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Picture Me In Computing Day

As the tenth of November approaches (111011), we are again preparing for Picture Me in Computing Day. Picture Me in Computing Day, also referred to as "picmecomp", began last year in an effort to raise awareness as to how wonderful the computer science and IT professions are for women. We initiated a worldwide digital flash mob, having people tag all of their social interactions with #picmecomp, hoping that the tag would eventually reach teenage and pre-teen females and spark their curiosity.

The first year of the campaign, 2010, happened to coincide with the release of Computer Engineer Barbie (tm). Mattel gave us their enthusiastic support and allowed Barbie to serve as our celebrity spokeswoman. The wonderful people at Mattel even arranged for tweets and Facebook posts from Barbie, encouraging people to participate. Hundreds of women around the world tagged and uploaded images of themselves with Computer Engineer Barbie, showing their dedication to women in STEM.

This year, we have decided that instead of focusing on just one vivacious "woman" who ventured into computer science, we would shift our attention to an entire group of women who have chosen to focus on technology. That's why picmecomp will be broadcasting live this year from the Grace Hopper Celebration in Portland, Oregon! We will continue to ask both women and men to submit images of themselves with technology, but this year we will also be video blogging with women who have made their livelihoods in the industry. To find out more about this year's activities, follow @picmecomp on Twitter and "like" us on Facebook.

We are inspired by Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper for many reasons, not the least of which was her unrelenting thirst for challenges. In 1944 at the age of 38, when most women would have been consumed with baking and ironing, Hopper was helping to pioneer the field of computer programming by tackling the Harvard Mark I . At the time, electronic computers were new and relatively unexplored, but that didn't hold her back. She stood up to critics who believed that she was too old for Naval service and made a name for herself as an outstanding computer scientist.

Between the campaign for Picture Me in Computing Day, where we bring STEM to girls of all ages, and Grace Hopper, who showed us that courage is more important than age, we hope to show everyone that you are never too old or too young to consider a career in technology.

Kiki Prottsman

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