In 1968 Mom built a computer: women's routes as technologists

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Accepted Session
Short Form
Beginner
Scheduled: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 from 2:30 – 3:15pm

Excerpt

On the surface, this story shares vignettes about my Mom. But its purpose is to increase awareness of human resources in technology, and overlooked pathways of young technologiests. "c. 1973 RCA hired her for the chip prototyping lab. Her new co-workers compared each other's crochet at lunch. A marathon week of late-night needlework bought her acceptance and promotion to supervisor. She told me stories about the ladies who wrapped wires for NASA a few years before, about women's centuries of fingers in technical fiber-crafts finally being noticed when it put men on the moon."

Description

This collection of stories is a way to highlight an idea called “legitimate peripheral participation”. To ease the path between novices and experts, projects need ample opportunities for newcomers to take less than-crucial-roles. They need safe activities for expressing technologically oriented thinking and creativity. Think bug reporting and patch submissions in open-source projects. Some of these vignettes are surprizing. Not many single-working mom’s of the 60’s had engineering hobbies, but probably more than we think. And it is not much different than the way boys learn to tinker with their dad’s and older brothers.

Tags

tech-pipeline, human-resources, women in tech, history

Speaking experience

Over 10 years: project management in community development, consensus-building, non-profit board training, qualitative data analysis software training, democratic theory

Speaker

  • Debianuser

    Biography

    an indefatigable DIY tinkerer — user of Free-Open-Source-Software and Debian OS for day-to-day computing since 2003 —
    Katheryn Sutter PhD Urban and Public Affairs, BS Human Resources and Family Studies

    Sessions

      • Title: In 1968 Mom built a computer: women's routes as technologists
      • Track: Culture
      • Time: 2:303:15pm
      • Excerpt:

        On the surface, this story shares vignettes about my Mom. But its purpose is to increase awareness of human resources in technology, and overlooked pathways of young technologiests. “c. 1973 RCA hired her for the chip prototyping lab. Her new co-workers compared each other’s crochet at lunch. A marathon week of late-night needlework bought her acceptance and promotion to supervisor. She told me stories about the ladies who wrapped wires for NASA a few years before, about women’s centuries of fingers in technical fiber-crafts finally being noticed when it put men on the moon.”

      • Speakers: Katheryn Sutter