Women in Technology: Roberta Williams

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Roberta Williams is one of the most influential PC game designers of the 80’s & 90’s and has been credited with creating the graphic adventure genre. Sierra On-Line, later known as Sierra Entertainment was the name of the company Roberta & her husband Ken WIlliams  founded.

Williams’ games taught logic and problem-solving skills, but made it seem like an adventure the entire time, in much the same way that gamification transforms ordinary things like, location check-ins, into an exciting quest to collect digital badges.

You can see  Roberta’s ideas and concepts in other gaming genres, like fighting games that almost always include a “quest” mode where the fighter must battle his way through to seal his victory.

Women in Technology Website Spotlight: NCWIT.org

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The National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) is a non-profit community of more than 575 universities, companies, non-profits, and government organizations nationwide working to increase women’s participation in computing and technology. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.

NCWIT works to correct the imbalance of gender diversity in technology and computing because gender diversity positively correlates with a larger workforce, better innovation, and increased business performance. Increasing the number of women in technology and computing also has the potential to improve the design of products and services to better serve a more diverse population, and increase economic and social well-being by providing more women with stable and lucrative careers.

Learn more about NCWIT here.

Women in Technology: Susan Kare

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Susan Kare was the designer who helped bring the Apple computer to life with her typography and iconic graphic design skills. She shaped many of the now-common interface elements of the Mac, like the command icon. She also created the Happy Mac icon, which greeted Apple users when they booted their machines, and the trash can icon. Susan’s efforts to make the computer feel more like a friend, and less like a machine.Kare’s design work didn’t stop with Apple, her designs can be seen in many of Facebook’s “digital gifts,” including the friendly rubber ducky.

Women in Technology Website Spotlight: GirlsInTechLA.org

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Girls in Tech (GIT) is an non-profit organization founded in 2007 that was born out of a need to provide a place for women to cultivate ideas around their careers and business concepts involving technology.  GIT focuses on the engagement, education and empowerment of like-minded, professional, intelligent and influential women in technology.

The Los Angeles Chapter of Girls in Tech, (GITLA) is 100% volunteer-run by collaborating with community partners and volunteers. They are committed to forging the next generation of technology leaders through their partner mentorship programs, that work with girls in middle school and high school, and with college women to educate and promote interest in STEAM (Science Technology Engineering Arts Math) disciplines.

GIT aims to offer a variety of resources including educational workshops and lectures, networking functions, round table discussions, conferences, social engagements, and recruitment events to supplement and further enhance women in their professional careers and aspirations in technology. Girls in Tech currently supports over 17,000 members spread between 37 active chapters worldwide.

Learn more by visiting the Girls In Tech website here.

Women in Technology: Barbara Askins

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Barbara Askins was a NASA chemist at the famed Marshall Space Flight Center. There she was challeneged with the task of inventing a way to improve astronomical and geological photos taken from space. The current photos  were often fuzzy and lacked definition.

Barbara’s invention involved the use of radioactive materials to enhance negatives. It turned out that these radioactive materials could also be used to enhance images even after the pictures had been developed. Barbara received a patent for her invention in 1978 and her method was used by NASA with great success.

Her invention was also adopted outside of NASA for a variety of other uses, including improving the clarity of x-rays and restoring old photographs. Barbara was honored as the National Inventor of the Year in 1978.

Women in Technology Website Spotlight: BlackGirlsCode.com

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Black Girls CODE is an organization that is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, and do so much more. Black Girls CODE introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails. Black Girls CODE has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow.

By promoting classes and programs they hope to grow the number of women of color working in technology and give underprivileged girls a chance to become the masters of their technological worlds.  The skills they acquire through the programs give these young women a chance at well-paying professions with prestigious companies, as well as the ability to enter into the field as an entrepreneurs and leaders of technology.

Their motto is “Imagine. Build. Create.”

Learn more about Black Girls CODE here.

Women in Technology: Hedy Lamarr

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Hedy Lamarr played a key role in the invention of spread-spectrum technology. She conceptualizing the idea of frequency hopping, which is sending radio signals from different frequency channels.

Lamarr and her co-inventor, George Antheil, developed the technology to help the Navy remotely control torpedoes. The randomized channel switching made of frequency hopping made it difficult for outside agents to understand what was being communicated.

Her work on spread-spectrum has played a part in many modern wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and led to her being inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2014.

Women in Technology Website Spotlight: WITI.com

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WITI started in 1989 as The International Network of Women in Technology and evolved into The WITI Professional Association in 2001, the world’s leading trade association for tech-savvy women. WITI’s mission is to empower women worldwide to achieve unimagined possibilities and transformations through technology, leadership and economic prosperity. The org has a network for professionals, corporate, global executives, and students.

The WITI Goals are:
1. Provide a platform of connections, resources and opportunities
2. Transform corporate and media perceptions of women
3. Create a pipeline of women to fill leadership positions in corporate America
4. Demonstrate that advancing women directly contributes to the prosperity of all
5. Influence top leaders in government, academia and industry to recognize the purchasing power of women
6. Encourage girls and young women to choose business and technology careers

To Learn more, visit their website www.witi.com

Women in Technology: Dr. Grace Hopper

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Dr. Gace Hopper was a U.S. Navy Admiral that helped invent some the the early programming languages. She is most famously associated with the Common Business-Oriented Language (COBOL), which was based on the FLOW-MATIC language that she designed back in 1958. Hopper was convinced that if programming were produced in a form that anyone could read, then there would be more programmers. It turns out that she was right.

She is also known for being the firdt to use the term “debugging” for fixing computer problems/glitches.