Finding Ada at OpenTech 2009



Why modern Ada’s are needed, originally uploaded by kcorrick.

This poigniont image was taken at the Women in Tech session at the 2009 OpenTech held on 4 July.

It summarises one of the problems that Suw Charman-Anderson, Sue Black, Janet Parkinson, Zoe Margolis and myself were trying to highlight when it comes to encouraging women into the technology industry – the of a lack of role models, and how important it is that we hold up the work that women are doing in the fields of science and technology, be it as academics, developers, games designers, communicators and the wealth of other careers in this sector.

The session that was a follow-up to this year’s Ada Lovelace day. The brainchild of Suw Charman-Anderson.

One of the things that Suw discovered when analysing the women who had been written about on Ada Lovelace day in March was that the majority of them had already passed away. So for my part of the session, I ran a brainstorm to try and find some more modern (and alive) women who are working in science and technology. Participants were asked to come up with names of women who they admired in teams and write them down on post-its, which were placed on the wall. Everyone was then given a strip of gold stars to use as "faves".

Photos of the results can be seen here or read below – apologies in advance if I have spelt anyone’s name incorrectly. A corrected and more detailed version of this list with further thoughts, will go up onto the Finding Ada website soon.

Some modern Ada’s
Tina 303 – hacker
Terry Gaasterland (think that’s right), Bioinformatics
Sarah Blow, Girl Geek Dinners
Lady Ada, hacker
Lene Hau, DK phyisicist
Jane McGonagal, games
Pamela Jones, Grok Law
Aleks Krotoski, games, writing, academic
Leisa Reichelt, user experience
Clarise de Souza, semiotic engineering
Stephenie Wehner, quantum computing
Donna Metzlar, informal education
Meg Pickard, social media
Natalie Jerijermento, techno artist/designer
Back In Shinning Jeans (more details required)
Natasha Bowen, IT manager
Improbulous, blog, consuming experience
Natalie Portman
Stefani Banerian, sys admin for Indy Media
Rosa Freund
Jenifer Tidwell, HCI design patterns
Kathy Sierra
Ann Thorpe, OU, design, activism, research
Caterina Fake, Flickr, Hunch,
Michelle Obama
Robin Hunicke, tech, games designer
Josie Fraser, education, tech
Maggie Philbin, science communicator
Emily Bell, Guardian
Moira Gunn, Tech Nation radio show, PhD in computer science
Marion Hamm, networks and virtual space
Dorte Haftendonn
Kara Swisher,
Haeckseh
Clare Reddington (@clarered), director of the Pervasiv Media Studio and ished.co.uk
Reena Pau, PhD, Southhampton university
Denise Wilton
Allison Randal, Perl
Anna Maria Cox, Wonkette
Sarah Winmill, CTO at the V&A
Ursula Martin, academic
Nivian Wang, Google
Laura Cohen, IBM, Sugar Project
Melia Mowze, game writer
Dr Sarah Butch, bioinformatics
Rhonda Wilson, head of research, Meridian Audio, Huntingdon
Jemima Kiss, Guardian technology correspondent
Prof Janet Thornton
Julia Wojcicka, design and UI
Mother of a friend of mine who worked at Max Planck Institute
Susane Komhard, Frauuhafer Institute
Danah Boyd, social media
Ayesha Garrett, londonlime.net, graphic designer
Dr. Rachel Armstrong, scientist, TED fellow
Maggie Berry, one of the founders of women in technology UK
Alice Taylor, Wonderland, C4 Education
Joanna, Google, social responsibility
Xeni Jardin, Boing Boing
Becky Hogge, activism, journalist
Violet Berlin, games, journalist
Irena Slutski, interviewer, reportage
Kaye Elling, games
Climate Rush, women’s campaign against climate change
Dame Ellen MacArthur, solo ocean racer, environmental activist
Prof Kristina Hook, Human Computer Interactions, Stokholm
Anja Anderson, astrophysics
Jo Walsh, perl hacker, GIS wizard
Mrs Price, physics teacher (and many more female sciences teachers)
Beth Auden, solar physicist, university of Nashville
Connie, AOL


Who has inspired you, who do you think should be recognised? Add their name(s) below in the comments.

UPDATE 10/07/2009: Here is a video of the session.