GeekGirlCon Wants Your Panel Ideas!

If you are at all familiar with GeekGirlCon, you’ve surely noticed the high standard our community has for con programming. Before being offered a slot in the GeekGirlCon lineup, all programming (panels, activities, workshops, and performances) is carefully reviewed by our excellent Programming department. This is what makes GeekGirlCon so magical and so welcoming.

Panels comprise a large portion of the programming that takes place at the con. And so, we’re always seeking new voices and new ideas for panels. Just because you haven’t seen it at GeekGirlCon before doesn’t mean we don’t want it. In fact, it likely means we need it especially!

I talked to our Panel Program Manager, Marina Martinez, to find out exactly what makes a GeekGirlCon panel. If you’ve never submitted programming ideas to GeekGirlCon before, now’s your chance. Applications close on Sunday, April 30, so take your time and let these arguably-infrequently-asked Frequently Asked Questions be your guide.

Adaptation, Appropriation, Influence: Using Other Cultures to Build Fictional Worlds, GeekGirlCon ’16. Photo by Danny Ngan.


What makes a stand-out panel application? What level of detail is preferred?

First of all, applications need to have every field completed. Additionally, the best have thorough “Panel Descriptions” that clearly articulate not only what the panel’s content would be, but also how that content clearly aligns to GeekGirlCon’s mission. It is encouraged that you have at least a couple prospective panelists identified in the application. This shows the panel selection committee that you have a real plan for making the panel actually happen were it to be selected. Ultimately, the more detail you include in the application, the better!

What qualifies someone to be a panelist?

The key to being a good panelist is not as clear-cut as you may expect. It’s important that in your application, you first demonstrate that you have some sort of expertise on the subject matter you plan to discuss. (This is not as scary as it sounds! Expertise can be education-based, experience-based, etc.) Equally as important, however, is your enthusiasm. When vetting panelists, the panel selection committee will consider your aforementioned expertise and enthusiasm and also review your online presence to determine if you would be a good fit for GeekGirlCon.

What sort of subject matter is best suited to GeekGirlCon’s mission?

At GeekGirlCon, we celebrate the legacy of women and other underrepresented groups in science, comics, gaming, and the arts. Panels that explore these sorts of contributions align perfectly with our mission. Additionally, panels that discuss diversity and inclusion are immensely valuable to our community.

What have you not seen in the past that you’d like to see?

We’re always looking for more panels about anime and non-Western fandoms! We’re also looking for more panels that center the voices of women of color, people with disabilities, and others who have been traditionally excluded from popular media.

How do I know if my idea is geeky enough?

GeekGirlCon has received panel submissions for a range of subjects that aren’t traditionally “geeky,” from the history of Judaism in horror movies to geeks and fitness. If your subject’s topical, we want to hear about it!  What matters most is that you have plans to present your ideas in an exciting and engaging manner, and that you’re excited to share them with GeekGirlCon’s community.

Can I submit panel ideas specifically for GeekGirlCon After Dark?

Yes! If you would like your panel to only be considered for the After Dark programming block, please indicate that in your application.

Finally, here are some examples of superbly mission-aligned panels that appeared at GeekGirlcon ‘16:

1. Getting Away With Murder

How accurate is the forensic science in TV shows, movies, and books? What’s the best way to get rid of a body? How do criminal databases actually work? What is the Prosecutor’s Fallacy? Can you get DNA evidence from crab lice? Will your browser history sink you? Scientists discuss the real science behind forensic investigations compared to what we see in our media. Join us to see what isn’t accurate and what definitely is!

2. Mahou Shojou: Magical Girls!

Let your henshin wand fly! Magical girls have been a staple of Japanese animation since 1968, grabbing the heart and imagination of a young Japanese female audience. We’ll explore the historical and cultural rise of the magical girl while taking care to consider the reasons for their popularity, narratives that explore issues relating to gender and female sexuality, and if these narratives are truly empowering for female fans.

3. Finding Your Place in the Wizarding World: Race & Identity in Harry Potter

Many characters in Harry Potter struggle with their identity and how it impacts their standing in the Wizarding World. Often this identity is shown through the lens of blood status, but the intersectionality between race and other identities also shape people, both in the Wizarding World and its fandom. As the Wizarding World continues to expand, more cultures are included and representation becomes more important—and problematic. How does this change the fandom and the world we fell in love with?

Saving Sci-Fi & Fantasy: POC, Women, & LGBTQ Voices Saving the Genre, GeekGirlCon ’16. Photo by Danny Ngan.


That’s all for now, but if you have more questions about what makes GeekGirlCon panels so amazing, don’t hesitate to contact Marina at We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

Teal Christensen
“Rock On!”

Teal Christensen

Teal is a recently-graduated English literature student with more unfinalized future plans than favorite songs from Hamilton. Her main hobbies are reading books, thinking about books, and talking about books.

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