Hey, Staffer! Whatcha Geekin’ Out About? An Interview with Jill Lennartz

For August’s Hey, Staffer! we interviewed Jill Lennartz. This is Jill’s first year with GeekGirlCon, but she has plenty of experience doing good for social justice. Check out our interview below!

Who are you and what do you do at GeekGirlCon?

I’m Jill, and I’m the Cosplay Contest Coordinator with GeekGirlCon. I make sure the contest happens! I do everything from finding talented cosplayers to be our judges and host, organize how the contest will be run, to running it.

What do you do for your day job/when you’re not being awesome as a GGC staffer?

I work for a tech company called CA Technologies, which is pretty sweet as a techie myself! I’m not a programmer though; I went to school for chemistry and climate science. So what am I doing at a tech company and not some research lab? The *awesome* answer is that big companies are becoming seriously responsible. I work in a department called Corporate Social Responsibility – we make sure that the company is being socially and environmentally responsible and work really hard to improving in these areas every day. Some people on my team work with organizations to bring STEM education to women and underserved populations, and others focus more on improving our environmental impacts.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Hey, Staffer, Whatcha Geekin’ Out About: An Interview with Marina Martinez

For our July Hey Staffer post, we’re talking to Marina Martinez, about anime, what it’s like to play quidditch in real life and what those things have in common!

Who are you and what do you do at GeekGirlCon?

I am the Marina Martinez and I am the Panel Program Manager with GeekGirlCon!

What do you do for your day job/when you’re not being awesome as a GGC staffer?

In my everyday life I am a Project Manager at Artech, which is a fine art services company. We pack, transport, install, and provide collection management services to institutions and individuals throughout the Pacific Northwest.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

A Midyear Resolution: Diversify Your Gaming Experience with One Simple Trick

I have played video games since I was three years old, when my mother brought home an Apple IIe computer, and loaded up Pac-Man for me. From there, I went from playing a range of games like Tonk in the Land of Buddy-Bots and the Monkey Island series, to console titles such as Grand Theft Auto, Assassin’s Creed and Halo.

But here’s one thing I’ve noticed: my favorite games will, more often than not, have a protagonist that looks nothing like me. Where games have a single playable character, that playable character is likely to be a man. A white man. Maybe he has a beard, maybe not. He’s probably also straight–perhaps he also has a wife or child or someone close to him who’s died or been kidnapped at the start of the game as a plot device, and he’s probably armed with some sort of gun or melee weapon or both.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Hey, Staffer! Whatcha Geekin’ Out About? (Feat. Torrey Stenmark)

It’s time to get to know another GeekGirlCon staffer! This month, we are talking to Torrey Stenmark, who is an expert in all sorts of geeky endeavors, from gaming to chemistry. Torrey also has some serious skills when it comes to cosplay–she has won numerous awards for her works! Find out about her below.

 

Who are you and what do you do at GeekGirlCon?

I am Torrey Stenmark, the DIY Science Zone Assistant Manager. I’ve also served on the Programming Selection Committee in past years.

What do you do for your day job/when you’re not being awesome as a GGC staffer?

I teach chemistry (introductory, general, and organic) at Shoreline Community College.

Have you always considered yourself a geek?

At least since college. I’m sure I would have been classified as a geeky or nerdy kid, but I owned the term in college. Back in high school I was a theater kid, which is not quite the same thing.

What sort of geeky things do you like to do in your spare time?

I make and wear science fiction and superhero costumes! I’ve won awards in local and national costume contests. I also volunteer with a couple of costumed charities, in which we dress up to raise money for children’s causes or to visit schools and hospitals. There’s a very special joy in demonstrating to young girls that they can be superheroes too, or showing all kids that they can be both superheroes and princesses.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

For Science! An Interview with Regina Barber DeGraaff on Bellingham’s March

The March in Progress. Image: Regina Barber DeGraaff

The March for Science took place on Earth Day in late April this year. While the main March took place in Washington D.C., there were over 600 satellite marches that took place to support the importance of science is to our health, economies, food security, and safety. One such event took place in Bellingham, WA. I spoke to one of the organizers,  Regina Barber DeGraaff, about her involvement in the March for Science in Bellingham, and the importance of science policy and communication.

Hi Regina! Tell me about yourself.

I teach Physics and Astronomy at Western Washington University (WWU).  I am also the STEM Inclusion and Outreach Specialist which is a position I created a couple of years ago.  The College of Science and Engineering Dean at the time was very supportive of equity and inclusion so she agreed to create my half time position.

I grew up in Lynden, WA which is just south of the Canadian border in the top right tip of Washington State.  I spent my summers in San Diego, CA and attended WWU as an undergrad. After completing a MS in Physics at San Diego State University, I finished my PhD in Physics at Washington State University in 2011 with a focus on Globular Clusters using Hubble Space Telescope images.  I have taught at a high school & two community colleges.  Being a women of color in STEM, my experience as a community college student in running start and teaching at various institutions is the source of my unique perspective when it comes to inclusion in STEM.

I am also very passionate about science communication.  I host and produce Spark Science which is on its 3rd Season.  The goal of the show is to make science accessible by confronting the scientist stereotype.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

Write for Us!

I started writing for GeekGirlCon about three years ago, after I attended GeekGirlCon ‘14 and was hugely inspired by what I had seen at the panels, Exhibitor Hall, Artists’ Alley, DIY Science Zone, and gaming floor. At first, it was sporadic, with just a few pitches here and there when a brilliant idea for a piece hit me. But writing for GeekGirlCon was fun; it was a way to express and articulate my interests in a way that I couldn’t in my other areas of writing (which were mostly academic journals). I wrote about all sorts of things: what it was like to be an Asian geek, how we could understand fictional worlds, geek taxonomy, and ferrets.

Then, a few months later, a position for a copywriter became open on the volunteer page, I applied for it, and here I am.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying that if you’re geeky, have interests that align with our mission or otherwise are passionate about supporting women in games, comics, science, tech, cosplay, and more, consider guest blogging for GeekGirlCon. Or, if there’s content that you’d like to see on the blog that isn’t currently being covered, pitch it as a potential blog post!

Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr

If you’d like to be a guest blogger, all you have to do is submit a short pitch of about 100 words on the topic you’d like to write about and how you’d write about it to blog@geekgirlcon.com. If your pitch gets accepted, we will work with you on getting your piece published on the blog. Although we will consider all topics, we would especially welcome pitches from members of underrepresented groups, or on the topics of science, cosplay, or comics.

We’d love to get more voices on our blog, so please consider adding yours to our community!

 

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’17 Hotel Deals for You!

GeekGirlCon‘17 pass sales are underway! While you’re purchasing your super amazing con experience, don’t forget to make your hotel reservations using our group discount! We’re partnering again with Hotel Max in downtown Seattle to bring you an awesome deal on accommodation!

GeekGirlCon has reserved rooms for convention weekend (from Thursday night to Sunday) for $195 per night. With free wi-fi, a craft beer happy hour every night, and free coffee every morning, it’s no wonder that Hotel Max is our favorite boutique hotel in Seattle. You can even get valet parking and pet room service! Plus, we love Hotel Max because it’s such a short trip through the city to get to the Conference Center at WSCC.

Image source: Google Maps

All you need to do is book online at this site (no code needed) or call Hotel Max reservations at 866-986-8087 and reference GeekGirlCon 2017.

Additionally, this year, if you’d like to extend your stay and book for days before or after our booking period–for example, if you wanted to stay on Monday night after the convention to spend more time checking out the city–just contact Hotel Max when you reserve your room to receive the same $195 rate. The current non-discounted rate for reservations is about $300 per night, so think about how much more swag you can buy at the con with those savings.

Image source: Hotel Max

Even if you’re not from out of town, it’s still a great deal to be so close to GeekGirlCon for the weekend. With over two days of amazing panels, video and tabletop games, hands-on science activities, celebrity sightings, after-dark events, you can afford to spend more time learning, laughing, playing and celebrating your geekdom with us!

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

An Interview with Feminist Camp

Feminist Camp is a weekend camp for college-age students that goes beyond classroom or campus activism for networking and learning more about feminism. While Feminist Camp was originally based in New York, it has since expanded to the Seattle area. I had the opportunity to speak to the campers last November, and also got to interview the camp organizers!

 

What are your official roles at Feminist Camp?

KATIE GALLAGHER: I’m one of the Feminist Camp Seattle directors, along with Jody.

JODY JOLDERSMA: I’m the other Seattle director, along with Katie.

CARLY ROMEO: I’m the Feminist Camp Director, I run all the sites!

What is Feminist Camp?

KATIE: Feminist Camp is a transformative experience. I attended the NYC program when I was a senior in college and emerged as an entirely different person by the end of it. Being immersed in a constant exchange of big ideas (from both experts and campers!) shaped who I am as a thinker and an activist. I left camp with a stronger feminist network, a new perspective, and the kind of renewed energy that can only come from spending a week with passionate, driven people.

JODY: I attended the Feminist Intensive program in NYC, which visited many of the same organizations as the week long program but is targeted at professional mid-career women. I was introduced to A.I.R. Gallery (the first women run cooperative art gallery in the United States) during my session. As a professional artist this was a great opportunity to expand my network and was pivotal in my career.

CARLY: Feminist Camp is an intimate week-long conference for folks who want to further explore what feminism looks like beyond theories/campus activism. It’s one part inspirational retreat, one part professional development, and one part launchpad.

JC Lau
“Rock On!”

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