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5 Women in Tech who Changed the World

With the current push by the tech industry to encourage more young women to consider studying for and working in STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – career fields, we wanted to celebrate International Women’s Day this year by highlighting five women in tech who changed the world for the better.

Ada Lovelace
Ada Lovelace
No list about women in tech would be complete without Ada Lovelace. She even has her own day dedicated to her (you can read our article about that right here). Ada Lovelace is commonly referred to as the first computer programmer, which is interesting because computers didn’t even exist when she was alive!

In 1843 Ada was employed by Charles Babbage, an English mathematician, philosopher, inventor, and mechanical engineer, who was working on his idea for an invention called the Analytical Engine – a machine designed to count Bernoulli numbers. It was within her notes that she had recorded what would later be recognizes as the first algorithm intended to be carried out by a machine, also known as the first computer algorithm and what would become the foundation for modern computing.

Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr
Hedy Lamarr, born Hedwig Eva Kiesler, was an Austrian actress who shot to stardom in the 1930’s and 1940’s for her role in movies such as “Samson and Delilah”, “Ecstasy,” and “The Strange Woman,” and she is even referred to by many critics and fans alike as the most beautiful woman to ever appear in films. However, it was during World War II that she proved to be more than just a pretty face.

Along with George Antheil – an American composer, pianist, author, and inventor – Lamarr played a pivotal role in the invention of frequency hopping, a method of sending radio signals from different frequency channels. The duo originally invented this technology to help the U.S. Navy remotely control torpedoes, however, despite receiving two patents and multiple lobbying and fundraising efforts, the Navy ultimately decided not to pursue the technology.

It found new life in the 1950’s from engineers at Sylvania Electronic Systems as an early form of encryption technology as they realized that the randomized channel switching made it difficult for outside users to understand what was being communicated and was promptly integrated into military communication devices.
Despite being invented more than 70 years ago, her invention has made a significant contribution to today’s technology in the form of wireless security as it still plays as integral role in technologies such as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.

Radia Joy Perlman
Radia Perlman
Radia Joy Perlman, also known as the Mother of the Internet, is a network engineer who developed a computer protocol known as Spanning Tree Protocol (STP) which made it possible to build extensive networks over Ethernet connections. It’s because of this network that we can surf the internet and its seemingly infinite sources of information from the comfort of our home.

More impressively, she is currently working at Intel and recently developed the Transparent Interconnection of Lots of Links (TRILL), which is a new standard for data center connectivity that could very well replace the STP.

Marissa Mayer
Marissa Mayer
Have you ever gone somewhere and asked yourself ”What is there to do around here?” Or have you ever made plans to go on a road trip to visit friends who live in another state or across the country? Chances are you’ve done one of these things at least once and chances are when looking for that local attraction or planning that road trip you did what most people do: you Googled it.

Simple, right? You can thank Marissa Mayer for that! Marissa is Google’s first female engineer who started with the tech giant back when it was a startup in 1999. She currently still works with Google as vice president of location and local services and leads project management and engineering for some of the search engine’s top services including Google Maps, Local Search, Google Earth, and Street view.

The ENIAC Programmers
ENIAC Women
Ok, so putting this group of women on the list puts the grand total of women who changed the world up to 10, but hey, who’s counting? The Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer, or ENIAC, was the first electronic general-purpose computer which was designed to calculate artillery firing tables for the U.S. Army during World War II.

This powerful new tool was primarily programmed by these six women: Kay McNulty, Betty Jennings, Betty Snyder, Marlyn Wescoff, Fran Bilas, and Ruth Lichterman and stayed in operation until 1955. Unfortunately, when the computer was introduced to the public in 1946 these women were never given the credit they deserve for its creation because the public was more interested in the machine than the people behind it.

National Clean Up Your Computer Month: 8 Tips for Cleaning Your Computer

Whether you’re a professional programmer or someone who uses the computer to check your Facebook feed and e-mail, there is nothing quite like that feeling you get when you turn on a new computer for the first time and experience its raw power. It’s the kind of feeling that makes you stop and think “wow, I didn’t know a computer could run this fast!”

However, that feeling is typically felt for only the short term as it begins to slow down more and more as you start to install new programs, continually browse the internet, and download your favorite music and movies. Inevitably, you end up frustrated at the amount of time it takes for the computer to start, your programs to open, or your websites to load – leading you right back to the place you were when you decided to get a new computer in the first place.

Before you decide to open up your wallet and dish out your hard earned cash on a new computer, consider the following tips to cleaning up your computer and making it run faster. As a note of precaution, it’s always a good idea to back up any important files before beginning to clean up your computer.

  1. Uninstall programs you don’t use

This seems pretty self-explanatory right? Much like how you might go on a spring cleaning binge and toss out or donate everything that’s been gathering a layer of dust in your attic for the last decade, the same can be done on your computer. Maybe you have a bunch of old work documents that are no longer relevant or a game that you don’t play any more – getting rid of these unused programs will help you free up space on your hard drive, make the important things easier to find, and can help increase your computer’s speed.

Also, you may not have even known this, but most new computers come with programs installed that you may never use. Identifying those programs and deleting them when you first get the computer can give you an immediate bump in performance.

  1. Delete cookies and temporary files

Temporary files get stored on your computer through everyday tasks, such as reading your email, and get stored on your hard drive. This takes up space and can affect your computer’s overall performance. Deleting this temporary files – including your internet search history and cookies, should give you a larger amount of available hard drive space, resulting in a faster PC.

To delete your temporary files, open “My Computer,” usually on either your Start menu or on your Desktop. Click on your local drive – usually listed as C:\ – and select the “Windows” folder and open the folder titled “Temp.” Delete these files to remove your temporary files.

  1. Prevent unnecessary programs from starting up

If your computer is taking a long time to start up, there’s a good chance that one of the problems is that the computer is trying to start too many programs when it’s first turned on – you might not have even known that this was happening! However, this is a really easy fix. First, you need to click on the Start menu and type “msconfig” in your search bar. This will bring up your “System Configuration” window.

If you click on the “Startup” tab, you’ll see a long list of programs with a checked box to their left. Simply uncheck the boxes next to the programs you don’t want running when you first start your computer.

  • Install a second hard drive
  • Sometimes you have a lot of files that you just can’t separate yourself from. Files that take up a lot of space on your hard drive. Well, if you can’t get rid of the files, you could install a second hard drive. This would not only give you more room, by moving your files to this new hard drive, you free up space on the original hard drive, which will help improve performance.

    1. Install more RAM

    On the same note, computers run on Random Access Memory (RAM) and certain programs require more RAM than others. If your computer is a bit older and you find that some of your newer programs are not running as well as they should, try installing more RAM to help with the workload.

    1. Run a disk defragment

    A disk defragment is just a fancy term for changing how your hard drive stores the files written to it in order to optimize efficiency. To run a disk defragmentation, simply go to “My Computer,” and right click on the hard drive you want defragmented, and click “properties.” In the new window, you should see a tab titled “Tools.” Under the Tools tab you should see a button that says “Defragment Now.” Click it and your computer will begin the defragmentation process.

    1. Empty your recycle bin

    Once you delete something it’s gone, right? Well, no. Not exactly. When you delete a file from your computer it goes to the “Recycle Bin,” which is located on your desktop. This depository of old, unwanted files is a convenient failsafe from permanently deleting files that you need. If you delete something that you didn’t mean to, you can go to your recycle bin and recover it. However, just like the recycle bin at your home, if you don’t periodically empty your computer’s bin, the files will begin to build up and eventually effect your computer’s overall performance.

    To empty your recycle bin, simply right click on the bin’s icon on the desktop and click “Empty Recycle Bin.” You’ll be prompted as to whether or not you actually want to permanently delete these files. By clicking “Yes,” your computer will get rid of these unwanted files for good, cleaning up space on your computer.

    1. Physically clean your computer

    You might not realize it, but the environment surrounding your computer can have a major impact on its performance. Computers produce a lot of heat. To combat that heat, your computer has several small fans built into it that take cooler air from around the computer and cycles it through it to cool it down. As such, if you have any dust, dirt, or grime around your computer, chances are that it too is being sucked into your computer by the fans.

    You may be asking yourself, how is dust dangerous to my computer? Well, for starters, if enough dust gets built up in your computer it can actually clog the fans, making them inefficient or dysfunctional. Additionally, excessive amounts of dust can actually act as an insulator, retaining heat inside of the computer, rather than ventilating it out.

    Follow these simple steps and you’ll have a computer that runs like new in no time!

    Celebrating Ada Lovelace Day: 10 Remarkable Women in STEM History

    Ada Lovelace DayThere’s been an unfortunate stereotype that has plagued the science community for a very long time: the notion that science related career fields are nothing more than one big, boy’s only club. This stereotype likely started during a time when traditional gender roles played a large part in our society, but unfortunately as these traditional roles have diminished from common practice, these stereotypes continue to live on.

    According to the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Census Bureau’s 2009 American Community Survey, women make up 48% of the American workforce but only make up a mere 24% of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) jobs here in the U.S. These statistics have created a massive nationwide movement to breakdown this boy’s club mentality – a movement that has become so large it’s even caught the eye of President Barack Obama.

    “One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to,” said Obama.

    Also, as part of this movement, an international celebration for the achievements of women in STEM was created known as Ada Lovelace Day, which is held annually on Oct. 13th. To celebrate this day, we’ve compiled a list of 10 extraordinary women who’ve made an impact on the STEM community.

    Ada Lovelace 1. Ada Lovelace
    We couldn’t make this list without putting Ada on it, after all this day is named after her. Born in 1815 to Baron George Gordon Byron and Anne Isabella Byron, Ada would grow up to be a Mathematician and writer who was best known for her work on Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine – an early mechanical general-purpose computer. Her work is credited as being the first algorithm to be carried out by a machine and is thus regarded as being the world’s first computer programmer. (Source: findingada.com)

    Margaret Hamilton 2. Margaret Hamilton
    Margaret Hamilton got a job at MIT as a programmer to help pay the bills while her husband who was completing his law degree at Harvard. After he graduated, she planned on going back to school to get a graduate degree in mathematics. But before she could make that happen, the space race with Russia took off and the MIT Instrumentation Lab, where Hamilton worked, got the nod to invent the system that would take Apollo astronauts to the moon. It was during this time that Hamilton wrote the code for the world’s first portable computer and created the core ideas that would become modern computer programming. (Source: wired.com)

    Antonia Coello Novello 3. Antonia Coello Novello
    Due to a childhood that was plagued with hospital visits and surgeries, a young Antonia decided that she wanted to grow up to become a doctor so that she could help other sick children. She earned her M.D. from the University of Puerto Rico and worked several years in pediatrics before joining the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps in 1978. Novello has several achievements under her belt, including to help draft the Organ Transplantation Procurement Act of 1984, the expedited FDA approval process of vaccines for veterans during the Gulf War, and her campaign against the tobacco industry’s advertising aimed at children, especially against the cartoon character “Joe Camel.” However, possibly her greatest achievement was her appointment to Surgeon General of the United States by former president George H.W. Bush. This appointment made her the first female and first Hispanic to hold this office in the country’s history. (Source: nlm/nih.gov)

    Sheryl Sandberg 4. Sheryl Sandberg
    Sheryl Sandberg is an American Technology Executive who has made major strides in breaking down the previously mentioned stereotype of women in the tech workplace. After a short stint working as a management consultant, Sandberg began working for Larry Summers, who was serving as Former President Bill Clinton’s Secretary of the Treasury. It was under Secretary Summers that she helped work on forgiving the debts in the developing world during the Asian financial crisis. In 2001, she joined internet giant Google as the vice president of global online sales and operations where it was her responsibility to manage Google’s advertising and publishing products. However, it’s arguably her appointment as Facebook COO in 2008 that makes her such a valuable member of the STEM community. It was because of Sandberg and her experience in advertising that Facebook transformed from a simple social media site to a profitable multi-billion dollar enterprise. (Source: New York Times)

    Esther Conwell 5. Esther Conwell
    Esther Conwell was a professor of chemistry and physics at the University of Rochester who began her career when very few women were entering the science fields. During her career she received several commendations, including a spot on Discover Magazine’s 50 Most Important Women of Science in 2002. She earned that recognition through her research on how electrons move through silicon and other semiconducting materials. Her research was pivotal in jump starting the computer age. (Source: Rochester.edu)

    Megan Smith 6. Megan Smith
    Megan Smith holds one of the highest ranking technology positions in the United States – the Chief Technology Officer of the United States. This position was created by President Barack Obama and her primary role is using applied technology to help create jobs, reduce the costs of health care, and help keep the United States secure from threats. Prior to this prestigious role, Smith served as vice president of Google X, a semi-secret facility run by Google which is dedicated to the research and development of technological advancement. (Source: whitehouse.gov)

    Emmy Noether 7. Emmy Noether
    Emmy Noether was a German mathematician who is known for her contribution to abstract algebra and theoretical physics. More specifically, she is known for her theories of rings, fields, and algebras as well as her theorem which explains the connection between symmetry and conservation laws. Besides the amazing mathematical and scientific work she did, one thing that made Noether stand out was her perseverance – living in Germany at a time of severe political unrest and very few women’s rights, including having to work for several years without getting paid, Noether was able to overcome it all and make a name for herself. (Source: agnesscott.edu)

    Bessie Blount 8. Bessie Blount
    Bessie Blount was a pioneer in assistive technologies and forensic science as well as a role model for women and African Americans during a time when both demographics had limited status in the United States. Blount attended the Panzar College of Physical Education to become a physical therapist. After World War II, she worked with veterans who returned home as amputees and taught them new ways to perform basic tasks with their limited use of appendages. One of the issues she helped them overcome was their inability to feed themselves. To solve this, she invented a device that delivered individual bites of food to the patient at his or her own pace. (Source: lemelson.mit.edu)

    Caterina Fake 9. Caterina Fake
    Caterina Fake is an American Entrepreneur and business woman who co-founded the hugely popular photo sharing site, Flickr which became a cornerstone for the co-called Web 2.0 websites which integrate features such as social networking and tagging. Flickr was acquired by Yahoo! in 2005, after which she took a job at Yahoo! running the Technology Development Group. (Source: Caterina.net)

    Lucy Bradshaw 10. Lucy Bradshaw
    Lucy Bradshaw is a pioneer in the video game industry. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of Michigan before moving to California and working on video game production. Some of her previous experience includes work at LucasArts and Activision before becoming the general manager of the Maxis label of Electronic Arts. At Maxis she worked on blockbuster titles such as SimCity, the Sims, and Spore. (Source: sims.wikia.com)

    Obviously, this is just a small snippet of all the amazing women who have had a positive impact on the STEM field and the world, but what this list does do is show that women have played crucial roles in the development of the world around us and that STEM is no longer just a boys only club.

    How to prepare your child for homesickness


     

    homesick

    Homesickness is something that we’ve all experienced at some point in our lives. Maybe it was when we went to camp as a kid, when we shipped off to college, or maybe it was that time we spent a long weekend at a friend’s house. It doesn’t matter how long we were away from home or where we went, it’s how we felt that’s important, and it didn’t feel good.

    Before I continue with how we can prevent the symptoms of homesickness, there are a couple of important things I’d like to emphasize. First, the word homesick is scary, especially for children. If you tell a child that he’s homesick, he’s going to think that he’s ACTUALLY sick, which will only make the situation worse. Also, just like a real illness, homesickness can be contagious. That’s why we’re no longer referring to it as homesickness, but as “missing home.” Secondly, missing home is a completely normal feeling that everyone experiences from time-to-time and isn’t something to worry about.

    For many children, spending time away from their home, family, friends, and pets can be very difficult, especially if it’s their first time away from those daily routines and comforts. Because of this, it’s not uncommon for many campers, particularly those that are about to embark on their first overnight experience away from home, to feel the symptoms of missing home.

    These symptoms can range in intensity and will effect each camper in a different way. After all, it’s overwhelming to transition from a daily routine surrounded by your family and friends in the safety and comfort of your home to an unfamiliar place surrounded by strangers.

    According to the American Camp Association, a recent study as shown that nearly 96 percent of all boys and girls who were spending two weeks or more at overnight camp reported that they missed home on at least one day.

    What causes campers to miss home?

    As I mentioned before, practically everyone misses home every once in a while. However, some children appear to be more susceptible to these feelings than others. Why is that? Well, campers who are at a higher risk of missing home are those who feel they’ve been plucked from their comfort zone and placed in unfamiliar territory and children who have little to no experience being away from home.

    Also, campers who have low expectations of camp or feel like they’re forced to go to camp typically have a higher chance of missing home. As do children who have little experience coping with negative emotions or campers who have parents who express a lot of anxiety or overwhelming emotions when dropping the child off for camp.

    How can we prevent or stop my child from missing home?

    Obviously, every child is different so there isn’t any magic cure-all for missing home. However, studies has shown that the symptoms can be alleviated or

    minimized by taking a two-pronged approach: having the parents and child prepare for camp at home, and teaching the camper how to cope with these feelings when they’re at camp.

    The best at home prevention strategies:

    Spend time practicing being away from home. Sending your child away from home for small stints can help prepare them for camp. Arrange some weekend sleepovers at a friend’s house or at the grandparents’ house, doing so will help them feel comfortable away from home.

    Prepare pre-stamped, pre-addressed envelopes or postcards to bring to camp. Having an outlet, such as writing home, has been shown to have a positive effect on children who are missing home.

    Encourage your child to have fun. It may feel obvious to you, but your camper will have an easier time adjusting to his time at camp if he knows he’s there with your blessing. If he feels like you don’t want him to be there, it’s more likely that he’will miss home.

    Bring something that reminds your camper of home. Packing some photos, a favorite stuffed animal, or other tangible item can serve as a safety blanket and help your camper maintain that connection to home while being away.

    Send a personalized letter or care package before your child leaves. This way it will be waiting for him when he gets to camp and he will have a nice piece of home waiting for him when he arrives.

    It’s probably more difficult for you than it is your child. It’s difficult to watch your child leave home, even if it is just for two weeks. Becoming overly emotional when it’s time to say goodbye can help plant the seed for missing home in your child because he doesn’t want to see you upset any more than you want to see him upset. So it’s important to keep your emotions in check until you and your camper part ways.

    Sign up with a friend. Going to camp alone is fine but going with a friend is even better. Try talking with the parents of your child’s fiends and talk about signing up both children so they can see at least one friendly face when they gets there. And don’t forget, we do offer a Refer-a-Friend discount on tuition!

    The best at-camp coping strategies:

    Stay busy. The best ways for a camper to get over his feelings of missing home is to remain busy. Here at Emagination, we’re more than prepared to keep your kids busy. With each camper actively participating in three technology workshops, one recreation workshop, and a whole bunch of organized free-time activities, they might complain more about how fast their time at camp is going by than not being at home.

    Talk with someone. If your child is missing home, it’s important to have him talk to his councilors, who are trained to help children overcome those feeling, and his fellow campers because they may be going through, or have gone through, the same situation your camper is and can offer help.

    Write home. You’ve written out those pre-stamped and pre-addressed envelopes, now encourage your child to use them. This will give him an outlet to talk about everything that’s been going on at camp and to express how he feels to someone he feels comfortable confiding in.

    Emphasize that camp is just for a couple of weeks and not forever. Starting a two week camp away from home can feel like it will last forever, but more often than not, as soon as the camper gets home he will realize the experience was over before he knew it.

    Have fun. This is arguably the most important thing of all. As the old adage goes: “time flies when you?re having fun.” If you child is missing home, encourage them to have as much fun as possible – not only will it help ease his symptoms, but the days will go by faster and he’ll be home before he knows it, begging to go back again.

    Camper to Counselor: The Emagination Story of Mike M.

    Emagination has been a part of my life since I was 9 years old. Next summer, when I’m 20, I would have been with Emagination for 12 years. I kept coming back, year after year, for almost a decade.

    What drew me in?
    Well, at first, it was largely the workshops that the camp offered. I already knew I was passionate about computers, and at Emagination I was able to learn to program, to make games, to build computers, even to make RC cars. In my time as a camper, I took almost every workshop there was to take, including many of them multiple times. I loved how much there was to learn. The big reason that kept me coming back to camp, though, was the overall experience: the people, the activities, and the fun.

    I started out as a day camper, going only one session my first year, as far as I can remember. The next year, though, I begged to stay for longer. I remember wanting to be a PA, but at the time, I didn’t like that they had to stay overnight, which seems like a reasonable concern for a 10-year-old to have. But soon, bold, brave, 11-year-old me came along and decided to switch from being a day camper to an overnight camper the following year. That was the best decision I could have made, and it opened up the full Emagination experience for me, which would really draw me back every year. And it didn’t hurt that I had made the decision with my friend Matt, who had been at camp at least as long as I had at that point.

    Actually, Matt and I are still friends today, which brings me to the aspect of camp that can’t be found anywhere else: the wonderful people and the great friendships. Every year, I wanted to come back and see my camp friends, and hopefully some returning counselors who I had really come to like in past years. Every year, the idea of hanging out with a huge group of my peers in workshops, during Rec ‘n’ Tech, and in the dorms was just too much to pass up. I met tons of people my age, many of whom I still talk to today. I met so many counselors, who, to a young kid like myself, didn’t have an age, but were in this strange ethereal state of being indescribably older than me. But that didn’t matter, because they were there for me, and I loved spending time with them. I could really tell that they enjoyed spending time with me and talking to me. Although I have been unable to maintain contact with them, since there was such an age gap (the size of which I will never know), I can still remember all the counselors who made Emagination such a special place for me.

    And so, it doesn’t take a real stretch of the Emagination (ahahaha) to realize why I wanted to become a PA and a counselor as soon as I possibly could. I had experienced Emagination, and I wanted to be able to give that experience to all of the younger campers who would follow me. I had the honor of being one of the first in the camp’s new CIT program, where I was able to fulfill my goal of wearing the green shirt a little bit early. From there, I didn’t stop, and I’ve been working at camp ever since. It almost feels like I’ve become a part of the Illinois camp culture. I know all of our returning campers, and they know me. In fact, there is no returning camper who has been to camp without me being there, too.

    I know I’ll be returning to camp for as many summers as I can, hoping to continue to be a figure that new campers and staff alike can talk to in order to get acquainted with Emagination. I will continue to be a friend to everybody who sees the same greatness in Emagination that I do, keeping them coming back every single year. And even when the time comes that I’m no longer able to come back, Emagination will always be an inseparable part of me. I will never forget it, and I hope that I will have helped to create that same unforgettable experience for every other person who ever came to our campus.

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