Archive for March, 2012

Come “Rock the Mall” With The Girl Scout’s on June 9, 2012

March 27th, 2012

“200,000 girls and adults from around the world are expected to come together on June 9, 2012 for the world’s largest Sing-Along.”

Since the movement was founded in 1912,  Girl Scouts have used songs to celebrate life, to bridge cultural boundaries and to communicate their commitment to the principles that guide the movement. On June 9, 2012 girls from across the country will gather on the National Mall  and use the power of music to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Girl Scouting.


What is the event?
A gathering of Girl Scout friends, family and alumni of all ages. This could be one of the world’s biggest sing-alongs ever!

When does it start?
Preshow: 12:00 – 1:00 p.m.  
Main event: 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.
Where does it happen?
The National Mall in Washington, DC at the base of the Washington Monument, with the stage located at 17th and Constitution.

Celebrating Computing Women Part XI

March 26th, 2012

Welcome to our final post on pioneer women of the computing world. Our thanks to Heather Elizabeth Ross for contributing  these biographies.

Doris Self (1925 – 2006)

At the age of 58, Self was one of the first female competitive gamers when she entered the 1983 Video Game Masters Tournament and broke the world high score record for Q*Bert with 1,112,300 points. Doris was featured in the 2007 documentary, The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters, when Pac-Man world champion Billy Mitchell presented her with a Q*Bert arcade machine, inspiring the 79-year-old Doris to begin competing again. In 2006 at the age of 81, Doris died from injuries she received in a car accident.

Belinda Van Sickle

Belinda Van Sickle started her video game career in 1996 at Activision, working as a copy writer, designer and layout artist in charge of all game manual copy. In 1999, she was one of the founding members of Ignited Minds (IM), an advertising agency which specialized in game packaging. At ATVI and IM, Van Sickle worked on manuals for all of Activision’s releases from 1997 through 2005. She left IM in 2005 to start her own company, GameDocs. GameDocs has since worked on packaging and promo materials for Vivendi, Disney Interactive Studios, Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, Konami and Midway, as well as other triple A and independent publishers. Sickle began volunteering with Women in Games International (WIGI) in 2006 by spearheading the WIGI Linkedin group and the Community Mixer series dedicated to the inclusion and advancement of women in the global games industry. She is currently the WIGI CEO, leading the company’s efforts to promote and encourage women’s achievement in games. Van Sickle has been interviewed for articles on the game industry for Wired, GameSpot, GameCareerGuide, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and the Into Tomorrow podcast. She has taught and lectured at the University of Southern California, California State University-Fullerton, the Art Institute of California-Los Angeles and Westwood College. Van Sickle was nominated for Industry Gamers 2011 Person of the Year.

Celebrating Computing Women Part X

March 23rd, 2012

Good morning! Here is the latest post highlighting the achievements of women in the world of computers. Our thanks to Heather Elizabeth Ross for providing these portraits.

Brenda Laurel

Brenda Laurel’s life mission has been to explore how humans interact with computers and the benefits derived from it. She began utilizing games for her work in the early 1980s as a member of Atari’s research team and Manager of Software Strategy. In 1987 she co-produced the educational, medical sim game Laser Surgeon: The Microscopic Mission, a virtual look at the techniques of brain surgery. In the 1990s, Laurel continued her work as a leader in virtual reality research and development with her company, Telepresence, and co-founded one of the first software companies to specialize in developing games for girls, Purple Moon. Brenda Laurel is currently a consultant, professor and speaker, teaching 2D and 3D interaction design.

Amy Briggs (1962- )

Amy Briggs graduated from Macalester College in 1984 with a Bachelor’s degree in English. I n 1983, Amy Briggs worked at the text game adventure company Infocom as a tester. Briggs’ strong writing skills and outgoing nature were instrumental in getting the opportunity to develop a text adventure romance game for girls, Plundered Hearts. After writing and designing Hearts, Amy co-wrote Gamma Force: Pit of a Thousand Screams and co-designed portions of Zork Zero. Amy Briggs left the gaming industry in 1987and pursued a graduate degree in cognitive psychology. Briggs works for 3M as a human factors engineer, is a cognitive psychologist, and continues to write.

Brenda Brathwaite

Brenda Brathwaite entered the video game industry in 1981 at the age of 15. She worked with Sir-tech Software for 18 years on the Wizardry series and the Jagged Alliance series among others, then worked with Atari on Dungeons & Dragons. After Atari, Brathwaite worked with Electronic Arts, Cyberlore, Firaxis and various social media companies. She served on the board of the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) until July 2010. Braithwaite has been a system designer, writer, level designer, world designer, lead designer and creative director. At present she is the both the co-founder and COO at Loot Drop as well as a game designer. She is currently on the advisory board for the International Center for the History of Electronic Games at the Strong Museum of Play and the advisory board for Game Developer Magazine. She was named one of the 100 most influential women in the game industry by Next Generation Magazine in 2007 and one of the top 20 most influential women in the game industry by in 2008. Brathwaite’s game, Train won the Vanguard Award at IndieCade in 2009 for “pushing the boundaries of game design and showing us what games can do.” She was named Woman of the Year by Charisma+2 magazine in 2010 and was a nominee in Microsoft’s 2010 Women in Games game design awards.

Celebrating Computing Women Part IX

March 22nd, 2012

Our thanks again to Heather Elizabeth Ross for providing us with the biographies of women in computing. Here is today’s offering:

Anne Westfall

Anne Westfall created the first microcomputer-based program to help structure subdivisions. In 1981, Westfall and her husband, John Freeman, formed Free Fall Associates, the first independent game development company. Among their titles was Archon, which became EA’s biggest seller at the time. Westfall served on the Game Developer Conference board of directors for six years. The duo renamed their company Free Fall Games and continue to develop games today.

Jane Jensen (1963- )

Born Jane Elizabeth Smith, Jane Jensen received a BA in Computer Science from Anderson University in Indiana and worked as a systems programmer for Hewlett-Packard. She worked for Roberta Williams in the early 90s at Sierra Games as a writer on Police Quest 111: The Kindred, and EcoQuest: The Search for Cetus. She co-designed Kings Quest VI: Heir Today, Gone Tomorrow with Williams. Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (1993) was the first game Jensen designed on her own and  it received Computer Gaming World Magazine’s “Adventure Game of the Year.” Jensen followed this up two sequels, The Beast Within: A Gabriel Knight Mystery (1995) and Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned (1999). In 1996 and 1998,  she published two novelizations of Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers. In 1999, Jensen published her first non-adapted novel, Millennium Rising (retitled Judgment Day) and Dante’s Equation (2003), which was nominated for the Philip K. Dick science fiction award. Jensen continues her work in computer adventure games with the latest line of Agatha Christie and The Women’s Murder Club PC titles. She designed Inspector Parker (2003) and BeTrapped! (2004) with Oberon Media. Jensen recently developed her dream project, Gray Matter (2010), with developer Wizarbox and publisher DTP Entertainment. Jane Jensen is currently a story consultant on Phoenix Online Studios’ adventure game, Cognition: An Erica Reed Thriller.

Celebrating Computing Women Part VII

March 21st, 2012

Hello and welcome to our seventh installment on pioneering women of the computer world, written by Heather Elizabeth Ross.

Roberta Williams (1953- )

Roberta Williams is one of the most important figures in the history of video games. In 1979, she was inspired after playing the text-only computer game Adventure and designed an interactive game combining text with graphics. The game, Mystery House, was an instant hit and the graphical adventure genre was born. The couple formed the company On-Line Systems which became Sierra On-Line and is now owned by Activision Blizzard. The pair became leading figures in the graphical adventure game genre of the eighties and nineties. By the time Williams retired in 1996, she was credited with over 30 top computer games, the majority of which she wrote and designed for Sierra. Games she either wrote herself or helped write include King’s Quest, Phantasmagoria, Colonel’s Bequest, and Mixed-Up Mother Goose.

Carol Shaw

In 1978, Carol Shaw was the first woman to program and design a video game, 3DTic-Tac-Toe for the Atari 2600. Shaw then designed Super Breakout for Atari in 1978. Originally an Atari employee, Carol Shaw joined Activision where she programmed the 1982 classic, River Raid, for the Atari 2600 and Happy Trails in 1984. In 1983, the final game that she would completely program and design herself, Happy Trails, was released just when the video game market crashed. With the industry in shambles, she took a break from creating games, but returned in 1988 to oversee the production of River Raid II. She also worked on the Polo and the Atari Basic reference manuals. Shaw is noted for anticipating the industry’s procedural content generation by 25 years using algorithms to create River Raid’s continuous, but non-random, landscape.

Neiman Marcus and the National Women’s History Museum Invite you to an Event on April 14th

March 20th, 2012




Neiman Marcus

Mazza Gallerie

Washington, DC


Invite you to an exclusive preview of the

SPRING 2012 Collection

Seated Luncheon with Fashion Presentation
Featuring National Women’s History Museum supporters

Be entered to win a $1000 EILEEN FISHER shopping spree and
receive a gift with any $500 EILEEN FISHER purchase

Saturday, April 14
12:00 pm

R Room
Level Three

A $50 donation to NWHM is kindly requested.

For questions:
202.966.9700, ext. 2352

Eileen Fisher is a proud supporter of the National Women’s History Museum ( Neiman Marcus and Eileen Fisher will donate a percentage of proceeds from the sales of the day to National Women’s History Museum. The Museum affirms the value of knowing Women’s History, illuminates the role of women in transforming society and encourages all people, women and men, to participate in democratic dialogue about our future.

Women’s History Trivia Night!

March 20th, 2012


Get your Women’s History Groove On…

Join the National Women’s History Museum at the Biergarten Haus on Tuesday, March 20th 

1355 H Street Northeast, Washington, DC 20002


 An evening of women’s history trivia in honor of Women’s History Month!

 No cover charge

Great beer and food specials!

 For directions and menu go to the Biergarten Haus website:

 Prizes including $50 gift certificate to the Biergarten Haus, iTunes gift cards, and memberships to the National Women’s History Museum

 10% of all proceeds from the evening will be donated to the National Women’s History Museum.

 Questions please contact Marjahn at 703-461-1920 or



Celebrating Computing Women Part VIII

March 20th, 2012

Welcome to our eighth post about women in the computer industry, contributed by Heather Elizabeth Ross.

Carla Meninsky

When Carla Meninsky was hired as a game designer for the Atarti 2600 console in the early 1980s, she was one of two female engineers working at Atari. While at Atari, Meninsky developed Indy 500 (1977), Star Raiders (1979), and Dodge ‘Em (1980). Dodge ‘Em involved controlling a race car on a four lane track and collecting dots in order to advance through the levels. Meninsky worked on the multiplayer game, Warlords, started her own computer contracting business, went to law school, and is currently an intellectual property attorney.


Dona Bailey

Dona Bailey started as an engineer at Atari in 1980. After Carol Shaw’s departure, Bailey was the only female game designer at the company. There she co-created and designed, along with Ed Logg, the classic arcade game, Centipede. After its release to instant success, Bailey disappeared from the video game industry only to resurface 26 years later as a keynote speaker at the 2007 Women in Games Conference. Bailey admitted it was the pressure and criticism from her male counterparts that drove her from the business. Today, Dona Bailey encourages women to pursue careers in computer gaming and works as a college instructor, teaching numerous courses, including game design.

Celebrating Computing Women Part VI

March 19th, 2012

Happy Monday to all of you! Here is the latest in our series about women in computing by contributing blogger, Heather Elizabeth Ross.

Radia Perlman (1951- )

Often referred to as the Mother of the Internet, Radia Perlman is a software designer and network engineer known for her invention of the spanning-tree protocol. This is a network protocol that ensures a loop-free topology for any bridged Ethernet local area network. She holds a BS and MA in Mathematics, as well as a PhD in Computer Science, all from MIT. Perlman has been influential in network design and standardization, including work on link-state protocols. This includes TRILL (Transparent Interconnect of Lots of Links), which she invented to correct flaws of spanning-tree architecture. Perlman has been a pioneer in teaching young children computer programming by developing TORTIS, a version of the educational robotics language, LOGO. Currently employed by Intel, Perlman holds more than 50 patents from Sun Microsystems Inc., which was acquired by Oracle in 2010. The Radia Perlman Computer Technology book series has eleven titles, of which Perlman co-authored three. Perlman was awarded the SIGCOMM lifetime achievement award and a similar honor from USENIX. Data Communications magazine named her one of the 20 most influential people in the technology industry. She received an honorary doctorate from the Royal Institute of Technology of Sweden. Radia Perlman is the recipient of one of three of the inaugural Women of Vision Awards from the Anita Borg Institute.

Sophie Wilson

Wilson, a British computer scientist, designed the Acorn Microcomputer in the late 1970s when she was an undergraduate at Cambridge University. In 1981, she revamped Acorn Atom’s BASIC programming language dialect into Acorn Proton. The Proton, another microcomputer, won Acorn an illustrious contract with the BBC. In 1983, Wilson devised the instruction set for one of the very first RISC processors, the Acorn RISC Machine.  She also designed Acorn Replay, the video architecture for Acorn machines Wilson currently works for Broadcom in the DSL business unit.

Celebrating Computing Women Part V

March 16th, 2012

Happy Friday! Welcome to our fifth in a series of biographies of pioneering women in computing by our guest blogger, Heather Elizabeth Ross.

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller (Unknown-1985)

Sister Mary Kenneth Keller is thought to be first woman to obtain a PhD in computer science, doing so at the University of Wisconsin in 1965. She assisted in the development of the BASIC computer language at Dartmouth which allowed her use the computer center that was previously solely used by men. Keller believed that women should be involved in computer science, particularly in information specialization. She said, “We’re having an information explosion…and it’s certainly obvious that information is of no use unless it’s available.” An interest in advancements in artificial intelligence propelled Keller to found and direct the computer science department at Clarke College in Iowa for twenty years.

Karen Sparck Jones (1935 – 2007)

Karen Sparck Jones, whose work in information retrieval is still among the most influential and cited in the field; she worked at Cambridge’s Computer Laboratory from 1974-2002 as Professor of Computers and Information. Sparck concentrated her work on natural language processing and information retrieval. Her most notable contribution was the concept of inverse document frequency (IDF), which is still used to rank word frequency in most search engines today. She was the first woman to receive the Lovelace Medal awarded by the British Computer Society.