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Women have been leaders in computing from the start, but not enough of our contributions are remembered. Keep our history.
Women have been leaders in computing from the start, but not enough of our contributions are remembered. Keep our history.
Women have been leaders in computing from the start, but not enough of our contributions are remembered. Keep our history.
392 backers pledged $15,010 to help bring this project to life.

Recent updates

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Our Thanksgiving

We know we say thank you in nearly every post, but we wanted to say, in this week of Thanksgiving, we are so thankful for your support and your work out in the world. 

As just one example, we just heard from a member of this community that she's hoping to highlight the stories of women in life sciences with her own deck -- that is so cool. If you have projects like that, inspired in whole or in tiny part by this Kickstarter, please let us know! We will share it here, when you are ready. It gives us so much joy to know this project we all built together is still ringing out in the world.

On Cyber Monday  as always, you can buy a deck or a poster on our website. We're not offering discounts, since we're running this project at zero margin to pour any and all profits into sending free decks and posters to educators. But our prices are still affordable ($10 for a deck, $25 for a poster, including shipping unless you live outside of the US/Canada). Maybe a stocking stuffer?

PS: Is everyone as excited about Hidden Figures as we are? Katherine Johnson and all the other women of NASA are such inspirations.

NASA Mathematician. Known for: Calculating the trajectory of early space launches. Subject of Hidden Figures.
NASA Mathematician. Known for: Calculating the trajectory of early space launches. Subject of Hidden Figures.

 

A quick update

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It's been 2 years since we launched this project at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, and we're still sending out decks and posters every month to educators, fellow-geeks, and anyone who wants to cherish and spread the history of women in computing. We are so grateful for your support and encouragement. Some highlights of the past few months:

Dr Susan Rodger, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Katy Dickinson
Dr Susan Rodger, Jessica Dickinson Goodman, Katy Dickinson

In this tough time for our country, and with all the hard work we have ahead of us, we are grateful to know that there are thoughtful, engaged, nerdy women (and men who support women) out there doing the work. Thank you and keep strong.

Last call

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We have been so touched by your response to our post on Monday. Since I hit "Publish", we've gotten over 15 orders for nearly 50 decks and posters, Shipwire has tentatively decided to wave the monthly minimum for this month and is working with us to ship the remaining decks and posters to my place. So order before midnight tonight, when I'll be placing our last order with them. Here's what the last week looks like, quantitatively and qualitatively:

The left y-axis is number of decks+posters ordered, the right y-axis is total gross paid.
The left y-axis is number of decks+posters ordered, the right y-axis is total gross paid.
My late-night texts to our team.
My late-night texts to our team.

I know I say thank you in every post. I wonder sometimes if it gets repetitive to you reading it. But I meant it every time before and I mean it now--I am so grateful for the vital role each and every one of you played in getting these technical women's stories out into the world. I was grateful and exited by your enthusiasm when we first came to you in 2014; I have been grateful and amazed by ways you've used the decks in your lives and work since we shipped our first deck; and I've been grateful and honored by the way you have stuck with us on our journey to making this deck a reality.

So, thank you. Again and always.

PS: Like the title says, I will be posting our last order with Shipwire tonight at midnight PST tonight, so if you can order any decks or posters by then that will help save us paying for shipping twice. 

I plan to continue shipping these after tonight, it will just take a little longer since I'll be doing it from my apartment in San Jose, CA rather than a full-service shipping warehouse. But this project is too much fun and making too much of an impact in the world to let go, so it will go on, because of your support.

Why we do this work.

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I spend 2 hours on the train every day from San Jose to San Francisco, getting to work and back. The train cars I ride in hold about 130 people each, 170 on Mondays when the entire workforce in Silicon Valley has all staff. 10 hours a week is a good sample set to get to know sleeps sitting up, clutching his gold iPhone; who does--and redoes--her make-up between Mountain View and Palo Alto; who is terrified of that bee that sometimes rides between San Francisco and Milbrae.

Some days, I am not a fan of my fellow passengers. The man-spreading, the persistent coughing, the loud, nasty business phone conversations. But sometimes, when I'm particularly snappish of the soul, I try to imagine that the 130 people in my train car are the roughly 130 educators we've sent free decks to. I imagine the man-spreader spent the day teaching algorithms using our cards; the cougher got her cold from the middle schoolers she mentoring; I do not have any hope for the loud, nasty business phone conversers, they can keep using their bachelor uncle's Bicycle deck.

One of the joys of selling online is that I can imagine anyone has my deck tucked in her purse, in his pocket. As part of clearing out our warehouse because our shipping vendor Shipwire has decided to step away from the small business market, I inputted orders for a batch of free decks and posters to go to educators around the world.

Every educator who wants a free deck fills out this survey (we're still accepting requests!). Below are a sample of the responses we've gotten in the past year. I have dozens more like them in my responses file, but I think these will give you the gist of how people are using this project our in the world.

Every one of the educators behind these applications received free decks because of your support.

What project could these decks help with?

  • I would like to use these for intro CS classroom activities on sorting algorithms. While not using them in class, I plan to keep a deck out on my desk, along with other CS-related "toys" that often generate conversation when students come to my office. This project is such a wonderful idea! Thank you for making and disseminating the cards! 
  • [Our program] implements a Leadership Institute for college women every other June. We have about 25 attendees from colleges all over Washington. We would love to be able to give a deck out to each woman participant.
  • Creating a more knowledgeable group of computer science students on campus.
  • I teach computer programming and video game design and would like to get more girls involved in the computer classes. I will use the cards to get different students to investigate the notable woman and raise awareness of their contribution to this field 
  • At this moment I haven't come up with a project but one idea is to hand them out at the beginning of a term as students enter class. They then have to pair up and introduce themselves and tell the other person about the person on their card.

How have you worked in the past to connect girls and women to technical careers?

  • I'm a college professor at an all-women's college. Connecting young women to computing and technical careers is one of my primary goals. I am currently working to establish a new peer mentoring program in CS at [Name of] College, and have in the past done a lot of work towards broadening the participation of women in CS (mostly with college students). 
  •  We do a monthly Food for Thought dinner lecture and some of our speakers in the past have come from STEM fields. We also have a once-a-year event at the Gov's Mansion where we honor women from different fields. In 2015, we honored Women in Business and several were from the tech fields. 
  • I am a new associate professor in computer science at a small college. I want to really work on bringing more women into our program. 
  • I teach computer courses in the high school and would like to try and encourage more girls to take these courses. 
  • I am a high school teacher and have work with girls to to explore computer science courses and jobs. 
  • I have worked in colleges and encouraged young women to pursue degrees in computing and develop programming skills. 
  • Quite honestly, we as a department (Business) have struggled to get females in some of computer classes notably our Video Game Design class and Java Programming. We are looking for anything that will make them more aware of the impact and need for women in this field.

Financial need:

  • I have a very small budget for supplies like these [...]
  • We are a 15 year old nonprofit...annual budget about $100K and one staff person. We try to get sponsors for almost all our programs. We'd love to have these cards donated as I think they'd be a huge hit.
  • We're a small department, restarting. We will purchase some items from you, but this would be a nice starter set for us.
  • I am a public high school teacher and have not budget for these types of materials for my classroom. 
  • I am a high school business teacher and do not have a budget to purchase items. 
  • I work in a school in England that has just started out and we are working on a limited budget. 
  • I am a high school business teacher. Our budget is pretty tight and our school district is looking at having to cut somewhere between 4 and 6 million dollars next year.

I know my work in politics should have worn me callouses to protect my heart from stories of people trying to do good without enough resources; but it has not. These applications still make me teary-eyed

Thank you for your support, and remember, help us out by buying before Friday. Thank you!

Need another deck? Get one before Friday.

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Help us save on shipping and buy a deck before Friday!
Help us save on shipping and buy a deck before Friday!

For the most part, creating the Notable Women in Computing Cards has been an exercise in community-building, in design, and in joy. The fact that this is a small business with the requisite taxes, logistics, budgets, is usually a background hum. This Saturday that hum became a roar.

On Saturday, I got an email from our shipping vendor, Shipwire, saying I needed to re-up my Notable Technical Women PayPal account. I have it set so that Shipwire cannot take more than $100 out at a time, and it had hit the limit. I logged into the account, and found several hundred dollars in charges, when I knew we hadn't booked that many.

Digging in, I found that Shipwire had several months ago instituted a minimum monthly balance requirement seemingly designed to stop small businesses from using their service. We were being charged the difference between our monthly balance (which is usually around $100) and $500. So, on top of the $64/month we pay to rent warehouse space, on top of shipping and handling we pay for every deck and poster, we were also being charged for not having enough volume for Shipwire's new standards.

Whatever Shipwire's reasons, this means we're going to have to change our distribution vendor this month. But before I have all of our remaining decks and posters shipped to my house to regroup, I wanted to see if you wanted another deck ($10) or poster ($25). If you buy it now, it will save me paying for shipping twice (once to my house and once back to you). And, of course, you'll get a wonderful decks of cards showcasing 54 incredible women in computer science. I'm closing our Shipwire account on Friday (5/20), so please place your orders before then!

This project has been such a joy outside of these roadblocks, and unless it becomes more than I can handle, I intend to continue shipping decks and posters as orders come in. For all of Shipwire's faults--damaging decks, mis-quoting ship-times, changing policies without robust user-outreach--they have made it easier to handle the logistics of this project and focus on building a cool, engaged community around the history of women in computing.

Thank you for your support and please let me know if you have any questions.