Tag Archives: technology

Women Pioneers in a Galaxy Far, Far Away

On Tuesday, June 10, I attended a fantastic event called See Jane Salon, on Women Pioneers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) put on by the Geena Davis Institute for Gender Studies in Media.

Women pioneers in STEM panel at Google

Women pioneers in STEM panel at Google on June 10, 2014.

Check out their event summary:

How can media encourage girls and women to pursue careers in science? One way is to feature exciting and dynamic portrayals of female scientists in movie and TV shows. Sounds easy enough, but the Geena Davis Institute’s 2012 research on the career occupations of female characters in family films, prime time and children’s television showed that there was a 15:1 ratio of male to female characters in science. Why is this so important? Because by 2018, there will be 1.2 million US job openings in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields, with a significant shortage of qualified applicants to fill them. This See Jane Salon will showcase real women pioneers in STEM along with entertainment industry leaders who are creating great female characters in science.

The panel included Andrea Fernandez, Creative Director GoldieBlox, Dr. Kathy Magliato, Cardiothoracic Surgeon, Taryn O’Neill, Actor, Jaime Paglia, TV and Film Writer/Producer The Flash (and co-creator of Eureka!), Christina Reynolds, Development Executive Amazon Studios, Amanda Segal, Co-Executive Producer, Person of Interest, Laura Tenenbaum, Communication Specialist NASA Jet Propulsion Lab, and moderator, Megan Smith, Entrepreneur, VP Google.

 If she can see it she can be it

What I liked about the panel was that they didn’t focus solely on the unique challenges of being a women in their chosen fields. If you’re a woman, particularly a WOC, you already know the challenges of being underrepresented in whatever field you’re in, STEM or not. That, unfortunately, is what a lot of women-centric panels of this sort turn into, running out of time before any solutions are discussed.  To about 200 attendees, 95% of whom were women, they provided real data in addition to the anecdotes of experiences, which I found refreshing.

I’d joined a Google+ hangout on Disrupting Entrepreneurship and Innovation  with Megan Smith about month ago and she reiterated on stage some interesting points about hiring practices and systemic bias toward women in stem fields. The fewer women that are present in a group, the higher the tendency to expect that women to represent the ‘female’ point of view, rather than a single person’s point of view. Also, for any given job criteria, a woman will tend apply only if she meets 7/10 of those characteristics, where a man will tend to apply if he meets just 3/10. I live-tweeted a few other things which you can find on Twitter using a hashtag search for #stem on June 10th.

I hope to attend more events like this and become a part of the solution for this issue. Do you have a favorite tv show or movie that features women characters in stem? Mine is the show ‘Eureka’ on Syfy. Let me know yours in a comment.

Gone BarCampin’

A positive attitude causes a chain reaction of positive thoughts, events and outcomes. It is a catalyst… a spark that creates extraordinary results.
— Desktop calendar

Last weekend I dropped by BarCampLA 8, held at Mt. Washington Elementary, in northeast LA county.
BarCampLA signage

The road leading to the elementary school was treacherous to say the least. The neighborhood I passed through had many windy roads twisting and intertwining up a mountain. Most streets were only wide enough for one-way traffic, though it flowed in both directions. There were a couple of points where it turned into a game of chicken around blind curves. I made it there safely and eventually made my way over to the session wall in the cafeteria. This is where participants posted their topics for their talks.  Look at the variety.

Saturday sessions

I sat in on a Kids Ruby talk which was really interesting.  My computer wouldn’t load the software correctly for me to fully join in the coding exercises, but I watched the demo on the projector screen and absorbed enough info that way. After a bi bim bap burrito lunch from the yummy one food truck, I caught up with some friends and then attended a talk all about whiskey, in which I learned more than I ever thought I’d learn about whiskey without actually drinking it. Thanks, Bino G!

Next, I ran a session at 3pm and had a great group of attendees, all of whom contributed ideas and tips of their own.

Here’s a brief summary of my talk, called “5 Great Ways to Get Fit with Technology”

Hello, my name is Madeline and I’m more of a learning geek than fitness expert, but I’ve found some fun and effective ways to stay active in day-to-day life. And I enjoy encouraging others of all fitness abilities to do the same. I’m going to give you five great ways to get fit using technology. But first, let’s define what a good fitness goal is using the S.M.A.R.T. method. Once a S.M.A.R.T. goal is set then we can find ways that technology can help. Polled audience to find out whether they prefer to exercise in groups or alone. Most preferred group exercise.

1) Utilize metric devices. Solo exercisers can use a variety of tools (smartphones, wearable computers) and find training plans available on the web. Group exercisers can also use the web for training plans which they can print and also utilize each other for activities like pacing, being running buddies, and stretching partners.

2) Join online communities. Both exercise prefs can join online communities such as the active.com network to find out about events happening locally in just about any sport and train for ones of interest.

3) Attend group meet-ups. Meeting others who are interested in your method of fitness may keep you going a lot longer and stronger than doing it alone. Go to your favorite sporting goods store to find e-mail signup sheets or check their websites for local events or master classes. You can also find these by searching your favorite social networks by keyword. Good way to try out a new activity in a generally non-judgmental environment.

4) Try mobile and web apps. There are lots of free and inexpensive apps available for your smart phone or on the web. Here are a few that my friends use to post their results to Facebook:
dailymile – track workouts in multiple sports.
RunKeeper – makes tracking your workouts fun, social, and easy to understand so that you can improve the quality of your fitness.
Nike+ gps– Map your runs, track your progress and get the motivation you need to go even further. Hear mid-run cheers every time your friends like or comment on your run status, or outrun them in a game of Nike+ Tag. ($1.99)
SparkPeople – A diet and weight-loss online community.
IronApp – The first app for iron athletes (via facebook).
CardioTrainer – CardioTrainer is a free application for Android smartphones that lets you track and record all of your fitness activity.

5) Join a fitness group. Make consistent progress and new friends. These may be found on various social networks searchable by keyword or by asking around.

Wrap up and discussion
Advantages (creates accountability, automatic record of progress, instant stats) and disadvantages (over reliance on gadgets, inaccuracies, metric site outages) of using technology.

I exchanged info with a few people afterward and received this message in my inbox the next day: “Loved your talk at BarCamp… I’m only just starting exercise after being inspired by you.”

Sweet! I love that my fellow attendees and I helped make the event worth the price of admission and inspired life changes as a result. As an added bonus, I snagged a nice BCLA8 tee… Getting that tee might possibly be a big draw for you to attend the next BarCamp (if you’re like me), and that’s okay! Whatever gets you there to participate. 😛

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