomen’s Collaborative were launched. She is still unclear on the impacts made by these initiatives, but evaluation shows that the Teahouse has helped retain new editors as a whole, a significant number of them being women. It is exciting for her to see her efforts making an impact not only in English but also in other language Wikipedias. WikiWomen’s Collaborative on the other hand has played a significant role in retaining the existing women editors, but have not brought many new women editors into the movement. She recalls that building the support system to help women was one of WikiWomen’s Collaborative’s achievements.

In her capacity as a volunteer, she has arranged numerous meetups and workshops to spread the word about Wikipedia. She recalls that the attitude of the Wikimedia community has generally been supportive, as most Wikimedians want to see more people get involved in the movement. She has been careful in avoiding discouraging comments from a few people who do not support her vision. She finds it tough to see the Wikimedia Foundation stepping back from the supportive role in increasing gender diversity, but she is happy that Wikimedia communities in different parts of the world have stepped up to fulfil this goal by organizing a variety of events and activities to increase the participation of women in Wikimedia.

Sarah believes that the Ada Initiative was critical in helping her become a better employee by helping her learn to handle unsettling and uncomfortable situations. Knowing how to address such situations has helped her to influence the environment at her office, and made it a safer and more inviting space for women. AdaCamp honed her facilitation skills, like making sure that everyone got their say in the discussions especially in male dominated groups. Among AdaCampers, she also found a great network of feminists around the world whom she can call on for support and advice. For her, it is a great feeling to be a part of the amazing community of AdaCamp alumni. The friendly space policies created by Ada Initiative is being used by her for all the events she and the Wikimedia Foundation conducts.

She calls upon all people to click [edit] when they find a mistake or an error on Wikipedia. She invites everyone to stop by the TeaHouse to get help on any aspect of Wikipedia. She wants all people to make a difference by editing Wikipedia.

Sarah’s biography can be read on Wikipedia here. She can be reached at sarah (at) wikimedia (dot) org.

Ada Lovelace Day heroine: Dana Bauer

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! Ada Lovelace Day, founded by Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009, is for sharing the accomplishments of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and thereby to contribute to their increased visibility. We encourage you today to share the story of a woman in open technology and culture who inspires you!

This is a guest post by Leslie Birch, AdaCamp DC and San Francisco alumna.

I got to know Dana Bauer at AdaCamp DC. Even though we both live in Philly, it was really the first time I got to find out more about her. She is a map wizard and often spends her free time sharing her talents with hackerspaces and other meetup groups in Philly. She was instrumental in me taking my first Python workshop — something I was driven to do after attending AdaCamp. Dana is very active with the Python community and I can remember one talk she gave about Py love that had astounding graphics and ended with everyone in hysterics. She knows how to engage people and encourage community. Most of all, she keeps me on my tech path and represents the type of woman I strive to be.

Ada Lovelace Day heroine: Sarah Sharp

Happy Ada Lovelace Day! Ada Lovelace Day, founded by Suw Charman-Anderson in 2009, is for sharing the accomplishments of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, and thereby to contribute to their increased visibility. We encourage you today to share the story of a woman in open technology and culture who inspires you!

This is a guest post by Carol Willing, AdaCamp San Francisco alumna.

Thoughtful. Encouraging. Integrity. Commitment. Strength. Resilient. Collaborative.

These words easily describe Sarah Sharp, Linux kernel developer and USB 3.0 driver maintainer. Sarah’s efforts with the Outreach Program for Women (OPW) in the Linux kernel demonstrate her commitment to build awareness, to encourage, and to celebrate the women that will become the next generation of contributors to the Linux kernel. I had the pleasure of spending time with Sarah and two of the OPW interns at LinuxCon this year and to see their energy and enthusiasm for improving the kernel and its community.

Sarah champions collaboration, inclusiveness, and respect to improve the Linux community. She’s a wonderful ambassador for Linux, open source, and the Ada Initiative. Thank you Sarah!

Ada Lovelace Day 2013: women you should know of!

October 15 2013 will be the fifth annual Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Ada Lovelace Day is about sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today. The aim is to create new role models for girls and women in these male-dominated fields by raising the profile of other women in STEM.

Photograph of Suw Charman-Anderson

Suw Charman-Anderson, , Ada Lovelace Day founder, self-portrait CC BY-NC-SA

Yesterday, we asked Ada Lovelace Day founder Suw Charman-Anderson about plans for Ada Lovelace Day 2013, and how Ada Lovelace Day has changed and grown. Today she shares some of what she’s learned about women in STEM through Ada Lovelace Day, including four women who are less invisible to her as a result.

What’s your favourite Ada Lovelace fact?

Suw: I love the letter that Ada wrote to Faraday when she was trying to convince him to tutor her. She was a real fangirl:

Dear Mr Faraday,

I am exceedingly tickled with your comparison of yourself to a tortoise. It has excited all my fun (& I assure you I have no little of that in me).

I am also struck with the forcible truth of your designation of my character of mind:

“elasticity of intellect“.

It is indeed the very truth, most happily put into language.

You have excited in my mind a ridiculous, but not ungraceful, allegorical picture, viz:

that of a quiet demure plodding tortoise, with a beautiful fairy gambolling round it in a thousand radiant & varying hues; the tortoise crying out, “Fairy, fairy, I am not like you. I cannot at pleasure assume a thousand aerial shapes & expand myself over the face of the universe. Fairy, fairy, have mercy on me, & remember I am but a tortoise“.

Given that he was a devout Christian, very humble and self-disciplined, I can’t imagine that he was hugely impressed, but Ada’s so charming and playful it’s hard to imagine anyone could hold her enthusiasm against her!!

Tell us about some of the women you’ve been introduced to through Ada Lovelace Day.

Suw:

Photograph of Patricia Bath

Ophthalmologist Patricia Bath, Ada Lovelace Day heroine (image public domain)

Patricia Bath, born 1942: Patented a method for removing cataract lenses using a laser which quickly and almost painlessly dissolves the cataract. Her device has successfully restored vision to people who have been unable to see for decades.

Hedy Lamarr, born 1914: She was a Hollywood starlet in the 1940s who also invented frequency hopping, a technology that is still used in wireless devices today. She offered it to the US Navy for use in encrypting the signal to radio-controlled torpedoes during the Second World War, but they rejected the idea and it wasn’t finally implemented until 1962.

Rear Admiral Grace Hopper, born 1906: One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I, inventor of the compiler, and a driving force behind the development of COBOL. Also popularised the use of the word ‘bug’ to mean a mistake in code, famously locating an actual bug – a moth – in the relays of the Mark II.

And going back a little further in time we have, from 2285 BCE, EnHedu’Anna High Priestess of the Moon-god Nanna, at Ur in Sumeria (now in Iraq), who was responsible for monitoring the movements of the stars via network of observatories as a part of her duties. She created the first collection of astronomical observations. Modern astronomy and maths follows almost continuous line from Sumeria to the present.

More about Suw

Suw Charman-Anderson is the founder of Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. She is also a social technologist and, as one of the UK’s social media pioneers, has helped clients worldwide use social tools for collaboration and communication internally and to build customer relationships externally.

A freelance journalist, she has written about social media and technology for The Guardian, CIO Magazine, .Net Magazine, Computer Weekly and FirstPost.com. She currently blogs about publishing and crowdfunding for Forbes.com.

In 2005, Suw co-founded the Open Rights Group with the aim of raising awareness of digital rights issues and campaigning against bad legislation in Britain and the EU.

Suw’s blog is chocolateandvodka.com and you can follow her on Twitter (@suw).

You can join Suw at Ada Lovelace Day Live! in London on October 15, with performers including Fran Scott, a science communicator who designs demos for CBBC, live stage shows and the Science Museum; Prof Molly Stevens, a leading bioengineer from Imperial College London whose work includes growing human bones in the lab; and Hazel Gibson, a geologist studying how geological processes affect our lives, and who is out to prove that women and geology is a combination that rocks!

Other events are being held around the world.

Ada Lovelace Day 2013: fight the invisibility of women in STEM!

October 15 2013 will be the fifth annual Ada Lovelace Day, an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and maths. Ada Lovelace Day is about sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today. The aim is to create new role models for girls and women in these male-dominated fields by raising the profile of other women in STEM.

You can participate in Ada Lovelace Day by attending Ada Lovelace Day Live! in London; attending one of the more than 20 other worldwide events; or by writing about a woman in STEM whose work has inspired you, publishing the story on October 15, and adding it to the Ada Lovelace Day story collection.

The Ada Initiative (which is also named for Ada Lovelace) is planning to share stories of our inspirational AdaCampers. We spoke to Ada Lovelace Day founder Suw Charman-Anderson (@suw) about Ada Lovelace Day 2013 plans, and how Ada Lovelace Day has changed since 2009.

What changes does Ada Lovelace Day 2013 bring?

Ada Lovelace Day wikiathon: two women work on laptops in front of a blackboard with wikiathon instructions

Ada Lovelace Day 2012 wikiathon, by Maia Weinstock CC BY-SA

Suw: As ever, we’re holding Ada Lovelace Day Live! on 15 October, this year at Imperial College London with the support of the Biochemical Society, Texas Instruments and our other partners and sponsors. We also have nearly 25 grassroots events around the world which have been organised independently. I am very excited about how widely the day is going to be celebrated this year!

For the first time, we are also going to be publishing a book, A Passion for Science: Stories of Discovery and Invention, a collection of 17 essays about pioneering women in science and technology. It is an exploration of how we passed some of the most important milestones in science and technology, from the identification of the Horsehead Nebula, to the writing of the first computer program, the development of in vitro fertilisation and the detection of pulsars. All of these discoveries and innovations were achieved by women. Frequently unsung, often underpaid and under-appreciated, and sometimes misrepresented, these women defied social convention and endemic sexism to excel. There stories are compelling and inspirational, and I am very excited about publishing this anthology, which will initially only be available from findingada.com.

Ada Lovelace Day’s aim is fighting the invisibility of women in science and technology? Are you measuring its success? How successful has it been?

Suw: We’ve grown incredibly since the first Ada Lovelace Day in 2009, which started by simply asking people to write a blog post about a woman in technology who had inspired them. The idea attracted people to participate in ways I could never have imagined: We had people from all over the world writing in many languages with very little promotion, although we also garnered a lot of media and press coverage.

Since then, we’ve added the Ada Lovelace Day Live! ‘nerd cabaret’ as well as inspiring grassroots events all around the world. There are so many events, I often hear about them after the fact rather than before the day.

Whilst originally the day was focused on blogging about women in tech, blogs are less popular than they were in 2009. We are now encouraging an emphasis is on Wikipedia editathons, to increase the number and quality of articles on women in STEM. Those contributions are powerful and long-lasting, and editathons are open not just to people who are able to attend in person, but to anyone online who wishes to join in.

Ada Lovelace Day has grown far beyond the day itself, and there are a range of events throughout the month. I also give talks about women in STEM at schools, libraries and to professional organisations throughout the year.

What are some of your future plans and ambitions for Ada Lovelace Day?

Suw: I’ve love to do more, including creating educational materials, more books and even creating a professional network to allow women in STEM to support each other. At the moment, it is an issue of resources. To organise ALD I draw primarily on my own time and money, with a small group of volunteers to help, but I am actively seeking foundations and corporate sponsors to develop a sustainable base for which our activities can grow.

Tomorrow: more about Ada Lovelace Day heroines, and what Suw has learned about Ada Lovelace herself.