Creating a Blog by and for Women in Computer Science

UPDATE: This idea is now reality at CompSciWoman.com

Cate and Maggie met at IBM’s Extreme Blue program. However, Maggie had found Cate’s blog before they met – she’d been looking for blogs written by women in Computer Science. There were few other women in Maggie’s building, and so our two protagonists became close, talking about all kinds of things including their experiences as women in Computer Science. Maggie didn’t have a blog, but their conversations inspired many of Cate’s blog posts over the summer, causing them to joke that Maggie was Cate’s Muse. Cate offered Maggie the option of guest posting on her blog, but then – as true CompScis – they realized this was not a scalable solution…

Observations

  • The next generation of female computer science students need role models, not just barbies.
  • There is a lack of female computer scientists/programmer bloggers
  • It’s hard to find the bloggers that are out there – the title won’t necessarily include “female compsci”, because that’s an aspect, not an identity.

So, what can we do?

Create a platform where female compscis/programmers can blog about computer science in general, AND about their experiences of being a woman in computer science. This addresses:

  • The findability problem (women who already have blogs are welcome to be part of this)
  • Lowers the barrier to entry – starting a blog can be overwhelming and hard – but as a contributor, if 2 posts a year is all you can do – that’s fine with us!

What do we want?

  • Contributors! (See below)
  • Suggestions for a name, tagline, URL…
  • Spread the word! Use the “share” button below to pass this on.
  • Tell us what you think! Would you read this? What would you want to read about? Have you noticed this lack too?

Email for potential contributors – please cut and paste, add your own message if you want and send this to anyone you think would be a great addition to this project.

Dear _____,

We’re looking for contributors for a new project we’re launching – we’re creating a platform for woman in Computer Science to write for. Not just about being a woman in Computer Science, but also about Computer Science/Programming/Technology in general.

If you want more information about the platform and our motivations for creating, see here.

What are we looking for then? We’re looking for contributors to the blog – if 2 posts a year is what you have time for, that’s fine by us. More? That’s great. Cross-posting is more than welcome.

Our theme for September/October is “How did you end up in Computer Science?”. Other topics are welcome too.

We plan to launch September 1st. If you are interested in contributing, submit your post (include a link to an illustrative image if you like) along with a brief bio and a photo. We’ve enclosed ours below as an example. You can email this to female.compsci.blog AT gmail DOT com.

If you can’t contribute now, but might like to later, we’ll be accepting contributors all year round just keep up to date with what we’re doing and submit your post and bio at any time! Want an email notification of our launch? Sign up here.

Thanks so much, if you know anyone else who you think would be awesome for this please forward this email to them!

Cate and Maggie

Cate Huston is an alumna of IBM’s Extreme Blue program and is currently pursuing a masters in Computer Science at the University of Ottawa researching influence and media contagion on Twitter. She has a BSc (hons) in Computer Science from the University of Edinburgh. Cate has trained in martial arts in China and is a CSIA Level 2 certified ski instructor. She has taught programming in the UK, US, China and Canada and has developed programming curricula that was taught across the US. You can find her latest CC-licensed curriculum, developed for uOttawa here. Cate is the former president of Women in Science and Engineering at uOttawa and is currently Instigator of Awesome at Awesome Ottawa. She blogs about technology, programming, effectiveness and life at Accidentally in Code and twitters as @kittenthebad.

Maggie Zhou is currently a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill studying Computer Science with a minor in Comparative Literature. She is currently researching virtual musical instruments, supervised by Dr. Ming Lin and has held summer internships with IBM and SAS Institute. She is an amateur musician involved in two groups at the moment–a piano duet and a punk band. When she dons her “professional” hat, Maggie is President of the Computer Science Club at UNC-Chapel Hill and Chief Information Officer of the UNC System Association of Student Governments. She tweets about bikes, bands, technology, and coffee @zmagg. She can be reached at mz@unc.edu.



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