Alyssa, wearing a sweater with Darth Vader on it, and holding a stuffed Chewbacca toy and a bag of popcorn. (Source: Alyssa Askew)
New Year, New Staffer! We’re kicking off 2018 with an interview with Alyssa Askew, our Assistant Games Manager. Alyssa has been working with us since early last year, and works with our Manager of Gaming, Alyssa Jones. (Yes, there are two people working on our games team named Alyssa. What are the odds?) Here, she tells us about moving to Seattle, her love of Star Wars, and what it’s like to be a girl detective.
Who are you and what do you do at GeekGirlCon?
I’m Alyssa Askew and I am the Assistant Games Manager. I help the other Alyssa and the rest of the awesome Gaming team create Tabletop and Video Game content for the convention and beyond. My position fluctuates based on what Alyssa and the rest of the team need and I jump in to help wherever I can. This year that meant organizing some tournaments, coordinating signage, writing volunteer job descriptions, and having a whole lot of fun with the team!
What do you do for your day job, when you’re not being awesome as a GGC staffer?
I work in video games! I am currently working as an Administrative Assistant (aka Professional Organizer of things) at Big Fish Games and learning as much as possible about the production and creation of our games so I can continue to work towards my dream of producing games. On the side, I am producing an indie horror game with friends to hone those skills!
Sounds awesome! Tell me more about your indie game! Horror games are not usually my jam (I spook easily!), but helping my friends get organized to make things is a lot of fun and they are super talented. Play throughs have been entertaining because I think I get even more frightened when I know what is about to happen in the game. I can’t wait to see how it shapes up.
Alyssa concentrates as she plays Centipede on an arcade machine. (Source: Alyssa Askew)
Have you always considered yourself a geek?
Oh, probably… When I was about 9, I wanted to have a Star Wars themed sleepover and watch the entire original trilogy in one night. I LOVE geeking out over themes. I invited all my friends over and decorated the living room. We got through half of Episode IV and my friends took over and we watched Titanic. I still hate that movie and I still love Star Wars so I guess I have always considered myself geeky.
Alyssa holding her super cute BB-8 mug! (Source: Alyssa Askew)
What sort of (geeky) things do you like to do in your spare time?
In case it wasn’t already evident, I love gaming! These days, you can most often find me playing Stardew Valley, Overwatch, and a variety of mobile games. When I can recruit friends or family, I love a good board game too.
I am also in my happy place while munching popcorn at the movies or curled up with a novel or comic book with tea (in a geeky and adorable BB8 mug).
What are you currently geeking out about?
Right this second, I am most excited for Black Panther to come out. It looks phenomenal and I’ve probably watched the trailer 30+ times. Spider-Man has been my favorite superhero since I was twelve, so I’m also looking forward to his starring role appearance in Infinity War and try my best not to think too much about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse because December is so far away.
Gaming wise, I just purchased a bundle of twenty or so Nancy Drew games from Her Interactive and they are golden! I’ve been dedicating a fair amount of time to solving crimes as a teenage sleuth.
Girl detective games? That sounds awesome. Who would you recommend these to? I think anyone who read Nancy Drew, watched Veronica Mars, or played detective of any sorts when they were young would enjoy the Nancy Drew series. I mean, who doesn’t want to solve crimes about haunted carousels or mysterious old clocks? They are easy to pick up and play without being hardcore, and while they are a bit silly sometimes, I’ve had a lot of fun with them.
Alyssa dressed as her character from the game Stardew Valley (Source: Alyssa Askew)
Okay, let’s talk about the org. How did you get involved with GeekGirlCon?
I moved to Seattle from Canada early last year and wanted to get involved and volunteer in some capacity straight away. Up in BC, my volunteer life was a huge part of who I was, and organizing STEM events for the Girl Guides of Canada was one of my favorite things to do. I had attended GeekGirlCon and kept checking the volunteer page because I love everything the org stands for, but was intimidated by most of the roles, having never organized a con before! When I saw the Assistant Manager of Gaming position I was really excited because it seemed like a great introduction to convention planning, I had the skill set, and also I really, really love games. I applied for the position and now I’m here!
What is your favorite thing about being a staffer for GeekGirlCon?
The wonderful humans I get to interact with as a result. Being in a new city is scary, but everyone in the org has welcomed me with open arms, taught me so much already, and made me feel at home. The Agents I got to work with at the GeekGirlCon last year were exceptional and their commitment to the convention is inspiring. I can’t wait to work with them again. Finally, our attendees are what make GeekGirlCon so special.
What were your thoughts on GeekGirlCon ‘17? Did you have a favorite moment?
I LOVED my experience at GeekGirlCon ‘17. The whole event was nothing less of magical and I was humbled to be a part of the staff organizing the convention. My favorite moment surrounding the con weekend actually happened virtually. Part way through the weekend, I was checking twitter and saw a friend say they were thinking of attending and asked if GeekGirlCon was a safe space for them. I let others answer, because I thought maybe I was a bit biased, and my friend ended up attending on Sunday! I got to say hello in the midst of running around, and they seemed to be having fun. My favorite moment came on Sunday, the attendees had left, we were cleaning up and winding down from a great weekend. I checked Twitter again and saw the same friend post about what a great time they had at GeekGirlCon ‘17, how glad they were that they attended, and that they definitely would be back next year. Seeing that post made my heart so happy. I love the space GeekGirlCon has created and am proud of how hard everyone is constantly working to make it truly safe and inclusive.
What are you looking forward to for GeekGirlCon in the future?
I can’t wait to see how GeekGirlCon continues to thrive in the coming years. I feel so lucky to be a part of the team and I know the wonderful people involved will make it better every year. I look forward to seeing how the programming changes and grows to be as inclusive and diverse as possible and I am excited about all the wonderful content that I’m sure we’ll line up for next year!
If you think you’d like to be like Alyssa and support GeekGirlCon all year around, check out our available volunteer staff positions!
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.
If one of your resolutions for the new year* was to support a nonprofit that supports women and girls in STEAM fields, comics, games, and other geekdoms, now’s the chance to act on it.
GeekGirlCon is looking for volunteers for 2017! With our well-documented convention expansion last year, we were looking to hire more Agents than ever before, and we’ve also brought on more staff to support the organization year-round.
This could be you. (Image source: GeekGirlCon Flickr)
We have even loftier plans for 2017, and bigger plans means a bigger army of dedicated, awesome volunteers. We’d love for you to join us for a whole plethora of reasons. Because we’re an amazing organization and an even better community. Because we’re dedicated to being able to make room for what we love doing. Because the representation of women and girls in all forms of geekery matters. Because we’re going to need all the help we can get.
GeekGirlCon is a wonderfully inclusive organization, but it still has to be powered by a small army of volunteer staff and board members. Not only do we put on a fantastic con every October, but we also organize weekly gaming events, march in Seattle’s Pride parade every year, and celebrate women in science, tech, gaming, comics and all other geekdoms at a variety of events. That’s a lot of work!
And, as our convention grows, we are growing with it! This means we have a lot more opportunities for you to become part of GeekGirlCon. If you are up to the challenge of working with dedicated, amazing people, supporting a fantastic and worthy cause, and having a load of fun along the way, consider joining our staff or board! Our list of current vacant positions is available on our website. These are volunteer positions, but you’ll be paid in candy and warm fuzzies. Check them out and apply today!
Staff are required to attend one meeting per month, with hours increasing leading up to the convention. If you are unable to commit to that, but are still interested in supporting GeekGirlCon, sign up for our volunteer mailing list to be the first to know when we have event-specific opportunities!
If you’ve ever wondered what makes GeekGirlCon such an exciting, vibrant, and welcoming place, a big part of that is the dedication of our all-volunteer staff, working year-round to make sure the Con reflects the best of inclusive geekiness.
Would you like to be a part of that? Well, great news: we’re hiring!
The staff is already looking forward to GeekGirlCon ‘15, and to make sure our fifth convention exceeds the high bar we’ve set in previous years, we’re looking for passionate, fun, geeky people to add to our team. From Director of Programming, to Marketing Events Coordinator, to Copywriter, and beyond (that’s right, you could be writing blog posts just like this one!), we have many awesome opportunities for you to develop your skills and be part of something great.
Head on over to the Volunteer page and take a look at the open positions. If you don’t see something that fits you right now, check back; we’ll be adding more over the next few weeks.
Written by GeekGirlCon Manager of Editorial Services Winter Downs.
Written by Adrienne M. Roehrich, Manager of Editorial Services
GeekGirlCon’s all-volunteer staff works all-year round to throw a fun event for our community, our annual GeekGirlCon convention. But we also love to contribute to the programming at the con. This is a selection of the panels our staff (and former staff) are contributing to.
We’ve got science coming your way with “Notable Women in Science,” which I am presenting from my role as the chemistry editor at Double X Science.
It’s no secret GeekGirlCon loves comics! Current GeekGirlConnections Manager Susie Rantz and former staff Adrienne Fox and Sabrina Taylor discuss where to start with reading comics in “Curious About Comics? We’ve Got You Covered!”
Andy Munich runs games at GeekGirlCon ’14.
We also love games! Play RPGs with Andy – our Gaming Events Coordinator Andy Munich, that is! New and seasoned RPG gamers are welcome.
Of course the geeks on our staff speak up as consumers of pop culture. Manager of Programming, Meg Humphrey, along with other panelists discuss how to speak out both positively and effectively, using the diversity in the Star Wars franchise as a framework in “Fangirls Find the Force: Star Wars, from Episode VII and Beyond.”
There are no fake geek girls, and Manager of Programming Meg Humphrey, Merchandise Manager Shubz Blalack, Board Member Terra Olsen, and former staffer Tammy Vince Cruz tell us about their project, “The Unicorn Files: Debunking the Myth of the Female Geek, One Geek at a Time.”
Meg Humphrey (left) and Terra Clark Olsen (right) at GeekGirlCon ’13
With the prevalence of the assertion of fake geek girls, there are pros and cons to self-identifying as a geek. No “geek cred” is required to attend the panel “Geek Identity: Exploring What it Means to be a Geek in Today’s Society” with Manager of Programming Meg Humphrey and Board Member Terra Olsen.
Sometimes you want to take the geeky thing you love and do it for a living. Join four geeky women including GeekGirlCon co-founder Jennifer K. Stuller discussing just that in “Geeky Careers: Advice from Four Geek Girls!”
Another group of women are doing that geeky thing they love for a living by creating nerd music. At “Women in Nerd Music,” Merchandise Manager Shubz Blalack is joined by other nerdy artists to talk about getting started with creating nerd music.
Speaking of careers, former staffer Anastacia Visneski presents along with other panelists all about “Careers You Never Knew You Wanted.”
And if you are a lover of words, join former staffer Anastacia Visneski with other panelists who have careers with words to chat all about those careers at “Women in Words: Presented by the Northwest Independent Editors Guild.”
After finding out all about these careers, you can brush up your resume with “One-on-One Resume Review” with GeekGirlConnections Manager Susie Rantz and other helpful panelists.
Sometimes the life of a geek is not all fun and games. The geek community can be a hostile and exclusionary space for people of size. Visual Merchandise Designer Amber Bushnell and former staffer Rachelle Abellar cover just this topic in “Fatness & Fandom.”
Race is an additional place of exclusion in the geek community. “Is 2014 the Year of the Asian?” presented by Social Media Manager Kristine Hassell delves into Asian and Asian-American representation in media history and the present day.
Raychelle Burks at GeekGirlCon ’13.
What about non-human characters that are also characters of color? How does that affect racial identities? “Double Others” will look at exactly those questions, with Social Media Manager Kristine Hassell and DIY Science Zone Project Manager Raychelle Burks.
Former staffer Donna “Dancia” Prior also discusses making the geek community inclusive and friendly with “Geeks Got Your Back!”
GeekGirlCon staffers cosplay as well! I am joined by other panelists presenting a panel about “Cosplay, Parenting, and the Word ‘Appropriate.’”
Hi folks! We’ve got less than three weeks until GeekGirlCon ‘12, and staff members are already getting our convention schedules together to make sure we don’t miss out on all the fun. Here’s what some of our staff had to say when asked which panel they were most excited for!
“I am most excited for the “Once More with Feeling” Sing-Along because who doesn’t love the musical episode of Buffy? Also, I’m excited for YA Literature and Feminism. As an avid reader of YA books, I’m interested to see the panelists’ perspective on this topic.” – Jex Ballard, Volunteer Coordinator
“This year, we have SO many excellent panels that this was a tough decision. Since I’m a die-hard Browncoat and Buffy fan, I had to go with Jane Espenson and Husbands because it’s a hilarious series and I cannot wait to see what surprises Team Husbands has for us.” – Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator
“The panel I am most excited for is—well, it is really, really hard to pick just one—Steampunk Sewing! Each year I have a fabulous idea for a Steamcon costume that never gets executed. And this year is no different; I have a great idea and I am way behind. I hope DodiRose Zooropa, Alisa Green, and Annah Sophia Summers share some nifty tips to save me from donning my dirigible mechanic garb once again because a girl needs options!” – Adrienne Fox, Copywriter
“I’m most excited to see Jane Espenson and the cast of Husbands. Jane is my hero as we desperately need more women writing and producing TV shows. I love that she can bring the funny, the dramatic, and the heartfelt. I also adore Husbands as I do remember a time (when I was a tiny kid) where I never thought queer people like me would be positively portrayed and in lovingly adorable relationships in TV.” – Erica McGillivray, President and Marketing Director
“I am so excited about some pretty different panels this year. I’m really looking forward to A Fate Worse than Death: The Last “Outsider” in Popular Culture – Disability — the panelists are a fantastic group and it’s a topic I am interested to hear more of. If I have to choose between the super cool science-y stuff (robots! NASA! more!), I would have to say that the Stunning Space Science: Voyager — 12,396 days and counting is really calling out to me — you had me at space + science.” – Amanda Powter, Copywriter
Check out our Saturday and Sunday Programming Guides and let us know which panel you are excited for!