Today in honor of Ada Lovelace Day I’d like to thank all of the women who helped me along the way. Thanks to my mother for encouraging me to go to college, even if I didn’t understand until much later why you were so adamant that I not marry until I graduated. I’m sure you can see your influence in how seriously and far I took both ideas. Thanks too for asking that all-important question when I lost my funding in graduate school. As it turns out, no, I didn’t want to quit, and your asking that question crystallized it so quickly for me. It was good to know that you were there for me regardless of which answer I chose, and there are so many reasons I dedicated my Ph.D. thesis to you.
Thanks to Sophie Laplante for being my rock during my time at the University of Chicago. I know that I would have let all of the nonsense that can be graduate school get to me more than it did if you hadn’t been there to laugh, cry, and shake your head along with me. Terry Skwarek has my appreciation for her kind words to Helmut Epp after my interview at DePaul for an adjunct position. I know he never would have offered me a fulltime job if you hadn’t drawn his attention to me.
My thanks to all the women at DePaul who have helped me, but especially to Lucia Dettori, Terry Steinbach, Liz Friedman, Mary Jo Davidson, and Shayna Connelly. Thanks Lucia for suggesting that I run for the SIGCSE Board, something I would have never done on my own. Terry only you are crazy enough to agree to be sponsorship/program/conference co-chair with me for SIGITE, and I’m so glad you did. Thanks Liz for always agreeing to my endless ideas for new projects and for the lovely trip to Haifa. Mary Jo, thank you for suggesting that I start blogging. I literally wouldn’t be writing this now if it weren’t for you. And thanks Shayna for showing me that friendship can develop anytime and anywhere.
Thanks to all the women in my research community who have inspired me. There are so many, but special appreciation goes to the women who have served on the SIGCSE Board with me during the past two years: Renee McCauley, Barb Boucher Owens, Susan Rodger, Z Sweedyk, Tiffany Barnes, and most recently, Christine Alvarado. I’ll be sad when I won’t be guaranteed to hear your voice or see your face every few months. Valerie Barr: You didn’t serve on the Board with me but you’re not allowed to ever be out of touch.
Finally, thanks to Amy-Susan Young and Melanie Leikem for showing me that the friends I made before I knew I wanted to be a computer scientist are just as important as the ones I made once I was already on my path. And, Erin, you may not be a woman yet, but you’ve helped me to learn more than I’ll ever teach you. You give me the drive to keep going when I’m discouraged or tired, and I’m a much better person because I have you in my life.