June Geek of the Month: Susie Rantz

Hey everyone! Shubz here with your monthly installment of Geek of the Month! Let’s learn a little more about our awesome PR Manager, Susie!

Susie as Hawkgirl and Stephanie as Starbuck (Photo: GuyEatsOctopus.com)

Name: Susie Rantz
Occupation: Account Supervisor at GMMB, a communications and advertising company that works for nonprofits, government programs, and companies doing amazing things to improve lives across the world.
Position in GeekGirlCon: PR Manager

1: What are you geeky about right now?
Right now, I can’t get enough of Game of Thrones. That “Blackwater” episode? So amazing. I also am exploring video game development, and more specifically the Unity 3D game engine, and am really digging the Princeless comic books.

2: How did you find out about GeekGirlCon?
A Facebook friend posted about an event GeekGirlCon was hosting. After further investigation, I thought the organization sounded amazing. So far, working for GeekGirlCon has exceeded my expectations.

3: Why did you choose to get involved with GeekGirlCon?
I chose to get involved because I loved GeekGirlCon’s mission to support people in exploring who they are and what they love. There is a lot of negativity right now in the world. People see things as black and white, liberal and conservative, wrong and right, etc. I wanted to be part of an organization that tore down these walls that separate us, that opened its arms to anyone.

4: How do you incorporate your geekiness into your everyday work/life?
I’ve never really thought about NOT incorporating geekiness into everyday life. 🙂 In my day job, I get to work with a range of people using technology to improve lives around the world. At lot of the time, I use my love for web programming and social media to do this. Outside of work, I recently built a website for my dad’s flight instruction company in Eastern Washington and am currently sketching out plans to build a video game. Finally, I read a lot of fantasy and science fiction books as I’m currently working on a young adult novel; reading great books is the best form of homework!

5: What’s the best thing about being a geek?
There is so much out there in the world for geeks. The fastest-growing careers in the United States are in science, technology, and engineering. Video games continue to evolve, with many being used in education and cause-related advocacy. Being a geek can be an incredibly empowering thing — for women, girls, boys, men, everyone. And, on top of all that, you get to explore worlds where a black man can be captain of a ship, or a woman can be the leader of a country, with no questions asked.

Thanks for all your awesome work, Susie! Readers, it’s your turn for us to get to know a bit about you – How do you incorporate being a geek into your everyday life?

“Rock On!”

April Geek of the Month: Erica McGillivray

Hi everyone! Shubz here with our monthly installment of GeekGirlCon’s Staffer of the Month! For April, read about our President and Marketing Director, Erica!

Name: Erica McGillivray
Occupation: Community Attache at SEOmoz
Position in GeekGirlCon: President and Marketing Director

1: What are you geeky about right now?
I’m totally geeky out on content creation for inbound marketers lately. I know, probably seems boring. But I’ve been putting together another conference, MozCon 2012, and working with speakers to figure out their technical marketing talks. We’re talking crazy stuff like G+ for SEO, mining the Open Graph for customer personas, rapid fire link building tips, and more.

2: How did you find out about GeekGirlCon?
I heard that some women were getting together to talk about building a convention to celebrate geeky women via Twitter. I showed up to the first meeting, and here I am almost 2 years later.

3: Why did you choose to get involved with GeekGirlCon?
I believe in creating community, women supporting women, and making the geekdom friendly for all people, not just cis, het white men who are able-bodied. I’ve been a huge geek all my life and believe that women play a huge — though often overlooked or under-appreciated — role in making geekdom awesome.

4: When did you figure out you were a geek?
I’ve basically been a geek since birth, so a very long time ago. But the first time I really remember knowing the difference between geeks and non-geeks was when my cat Tasha — named after Tasha Yar on Star Trek: TNG — had kittens. I was about 8 years old, and my parents wouldn’t let me keep all the kittens. One of my mom’s friends and her children came to pick up Worf to give him a new home. I freaked out because my mom told me that they were going to rename him Rocky. Despite trying to convince them that Star Trek was amazing and Worf was a great name, they wrote about their new cat Rocky in their next holiday letter.

5: What’s the geekiest thing you’ve done?
Too many things to count?

In 2007, I went to San Diego Comic-Con for the first (and probably only) time with my friend Pearl. We were supposed to go with our other friend Katelyn; but due to being a broke college graduate, she had to bow out. She’d been pretty down in spirits as she’d had a hard time finding a job — as had many of our classmates — and had to move back in with her family. Right around SDCC time, Katelyn found a job and moved out of her parent’s house, but still couldn’t attend with us.

So Pearl and I conspired to get Cliff Simon — Ba’al from Stargate: SG-1 — to sign an autograph for her that congratulated her on the job and new apartment. Cliff found the whole shenanigans pretty entertaining. Here’s what he wrote: http://t.co/VoPoayqk. And to this day, Katelyn still finds it amusing.

You rock, Erica! Thanks for all that you do and contribute to the team and community!

Let’s keep the conversation going: What’s the geekiest thing you’ve done?

“Rock On!”

March Geek of the Month: Kristine Hassell

Hey everyone!

We at GeekGirlCon thought it would be great to spotlight one staff member per month so you can see who’s behind the scenes putting together GeekGirlCon 2012. Here’s the first one!

Kristine HassellName: Kristine Hassell
Occupation: Impenitent gadabout
Position in GeekGirlCon: Twitter Administrator

1: What are you geeky about right now?
I nerd over several things right now. My longstanding RPG has gone on a short creative hiatus so I’ve been having a blast with D&D in the interim! I play a female Vryloka vampire in a weekly campaign. If our game had a tagline, it would read: “Two noble ladies; one a mistress of the Shadowfell, one a daughter of the Feywild, join forces over the centuries to strengthen and defend their honoured families.” I have played in several games and it’s been an absolute blast! We even made custom tokens using washers bought from the hardware store and one inch cut-outs of the characters.

On the left, Geisha by Xiuyuan. On the right, Kristine's cello.

Second, the cello. I am fulfilling a lifelong dream to learn how to play this gorgeous instrument. No matter how much I complain about it, I secretly love the fact that I’m (slowly) leveling up my skill. I am proud of the callouses on my fingertips or any time when my left ring finger knows exactly where F# is! One day I want to play a piece of music from memory, but until then, I’ll enjoy my weekly lessons with my exceedingly patient teacher and remember to have fun.

Lastly, all things Marvel. I mentioned in my GeekGirlCon bio that my father would bring home Marvel comics from the Naval base every month. My Marvel lust has been rekindled with the recent films (Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor). I’m re-reading comics from our local library and I’m counting down the days until the Avengers Assemble release! It also doesn’t hurt that Hiddleston makes such a swoonerific Loki…

Still from Thor (2011)

2: How did you find out about GeekGirlCon?
I saw a flyer last year and wanted to know more. After attending the amazing Jane Espenson panel, I fell in love with the entire vibe of the con, far different from any other that I had attended.

Jane Espenson, Photo by Adam Bouska

3: Why did you choose to get involved with GeekGirlCon?
I was so impressed with the way the first year’s con went that I knew I needed to be a part of their second year. Being a geek for most of my life and feeling that stigma associated with it, I wanted to give something back. I want to show solidarity with my fellow sisters who love comics and anime and sci-fi! Nerding out over who’s the best doctor (4th… because you never forget your first doctor) or who would win in a fight, cavemen and astronauts? I’d love to be a role model who gives something back but I also wanted to work with some amazing people… which I DO!

4. When did you figure out you were a geek?
The event that stands out in my head is when my father let me skip school to watch Empire Strikes Back with him on opening day. He wrote a note excusing my absence and we waited in line with many others at the historic Alabama Theatre in Houston. Seriously it was a breathtaking theatre, click the link!

The historic Alabama Theatre in Houston

5. What’s the geekiest thing you’ve ever done?
The list is long but the one that readily pops to mind involves the final Harry Potter book. My partner and I went to a midnight release party to buy it then raced home, excited to have it in our greedy paws. Once we reached the house, he raised a good point. “Um… who’s going to read it first?” I graciously offered since I’m a speed reader. He shook his head and said, “No.” I continued to plead my very valid case. If he let me read it, starting that night for example, I could have it finished in a day… two tops! He offered a different suggestion: since we both wanted to read the book, why not read it aloud to each other before bed? We’d alternate on chapters, do voices, the whole nine yards… and neither of us would be spoiled before the other. We started that night and it became our fun ritual – a single chapter read before sleep and then the subsequent discussion of what we had just read. It took us over a month but neither of us cared because it was so much fun!

Thanks for contributing, Kristine!

Now here’s a question for everyone: When did you find out you were a geek?

“Rock On!”

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