Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

In January, Suw Charman-Anderson challenged 1000 people to write about a female role model in technology on March 24 (today!), in honor of Lady Ada Lovelace, one of the first programmers. Over 1500 took the pledge, including myself.

In the past few years, I’ve met so many awesome women through various tech groups that I didn’t want to pick just one. So here’s five, all Portlanders, and why they rock:

I met Maria Webster through Code n Splode, a women-focused tech group in Portland. She runs a blog called .51, about women in technology. Maria is my hero because she acts like it’s Ada day every day. .51 regularly has links to interviews with women who work in technology and engineering, talking about what they do and why they love it.

I met Sarah Sharp through a PDX Geek Chix lunch. Sarah is my hero because she has awesome git skills. She’s a Linux kernel hacker working at Intel, on USB support. She’s also (along with Maria) involved with the Portland State Aerospace Society, an open source rocketry group.

I met Paige Saez two years ago through Dorkbot. She’s working on an MFA in interaction design. Paige is my hero because she asks great questions, about the intersection of technology and physical mundane life. At BarCamp Portland, not long after we’d met, I asked her to put a session on the board. She didn’t know what she wanted to talk about, so I asked, “What are you interested in? Just write that down and we’ll get people in a room and talk about it.” It turned out to be “Girls, Technology, and the Future”, and about a dozen people had a great discussion about our favorite books, and wanting Google to tell us which aisle the cereal is in at the store.

I met Gabrielle Roth through Portland Perl Mongers. She’s a network engineer, and co-author of the Bacon and Tech blog, where she writes about Perl, PostgreSQL, and running user groups. Gabrielle is my hero because she started Code n Splode after OSCON 2007, to provide a place for female developers to connect and work on their their presentation skills.

I also met Selena Deckelmann through Portland Perl Mongers. She’s a sysadmin, developer, Postgres contributor, and community organizer. Selena is my hero because she convinced me we needed to have a grassroots, all-volunteer open source conference in Portland. I can’t possibly imagine Open Source Bridge without her.

There’s still time if you’d like to chime in with your own role-models. Just tag the post with “adalovelaceday09” and “ALD09post” so other people can find it.

One response to “Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day

  1. Thanks for the props Audrey! I totally would have been a wallflower if it wasn’t for you. I still tell people about how Barcamp and Dorkbot helped me break out of my shell and feel like I really could contribute something to the awesome geeky community in Portland. Thank you for supporting me!