Live Blog: Tech Jobs You Never Knew You Wanted

Hey everyone. We are in Room 204 for Tech Jobs You Never Knew You Wanted. Here is the description for this panel.

Tech Jobs You Never Knew You Wanted – RM204
As professional women in technology, many of us are in positions we never knew existed when we
started working. Bridging the gap can be difficult if you don’t know where to start or where to go. Panelists
include engineers and a database administrator from Twitter, a network engineer from Wikimedia, CEO
and founder at Interface Guru, and a technical project manager at Arizona State University.
Presented by Lisa Phillips, Dana Contreras, Henna Kermani, Leslie Carr, Cia Romano, Nicole Phillips

The room is packed!

Lisa Phillips is introducing the panel: let’s talk about the technology jobs you do not often hear about in the media. The women on the panel have about 40 years in combined experience. One thing that unites these women: they all love their jobs. Lisa’s handle is @lisaphillips on Twitter.

Dana (@danadanger): Working as a programmer at Twitter, working on the infrastructure (the behind-the-scenes stuff). “We are like the Postal Service for your tweets.” <– Cute! Dana doesn’t have any formal training for tech at all; she is entirely self taught.

Henna: Software engineer at Twitter in international engineering (things that make Twitter work in other languages. Henna is the only one at this table with a computer science degree.

Leslie: Works for Wikimedia, the foundation for Wikipedia. She has also worked for Craigslist and Google.

Nicole: Went to Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in design studies. After graduating, Nicole started working in sales and technical support at GoDaddy. Moved up the ladder over four years, and now works as a business analyst at Arizona State.

QUESTION: Why computer and technology jobs? Why should women work in technology?

Answers:

Leslie – I get to have pink hair, and nobody bats an eye when I interview. One of the great things about tech jobs is that you get a lot of flexibility to work from home, or work ANYWHERE. “I can work a few days from Europe if I’m on vacation.” (That sounds like magic!).

Dana – Because technology companies are always working on leading-edge stuff and people are trying to come up with new ways to think about things, that applies to business environments as well and how businesses treat employees. At Twitter, we have an open vacation policy (Susie’s note: I know Netflix does this as well).

Lisa – I have worked for a San Francisco-based company for many years (I think I heard 12 years), but have only had to work in San Francisco for two of those years. Women aren’t having to choose between children and their jobs.

Leslie – Because Wikimedia is a nonprofit, we don’t feel pressure to work insane hours. If I say I have to get something done, I get it done … but my boss never pressures me to work until midnight. “I keep fixing things, so fewer things go wrong. And then when something does go wrong, it is a challenge and I find it exciting.” <– I paraphrased, but great quote.

QUESTION: Where do you learn to do the coding / technology skills on your own?

Answers:

Lisa – In the U.S. right now, only a few states allow computer science to count toward your graduation requirements in high school.

Henna – I had done no coding until college. I have always been interested in computers, but I was always more of a book nerd. I was always interested in learning what was going on behind the scenes with computers, and that’s why I chose a computer science program. I felt like I was competing with boys who had been coding since they were 4. But I found that other boys in my classes felt that way also, as some of these boys hadn’t been coding since birth.

Lisa – A network of smart people is key. People who excel in tech are able to be okay being around people who are smarter than them. I started at an ISP (several on the panel has ISP backgrounds). There, I was given the opportunity to learn from my peers and took advantage of every opportunity. Take on projects you didn’t think you could take on. Be okay with making mistakes.

Nicole – A study found that women tend to be over-mentored. It is important to draw distinction between someone who is a mentor for you, and someone who is an advocate. A mentor is focused on giving you advice; an advocate is someone who is going to go to bat for you at a particular organization.

Leslie – Tech support is a great place to start. You get to talk to a lot of parts of your organization. This gives you the opportunity to ask people if you can learn about their jobs. You learn, and then those people no longer have to do X task. A great tip!

Another great tip from Lisa: Don’t worry about not having the qualifications that match the job skill postings 100 percent. You do not have to match the requirements exactly. Don’t be scared by that! Send your resume in for jobs if you really want to work for the company. Highlight where your experience matches their company and the job posting.

(2:00 p.m. – This blogger has to run, but hope everyone enjoys the rest of the panel)

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Live Blog: Making Science Fun … With NASA

Hey, everyone. Susie Rantz here; I’ll be live-blogging at the Making Science Fun … with NASA panel. Here’s the description for this one:

Making Science Fun (with NASA)! – RM204
The Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Education and Public Outreach at NASA wants kids to be more engaged in science. This group of experienced NASA staff will give you tips from their educational programs to improve interest and science literacy in children of all backgrounds. And you will have the opportunity to ask them about what might work in your school or community.
Presented by Martha Wawro, Wendy Van Norden, Dawn Myers, Holly Csiga, Alice Enevoldsen

As a space geek, I’m really excited about this one. Lots of kids here. So awesome. Be sure to check out NASA at the GeekGirlConnections Room (101).

Holly Csiga, runs live performances at the Pacific Science Center, introducing herself: Born and raised in Alaska.

My favorite quote from her intro: “Science — when informally mixed with arts — can take you anywhere.”

Alice Enevoldsen, planetarium supervisor at the Pacific Science Center (who else loves the Science Center?). Alice started working at the planetarium in high school – wow!

My favorite quote from the intro: “Scientists are multi-faceted; they don’t just sit in a lab doing science all the time. Science is everywhere.”

Dawn Myers: Works at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Does outreach to children about science and also helps run Solar Observing satellite. Cool!

Martha Wawro is the education and outreach lead with NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory. Martha has been to Seattle three times in the last year for work; she also went to India to work at a space festival, and Alaska in June. Who wants her job?! 🙂

My favorite quote: “Our goal is to change people’s behaviors and ideas about science.”

Think Like a Scientist (tips for parents)
Encourage your kids to take notes. Any event that has multiple potential outcomes are great learning opportunities for your kids. Give kids the opportunity to think through a problem in multiple ways.

Activities
Now we are doing an activity that makes us think like a scientist. We are first being asked to OBSERVE what’s on the screen, not INFER. We are looking at footprints at the moment. Now we are being asked to INFER what happened to the footprints based on the observations. The point of this activity – we all came up with dozens of different scenarios. We don’t know for sure which scenario was right. The next step would be to do more research. The thought process with your kids is the most important process.

Select Resources Nearby

Pacific Science Center
Camps for Curious Minds (K-8)
Discovery Corps (gr. 8-12)

NASA
Women@NASA

IGNITE
Mentorship, internships

Expanding Your Horizons
Middle school and high school conferences

FabFems
Connect with local women in science, etc.

MESA
K-12 educational enrichment

NASA just introduced Camilla, their rubber chicken mascot, who HAS been to space.

In Q&A – someone asks how we can get people more excited about math. The answer? We need to keep separating math from everyone else, including science. We need to incorporate it into everyday life. There’s even a Space Math @ NASA website!

We are now talking about how to incorporate math and science into princess talk. Those cone-hats that princesses wear? That’s geometry. Making a princess dress requires measurement. We can measure the circumference of a tiara! Also, along with your bedtime stories, you can do bedtime math with your kids! Check out their website: http://bedtimemathproblem.org.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’12 Merchandise

It is the moment you have all been waiting for, one of our last big reveals for GeekGirlCon ‘12: our exclusive GeekGirlCon merch!

We know you’ll be busy catching panels, checking out games, and networking at the GeekGirlConnections room. But don’t forget to stop by the Exhibitor Hall on the third floor! You won’t regret it. In fact, you’ll likely empty your pockets after you see what the amazing exhibitors and artists have on display.

Find exclusive GeekGirlCon merchandise at Booth 300!

Preview some of the nerdtastic and geekarific products we’ll have available for purchase this year. These are exclusive and custom-designed items, folks! T-shirts, tote bags, and buttons – OH MY! We’ll also have limited (only 20!) dice bags and limited (only 50!) six-sided die, as well as a whole stack of severely awesome GeekGirlCon bumper stickers.

Here’s the pricing for our merch:
• T-shirt: $17
• Tote Bag: $12
Dice Bag: $7
Dice: $2
Bumper Sticker: $2
Buttons: 2 for $1 (We have 12 awesome designs!)

Be sure to stop by Booth 300 to get some Fresh Merch! You know you want some of that geeky goodness!

What else are you hoping to snag at GeekGirlCon ‘12?

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Ask GeekGirlCon: Cosplay at GeekGirlCon ’12

Earlier today, as a way to share our excitement for GeekGirlCon ‘12, we shared the workshops, events, and games that GeekGirlCon staff members wanted to catch on the Gaming floor.

We couldn’t bundle all our joy in one post, however. So we are following up with some staff responses to a question about what cosplay they would love to see at our convention. Will you be cosplaying as one of these characters?

L.B. Chambers, Special Events Coordinator: I’m always excited to see group cosplay of any kind, but maybe a Mass Effect party cosplay? That would be amazing! Also, any kids cosplay is always super adorable and impressive; I hope to see some great kids costumes! Maybe a little Buffy or a little Edward Scissorhands? I can only hope! 🙂

Jessica (Jex) Ballard, Volunteer Director: I would love to see some great old school gaming icons like Zelda, Link, Samus … ooo, Bowser would be great! Or Megaman! OMG I want it all!

Alyssa Jones, Gameroom Coordinator: I would really love to see some awesome female video game characters! Zelda, Samus, Lillith from Borderlands, Lady Bowser (ok, I may of made that last one up, but someone should totally do it!)

Erica McGillivray, President and Marketing Director: I’m super excited for the Masquerade. Cosplay is one of my favorite expressions of fannish joy, and I’m so excited to see what amazing costumes our talented attendees come up with this year!

Julia Santo, Programming Operations Director: I’d like to see some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cosplay, because that would rock.

Jennifer K. Stuller, Programming Creative Director: I loved all the imaginative cosplay at GeekGirlCon ’11, from tiny Princess Leias (Moon of Endor Leia! Princess Gown & Cinnamon Bun-Hair Leia! Hoth Leia!) to the Golden Age Red Tornado to the fabulously subversive gender-bent crossplay.

This year, I’d love to see a Wonder Family: Queen Hippolyta, Wonder Woman, Wonder Girl, and Wonder Tot! Wouldn’t that be lovely and amazing?!? I’m hoping performers, Lady Laycock, and her partner, Al Lykya, revisit their Buffybot and Spike costumes from the inaugural GeekGirlCon at Seattle Center and am looking forward to seeing all the Buffy-themed costumes at the “Once More With Feeling” sing-along. I’ll be wearing my yummy sushi pajamas and terrifying bunny slippers in homage!

Adrienne Fox, Copywriter: Cosplay is one of the best things about cons. I’m hoping to see more Dana Scully and Abby Scuito costumes this year. And, I’d love to see more adaptations of costumes into everyday wear, similar to these great designs.

Anna Daniell, Facebook Administrator: I love crossplay or clever combinations of characters in one costume. I hope to see some costumes ideas that I’ve never seen before. Also, child and baby costumes just melt my heart so I hope to see some more of those. The little Leias last year were adorable!

Tammy Vince Cruz, Vice President and Design Manager: Honestly, where’s that adorable little gal dressed as Voltron at? I’d love to see more mecha cosplay at GeekGirlCon ‘12 for sure.

Kristine Hassell, Twitter Administrator: Avengers Crossplay would be totally made of WIN!

Susie Rantz, PR Manager: I would love to see Merida from Brave — someone has to be able to rock that awesome red hair! And some Jetsons cosplay would be amazing! I love bringing back some of the classics.

Shiboo Blalack, PR Content Producer: Is all of it a cliche thing to say? What I love about cosplay is it’s open up to the interpretation and self expression of the cosplayer. It’ll be really dope to see what our Con-goers come up with, regardless of who or what they’re cosplaying as!

Laurel McJannet, Web Content Producer: I am a geek with a short attention span because there are too many geek interests to just pick one! I never fit in any one geek group because I didn’t think I had the geek cred to fit in. Since joining the GeekGirlCon staff this summer, I’ve found a home for my geekiness. That said, I’m looking for to my first GeekGirlCon this year. I’m going to sit on the sidelines and take in the cosplay and probably stick my toe in the proverbial gaming waters, but I’m looking forward to the “Using UX to Make Websites Sexy,” GeekGirlConnections, and getting to know my fellow staffers better.

Okay, if you couldn’t tell, we are incredibly excited to see all of you at our convention.

What cosplay characters are you hoping to see at the convention? Who will you be cosplaying as at GeekGirlCon ‘12?

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Making Connections at GeekGirlCon ’12

We learned a lot from running our first convention last year. We learned there was incredible demand for a con that celebrated the female geek, geared towards geeky girls and women, and with no “geek cred” required. So much so, that we sold out GeekGirlCon ‘11 on both days. We learned that the famous quote from Field of Dreams is true: “If you build it, they will come.”

That goes for attendees, but the same can be said for our guests as well. We learned that experts in science, technology, comics, and other fields were extremely supportive of our mission. And we are so lucky to have a range of amazing returning and new guests coming to GeekGirlCon ‘12 — guests who enjoyed the excitement and vibe last year or who heard all the buzz and couldn’t wait to attend.

Guests like comic book writers Gail Simone, Jen Van Meter, and Greg Rucka. Or local geeks M.J. McDermott, Purple Reign, Jamala Henderson, and Corrinne Yu. Women with incredible experience, like illustrator and Womanthology creator Renae de Liz, or television writer Jane Espenson, or actress and Her Universe founder Ashley Eckstein.

Finally, we learned that you all wanted more time with these guests and other panelists, more time to learn how they achieved what they did and get tips for jumpstarting your own career.

That is why we are so excited to offer GeekGirlConnections, a room open the entire convention that will provide a place for attendees to network, make connections, and receive career advice.

It has always been the goal of GeekGirlCon to spotlight, support, and celebrate women in fields like comics and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). This year, we are taking that one step further and giving our attendees direct access to professionals who have the answers to your burning career questions.

This includes professionals like women from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory’s Education and Public Outreach team (perhaps they can talk about Curiosity’s little (okay, HUGE) trip to Mars…), professional designers, technologists, editors from Dark Horse Comics, and more.

Here’s a preview of what you can expect to find in the GeekGirlConnections room:

 Career planning support
 The opportunity to networking with professionals
• Organizations looking for YOU!

No business card? No problem– use the GeekGirlConnections Card below to share your contact info with all the new GeekGirls you meet at the Con. (Click on the image below and download.)

The biggest thing we learned from last year’s convention was that GeekGirlCon should be a place for you to make connections —  with old friends and new friends, interesting careers, cool geeky products, or with your favorite writers, producers, creators, and artists.

So be sure to stop by GeekGirlConnections in Room 101. We can’t wait to help you connect to your future!

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Gail Simone at GeekGirlCon ‘12

Gail Simone

One of GeekGirlCon’s strongest advocates is none other than Gail Simone, the fantastic comic book writer at DC Comics who has worked on Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, The Fury of Firestorm, and many other great comics.

We are so fortunate to have her back for GeekGirlCon ‘12, where she’s already scheduled to participate in two panels:

Saturday, August 11, 11:30 a.m. – Gail Simone and the Batgirl of San Diego

Sunday, August 12, 11:30 a.m. – A Fate Worse than Death: The Last “Outsider” in Popular Culture – Disability

However, we knew you couldn’t handle just one panel with Gail, so today, we are happy to announce that Gail will have her own spotlight panel on Sunday, August 12. Check out the details below.

Sunday at 1:30 – 2:20 p.m. (Room 205)
SPOTLIGHT ON GAIL SIMONE
This spotlight will start with a freewheeling discussion with critically acclaimed author of comics and animation, Gail Simone, and include a question and answer session at the end. She will be discussing her comics work, from Deadpool to Simpsons to Birds of Prey to Batgirl, as well as her views on females in comics and other social issues. This promises to be a lively hour with this popular and entertaining writer!
Moderated by Erica J Heflin

Gail will also be doing a media signing starting at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday (check out our full signing schedule). And just to top off this super sundae of awesomeness with a huge bowl of cherries, Gail will be hanging out in the GeekGirlConnections room from 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. on Sunday. During this hour, Gail will be reviewing portfolios and talking to aspiring writers one-on-one.

Gail has been one of our most vocal advocates from day one. She likely convinced many of you to head to our convention (because when Gail Simone tells us to do something, we listen!). Just today, Gail posted this great blog on her website, previewing the convention and its GeekGirlConnections room.

She also had this to say about GeekGirlCon and the GeekGirlConnections room: “One of the most rewarding things, one of the best reasons for me to go to conventions, is to get to meet aspiring creators, and hopefully help give them a little bit of encouragement and real-world advice on how to attain their goals. It’s inspiring to see someone new and watch them learn to share their art and imagination with the audience.”

We can’t wait to have Gail in town for the weekend and are excited to have two more opportunities for you to interact with her during the convention.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

GeekGirlCon ’12 Preview: Lady Coders

In one of our last GeekGirlCon ‘12 previews, we want to tell you about some amazing Lady Coders: Tarah Wheeler Van Vlack, Liz Dahlstrom, and Lorraine Sawiki — all female programmers.

This dynamic trio has launched a new organization, LadyCoders, which will provide seminars and trainings that help women land jobs in a technical field. They even have a Kickstarter project that ends August 14, which they are hoping will help jumpstart some of this work.

The Lady Coders are also hosting a panel at GeekGIrlCon ‘12, “A Career as a Lady Coder II: Getting the Job.” It is a follow-up to a panel hosted at last year’s convention, which focused on what it is like to code for a living and how to succeed. This year, panelists want to help you get the job. They have also added a computer science student to help show technical geeks of all types how to get on a solid path toward a rewarding programming position.

You can catch this panel on Saturday from 2:30 – 3:20 p.m. in Room 301/302.

We caught up with the panelists, and they graciously agreed to answer a few of our questions. Check out their answers below!

1: Okay, first off, we have to ask – what are you all geeky about right now?

Liz: I have a strong desire to hack into my DEFCON badge and figure out how it works!

Lorraine: I have an idea for an arduino sculpture to put in my front yard garden. I love combining my tech skills with my passions, so I’ve been getting a lot of satisfaction working on an android app as well when I have the time. I also had a blast creating the logo and web design for LadyCoders!

Tarah: I just got back from DEFCON and have discovered a newfound joy in lockpicking and cryptography. I’m also big into modifying and improving operating systems, and I am trying to match the perfect Android flavor (Vegan Tab, CM9, etc) to my gTablet. Mostly, though, I’m nerding out over the original Sandman run; I bought the original TPBs in the early 90s, but they got ripped off before I could finish them. That’s what my tablet is for now: it is a very nifty and highly specialized comic book reading machine.

2: How did you meet?

Tarah: I am a tanguera–a tango dancer. A few years ago, I met a great dancer and I keep running into him every so often; he’s a Sharepoint dev, so we keep in touch. He introduced me to Liz, who was also doing some Sharepoint work at that time, and Liz and I hit it off as developers and buddies. When I had the original idea to hold a panel at GeekGirlCon to show young women what being a software developer was like, Liz was the first person I called–and frankly, the only one. She was the only other senior software developer I knew.

Lorraine: I saw the name for Tarah’s panel at last year’s GeekGirlCon, and I thought it would be an awesome domain to build a lady-oriented technology site around. Tarah looked up ladycoders.com a few months later and was surprised that someone in Seattle, let alone another lady in tech, owned it! We met at a coffee shop and briefly discussed our interests. Afterwards, Tarah sent a quick intro to Liz that said something along the lines of “I found us a new friend!” Less than a month later, I emailed both Liz and Tarah, and even though I hardly knew them I went with my gut and proposed we start a project together. After that there was an energy and flow to our ideas, leading to our Kickstarter campaign as well as a number of other ideas for the future.

3: What has been the most rewarding thing about working together?

Lorraine: I’ve rarely worked with women on the same team, and I’ve never worked in an all-ladies tech team before! It’s been awesome to share our experiences and knowledge with each other. We also have rather varied skills, so I think we’ll be learning from each other as well.

Tarah: I would say it’s the way we pick up the reins effortlessly from each other when there’s a problem or a hitch. We all assume that the other two are competent and hardworking, and that we all have different specialties. As a result, there’s no hurt feelings or issues when someone has more experience or ability in a certain area, and they take the lead. We assume that the others have skills and abilities that we do not; I would never tell Lorraine how to design perfect UX or Liz how to create a DB structure, even though I know both of those things to some extent. They are better at them.

4: What are some obstacles each of you have faced in your individual careers and how have you overcome them?

Lorraine: There are so many things that I wish I could share with the younger version of myself. That the flexibility I so desired with my career would eventually work out. That there are multiple paths in a tech career, ranging from a traditional 9-5, to freelancing, and possibly a startup! That my desire to wear certain outfits expressed naivety more than individuality. I also didn’t know how to negotiate for a higher salary or deal with overly demanding freelancing clients. I overcame a lot of this by making good friends in the tech industry, and through the friendships getting a great ego boost about my own skills and what I’m worth.

Tarah: Often, women ask me about some of the sexual harassment I’ve had to deal with, and they’re surprised when I tell them that I have never experienced actual sexual harassment in the tech workplace…absolutely none. I have, however, seen the effects of sexism. They’re very different creatures; sexism has more to do with an unconscious assumption of incompetence than anything overt.

I know that there are at least three jobs that I have not been promoted into or gotten simply because I’m female, and the assumption was that I could not handle a team of male developers. So, I did an end run around many of the neolithic attitudes I saw by simply declaring victory and forming my own company. If I’d known how rewarding it was, I would have done it sooner. Besides, the fault usually lies on the part of sexist execs and hiring managers, not developers. Some of my best friends are male developers 😉 I guess the final lesson is that I stopped thinking of sexist hiring managers as obstacles to my career, and started thinking of them as the people who are leaving solid, hardcore programming talent on the table for me to scoop up.

5. What sort of messages are you hoping to share through your participation at GeekGirlCon ’12?

Tara, Lorraine, and Liz: Lady geeks make great friends! 🙂 Your choices are your own. We’re going to show you that you have more choices than you thought you did. After that, it’s up to you.

Thanks, Lady Coders! Don’t forget to catch their panel this Sunday.

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Video Game Character Designs, Big Fish Games, and GeekGirlCon ’12

Many of you expressed total excitement when you saw the artwork of dresses that embodied Avengers characters. These drawings came from Amanda Hemmons, a 25-year-old Seattle artist.

Amanda is also daughter of Big Fish Games’ Portuguese language editor, and when she reached out to her mom about creating a similar drawing featuring video game characters, Big Fish Games jumped at the opportunity.

Check out Amanda’s designs below, which Big Fish Games will have on display at GeekGirlCon ‘12. As GeekGirlCon President Erica McGillivray mentioned in a Wired interview about the designs, we love that they feature a range of clothing styles and include different body types and ethnicities. On top of that, these are some really great interpretations that we think will inspire cosplayers.

Could you guess all the video game characters? You can confirm your guesses over at Big Fish Games’ blog.

Be sure to check them out in person at our convention this weekend (and don’t forget to buy your passes before we sell out).

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

Geek of the Month: Amanda Powter

Hello, everyone! GeekGirlCon ’12 takes place in less than a week, which gives us just enough time for a Geek of the Month staff profile.

August’s Geek of the Month is Amanda Powter, a copywriter here at GeekGirlCon. Amanda also served as project manager for our programming booklet. We honestly couldn’t have put it all together without her amazing organization, Excel, and copy-editing skills. If you see Amanda at the convention, be sure to say hello and thank her for all she’s done.

In the meantime, here are some more details about Amanda.

Name: Amanda Powter
Occupation: Director of Product Management in Software Development
Position in GeekGirlCon: Copywriter

1: What are you geeky about right now?
So many things. I’ve been working a lot with things like descriptive metadata, faceted classification, and polyhierarchical taxonomies for television programming and related areas. I’m fortunate to be able to geek out about data almost every day in my job. Not much makes me happier than delivering useful information products and systems out of crazy amounts of messy data. I also like to get elbow-deep in the data itself and am working to take my SQL/query skills to the next level with new tools and ways of playing with data. On the other side, I have been experimenting with modernist cuisine as I work my way through some of the tomes. My early attempts have not been particularly successful, but I’m determined to get some serious spherification going on. I like the mix of abstract-ish and tangible/edible. And sous vide is just kinda cool.

2: How did you find out about GeekGirlCon?
I actually don’t remember–probably from my blogroll. I just remember hearing about it, buying a pass early on, and then watching with interest over the months leading up to the con. The beauty of the execution of that first con and the consistent energy the whole time were really impressive.

3: Why did you choose to get involved with GeekGirlCon?
I attended GeekGirlCon ‘11 and had a great time. It was only my second con, but I loved it and thought it was organized incredibly well. That amazing execution was a huge part of wanting to join. I wanted to contribute, make geeky women friends, and be part of an organization I already admired.

4: What’s your favorite thing about GeekGirlCon?
No “geek cred” required. I consider myself a “geek of all trades,” which might run counter to the very definition of “geek” for some people. I love the fact that “geek” has become more inclusive, and I think that actually makes it even better to be a geek. There’s a power in the commonalities of geekery, but it is so much stronger when that comes from diversity and incorporates differences.

5: What’s the best thing about being a geek?
The ability to get hopelessly, unabashedly lost in something just because it is–whatever it is.

Thanks, Amanda!

Guest Contributor
“Rock On!”

The GeekGirlCon ’12 Survival Guide

Hey everyone! We’re all gearing up for another successful GeekGirlCon and have put together this list for you to make sure you’re ready to go, too!

Planning is key. Even for the convention veteran, a little bit of planning can go a long way to a better con experience.

What to wear, what to wear!

For those of you that aren’t going to be in cosplay (see below) this year, dressing in layers with comfortable shoes is best. GeekGirlCon ‘12 may be in the beginning of August, but our weather in the Pacific Northwest can and will fluctuate. Bring a light jacket or a sweater for those less than sunny days.

Cosplay

Cosplay is the practice of dressing up in a costume to resemble a character. It’s not unusual to see cosplayers running about at a convention, and GeekGirlCon ‘12 will be no different. Of course, we do want people to keep it family friendly and safe. If you’re thinking about joining the crowd and wearing a costume, remember it must be “street legal” and no thongs or g-strings. You may be asked to cover up if we receive complaints or if GeekGirlCon staff deem the cosplay is appropriate for all ages.

Cosplay Weapons

Some cosplayers have weapons like pistols, shotguns, daggers, swords, staves, and other accoutrements that are key elements of the characters they portray. If you are planning to cosplay with any weapons please read our Cosplay Weapons policy. If you are new to cosplay, look for the orange tip or the “peace bonding” on weapons. Peace bonding is a ziptie that identifies your weapon to staff and attendees as safe and approved.

Photo etiquette

Many folks appreciate a great costume. If you are one of those who love to look at others’ garb and take pictures, please be considerate and ask permission prior to taking their picture. This even applies to non-costumed folks that might be wearing “THE BEST T-SHIRT EVER” or socks, or hat, or whatever. Ask first.

Trying to see it all

Carefully look over the programming of both Saturday and Sunday and plot out what ideally you would like to see. Some decisions will have to be made, you may have to choose between two or even more panels that you really, really want to see. But if you don’t plan, you might miss everything all together. Make sure you also set some time aside to check out the vendors!

Registration

Everyone must exchange their ticket for a badge at the Registration Table. Even if you’ve pre-registered, you still need to get your badge.

We’re all friends here

Remember we’re all here because we love the same things. So be awesome to your fellow geek!

Food/Beverage

It sounds silly, but remember to eat and to drink plenty of water! Sometimes you can get a bit overwhelmed at a convention and forget the most basic standards of keeping yourself healthy and energized.

Hygiene

When you get a lot of people in one location, it can get a little crowded and create what a lot of us know as “Con Funk”. To avoid “Con Funk,” make sure you and all of your party members remember to shower and, equally important, don’t wear heavy colognes or perfumes. Last year someone wrote that GeekGirlCon ‘11 was the best smelling con ever! Let’s keep it that way. (And a bottle of hand sanitizer is a great accessory at cons these days.)

Help

If you’re ever confused about a procedure, lost, or just need directions, you can flag down one of our helpful volunteers who will be clearly marked (as they will be wearing bright yellow shirts that say ‘Agent’ on the back) and they’ll point you in the right direction. We also have an information booth on the first floor and staff hustling around the Con that are more than happy to assist you.

Suggestions

We appreciate any and all feedback! Please send all praise and suggestions to info@geekgirlcon.com or complete the post-con survey. Watch out website for details.

Guest Contributor
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