Monthly Archives: February 2011

Wednesday Geek Woman monthly submissions thread (February)

Wednesday Geek Woman is like Ada Lovelace Day every week! Most of our submissions are by guest posters, and we’ll have a post like this once a month to allow you to submit women to the series.

Submit your profile of a geek woman in (hidden) comments here and selected ones will be posted (perhaps lightly edited) on Wednesdays. Here’s what to include:

  1. Optional: a quick one sentence bio paragraph about yourself, with any links you want. For example: Mary is a humble geek blogger and you can find her at <a href=""></a&gt; Notes:
    • if this bio line is missing, you will be assumed to want to be anonymous. This applies even if you put a name and URL in the comment field.
    • don’t feel pressured into revealing things about yourself you don’t want to. A pseudonymous, mysterious, vague or simple bio is fine.
  2. Compulsory: two or more parapraphs describing your geek woman, ideally including why you admire her in particular.
  3. Optional: links to her biography, her Wikipedia page, and so on.
  4. Optional: agreement that your post can be used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (posts that have this can be used in the Geek Feminism wiki).

See previous posts for examples.

Here’s a form you could copy and paste into comments:

My bio (one sentence only, optional):

Name or pseudonym of the geek woman I am submitting:

A few words summarising the woman’s geek accomplishments (for example “AI researcher” or “discoverer of supernova” or “engine mechanic”):

My post about this woman (two or more paragraphs):

Links to this woman elsewhere (optional):

[Please delete this line if you don’t agree!] I agree to licence my post under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

Notes on things we do welcome:

  • a broad definition of ‘geek’: crafters, writers, community organisers, scientists, hackers and creators all welcome
  • profiles submitted by anyone, including men
  • multiple submissions by the same person are fine, so if you submitted last time, or you’ve already submitted this time, no problem!
  • famous geek women: no geek woman is too well-known for this series at this point (unless we’ve featured her before). If more than one person submits the same woman to this round, their profiles will be combined.
  • we’d prefer living or historical women, fictional women will be occasionally accepted but won’t be the main feature
  • it’s fine to profile a woman who uses a pseudonym
  • you’re welcome to submit your writing that’s been published somewhere in the past (as long as you kept the copyright), for example, an Ada Lovelace Day post you made. If your piece has appeared at another URL, please give us that URL.

We may not publish your profile if it falls into these categories:

  • there are lots of geek women past and present, so for now we will not be re-posting a woman subject who has already been featured. See previously posted women.
  • profiles of women who don’t have some kind of public profile, which might include things like a public blog, a professional homepage with a professional bio, an academic homepage listing her publications, a Wikipedia page with her biography, may not be accepted. We don’t want to highlight someone who’d rather not have a Web presence.
  • per How Not to Do Ada Lovelace Day, profiles of women focussed on them being a supportive life-helper to a man geek will not be accepted (collaborative geeking with men of course accepted)
  • this really shouldn’t need to be said, but your post should be about the woman’s geeking, not about her appearance or personal life

Want some inspiration? Check the Geek Feminism wiki for women in science, women in computer science, women in Open Source and other women in geek culture collections.

Cookie of the Week*: mjg59 on LCA Chat

Cookie of the Week* is an occasional series highlighting action in the geek community to fight sexism, in order to show that fighting sexism is possible and happening.

A cookie to mjg59 (who is a poster here also) for this response to rape denial on the 2011 chat list. Here’s an excerpt:

You’re right, you’re not diminishing what rape is. However, you really do seem to be doing your best to. You’ve taken Jacinta’s entirely reasonable demonstration that a significant proportion of the audience may have personal experiences that would leave them disproportionately likely to be made uncomfortable by sexual imagery in a conference environment, and you’ve used it as an opportunity to throw numbers around in order to forward the argument that the number of women raped by strangers in isolated areas is lower than 1 in 6 despite *nobody having raised that subject at all*.

Here’s a cookie!

brett dennen:don't forget
Image description: a star-shaped cookie with a smiling face drawn in icing. Credit: Lali Masriera (visualpanic)

Does anyone else have any cookies to spare this week?

* Disclaimer: cookies may not be baked weekly! This offer does not commit Geek Feminism, its bloggers, affiliates, sponsors, commenters or fans to a posting schedule. Heaven forbid!

Wednesday Geek Woman: Colleen Fitzpatrick, forensic genealogist

This is a guest post by Shauna. Shauna is a psychologist, programmer, writer and blogger.

Colleen Fitzpatrick is a forensic genealogist: she uses clues from DNA analysis, photos, fingerprints, and family history to identify unknown persons. One of the leading lights in a field that’s booming due to new interest in genealogy and new advances in genetic techniques, she’s been involved in a number of high profile cases. Among these are the case of the Unknown Child, a two year old boy whose body was found days after the sinking of the Titanic and buried in Nova Scotia along with a monument to all the young children lost in the disaster. Nearly a hundred years later, Fitzpatrick’s painstaking research identified the child as Sidney Leslie Goodwin, the youngest of eight children, none of whom survived the disaster.

Fitzpatrick was also involved in the identification of remains from a 1948 flight crash in Alaska. She has also tracked down a relative of Fred Noonan, Amelia Earhart’s navigator, whose DNA will be able to provide confirmation of Noonan’s identity, if his body is ever found. Although Fitzpatrick seems drawn to famous cases—and who wouldn’t be?—she spends much of her time working with amateur genealogists, teaching people techniques for solving their own family mysteries. She’s published three books about forensic genealogy, and has started the Fitzpatrick DNA Study, an attempt to find and unite descendants of the Fitzpatrick clan.

She also founded a high-tech company out of her garage and worked on optics for the now-cancelled NASA mission to Jupiter. She’s multi-lingual. She lives with a pet tortoise named Thing One. She’s just neat.

Fitzpatrick’s personal website
Wikipedia: Colleen Fitzpatrick
Interview with the Genetic Genealogist

Creative Commons License
This post is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.