Rebel Without a Clue

by Kim Wilkens, Founder Tech-Girls

Kim Wilkens

Kim Wilkens


In 1987, I graduated with a degree in computer science. There weren’t a lot of other women in the field and I was determined to get ahead in this man’s world making a pathway for more women. I did pretty well for myself on the fast track at IBM, but somewhere along the way, I got disillusioned with the corporate culture.
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An email with extraordinary consequences

By  Charna Parkey

Charna Parkey

Charna Parkey

When starting my journey in STEM I found very few women in technology, but in 2008, I realized that I wasn’t looking hard enough. When I joined the PhD program in the College of Engineering and Computer Science at UCF I glanced around and again thought, wow there are so few women here. It was at this point that I received a life changing email.

It was about a group on campus WIE (Women in Engineering), an affinity group of IEEE, going to a conference called The Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. They were looking for women who wanted to go. I attended an introductory meeting and realized there were a lot more women than I had thought, we were just spread over a wide range of specific fields.

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Lean In – Discover Your Supporting Community

by Danielle Cummings

Danielle Cummings

Danielle Cummings

I entered a Ph.D. program in order to pursue a dream of conducting research in areas of HCI. 2 years into my Ph.D. program, I was strongly considering quitting. I was a part-time student and living far from campus. I felt very isolated both in the classroom and in my department. The week I was strongly considering my withdrawal, I received an email about a social being held on campus. It was on a Friday, so I decided to attend. There I met another grad student and we had a long conversation about our grad programs. When she heard that I was considering leaving the university, she recommended that I talk to a particular professor in my department first. I figured it couldn’t hurt, so I emailed the prof and asked for a meeting; that was my very first lean in…
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Build a thriving engineering community!

By Ruth Davis

Ruth Davis

Ruth Davis

I grew up loving Mathematics. I’m one of those rare “new math” successes. I learned set theory in fourth grade and found it much more exciting than multiplication tables. It was interesting, easy for me, and difficult for others so it made me feel special. I came late to computer science, in spite of the fact that I had won an essay contest in high school claiming “My Goal in Ten Years” was to be a computer programmer. There were too many other exciting things going on in college, so I didn’t take my first programming class until I was working on a master’s degree in Mathematics. Fortran IV, on punched cards, was my introduction to “Computer Science.” I was appalled. How DARE they call this a science? I wanted nothing to do with it.
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It’s the Little Things

By Wendy Rannenberg

Wendy Rannenberg

Wendy Rannenberg

Throughout our lives many of us dream of big things, becoming a C-level executive, to be a founder of a wildly successful company, to serve as a white house advisor, of hiking Mt. Everest or the Appalachian trail, or perhaps of being an inventor of great things or a tenured professor. I became a successful engineer. Along the way, I have learned, many times over, that in reality, it is indeed the small things that have the biggest impact.
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Fostering a great academic environment for women

By Anne Condon

Anne Condon as the 2010 Computing Research Association A. Nico Habermann Award winner

Anne Condon, 2010 A. Nico Habermann Award winner

I’m a Professor and Head of the Computer Science Department at the University of British Columbia (UBC). I love my work in this intellectually vibrant environment. I know that I have the respect and support of my colleagues, even when I make mistakes.  At UBC, I really feel like I can be my best.
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My Systerhood – Lending a global hand

By  Rose Robinson

Rose Robinson

Rose Robinson

In 2000, my entire team was laid off. It left me upset and frustrated because I was left to pick up all the pieces. I was finally laid-off in 2002. Fortunately the company took care of those who they laid off so I was very fortunate that at least I had the financial support and other job hunting services to find my next position. I decided to go back to school for my graduate degree. I finished my degree in 2004, but thought I should be learning another programming language to keep up with the times, which one do I tackle.
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Dare to try!

By Anna Senarclens de Grancy

Anna Senarclens de Grancy

Anna Senarclens de Grancy

Do you know the story of an important job to be done, where everybody was sure that somebody would do it? In the end, everybody blamed somebody when nobody did what anybody could have done.

This is my story of how I did what anybody could have done but not everybody would. I dared to try something new and found out that with a little bit of guts, some luck and support from people like Systers you can do almost anything.
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