Women's History Month - Elizabeth Blackwell

The first woman to receive a medical degree in the US.

Queen Ranavalona III of Madagascar

The last Ruler of Madagascar.

She's Crafty - Microscopic Edition!

Some really cool science inspired crafts!

Happy Birthday - Septima Poinsette Clark

The "Queen Mother" or "Grandmother of the American Civil Rights Movement."

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Kickstart This!

Hello again! Here's your list of great crowd-funding projects that need some extra attention!

Latino/a Rising is the first collection of U.S. Latin@ science fiction, fantasy, and other speculative genres. Matthew David Goodwin has worked tirelessly to bring together the writings and artwork by Latin@ artists to create this fantastic anthology.
U.S. Latinos/as have a long history of using speculative fiction to confront issues of social oppression and to express the hope for a better future. We can look back, for example, to the farm worker movement and Luis Valdez’s play “Los Vendidos” where Mexican and Chicano/a figures are represented by robots.

It is in this tradition that this project is being developed through the effort of a large and diverse community. In addition to this Kickstarter Campaign, we will rely on grants and donations from Latino/a community organizations, universities, and foundations. Once the book is published we will offer to hold book readings at the various institutions that were involved.

Exiles, is a series of trans-themed comics by Christianne Benedict and Rachel K. Zall, previously published online, but finally collected into one place, and in print!
It's the expression of our experiences from our own mouths and hands and it enables us to define ourselves without the imposition of the norms of a majority that does not share those experiences. Indeed, art from our hands can educate that majority. Additionally, I believe that it is beholden upon us to create an economy of our own as a counterbalance to the economic iniquities many of us experience in late capitalism. This is, admittedly, also self-interested.

Hey! RPGers! Check it out! The Ruined Empire, an anime-inspired RPG campaign by Anna Kreider, is a system-neutral campaign setting and source book set in a land of five nations in conflict, ripe with adventure and danger.
I wrote the original setting for Andy Kitkowski back in 2012 as a backer reward for the Kickstarter of the English translation of Tenra Bansho Zero. Originally, this was done as work-for-hire, which meant that I got paid for my work and Andy was to retain the rights for future publication. The original intent had been to get this illustrated and published as an official Tenra supplement. However, for a variety of reasons, that fell through until now.

This campaign is to fund an expanded version of that original campaign setting. Ruined Empire was originally written to be used with the Tenra Bansho Zero system, but the setting itself is a pretty accessible mashup of common anime tropes and Final Fantasy-inspired themes, and would work well with a variety of game systems.

Feminist Apparel is trying to keep misogyny off the shelves with their line of pro-feminist clothing.
We hold the idea that you can be a feminist if you believe in and act on equality. Men, women, and people who say no to the gender binary are all welcome to the movement. That’s why we create clothing that ranges from XS-5XL, cover issues ranging from street harassment to gender stereotypes, and feature designs from our Feminist Creatives community that give up-and-coming feminist designers an outlet to share their work and get paid for it. There’s no reason that equality should be unpopular. Purchase a t-shirt, tell your friends about it, and in doing so, know that you’re doing a valuable service by calling out sexism in your community and creating an inclusive movement toward equality.

I absolutely love this Notable Women in Computing Card Deck by Jessica Dickinson Goodman.
Women in this card deck were selected after receiving multiple, high-level awards from more than one institution, such as being named an ACM Fellow, IEEE Fellow, and receiving the Turing Award. Our deck also seeks to portray the true diversity of women in computing both current and historical, showcasing professionals from a variety of nations, backgrounds, gender identities, orientations and abilities. There are a dozen or more different groupings of notable women we could have turned into this deck; you can make your own using the instructions at the bottom of this page.

Birthing Justice: Black Women, Pregnancy and Childbirth is a powerful book that digs beneath the surface of the statistics surrounding pregnancy- and birth-related deaths in the black community. In turns heartbreaking and inspirational, this powerful anthology will transform forever the way you think about childbirth, with over 20 black women sharing deeply moving stories about giving birth and childbirth activism.
The money pledged will be used to fund the reproduction of high quality color photographs of quilt squares dedicated to black women who died of pregnancy-related causes in the book. The pieces were created by family members and volunteers for the Safe Motherhood Quilt, to keep alive the memory of their loved ones. Our small social justice-oriented publisher cannot afford the cost of color reproduction but we want to honor the women by reproducing the images as they were meant to be seen. If enough funds are received, we will also be able to promote the book through a nationwide book-tour.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Joinin' in on the Bloglovin'

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

In an effort to reach as many potential readers as possible, I'm spreading the lovin'... the blog lovin' that is!

Are you on Bloglovin'? Or do you use another method of tracking your favorite blogs? RSS? Feedly? Something I haven't heard of yet? Please leave a note in the comments letting me know how you found SRPS!

Quote of the Day

You. Yes, you. You are special.

"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost." Martha Graham

Monday, October 13, 2014

Latin@ Heritage Month - Latinas in Space 4

This is the fourth in a series of posts about Latinas working in the Space Industry. As you can read the first, second, and third posts, there are Latinas working at or for NASA in a wide variety of roles -- doing science, designing equipment, etc. Here are four more smart Latinas to celebrate!

Laurie Y. Carrillo
Laurie Y. Carrillo is a Materials Engineer, currently conducting thermal analysis to support the development of the Orion Crew Exploration Vehicle, NASA's next generation spacecraft. She creates computer models to simulate the heating of a spacecraft from internal systems and external environment heating. For this, she uses her knowledge of orbital mechanics, heat transfer, materials, programming, and applied mathematics.

Laurie was born in San Antonio, Texas. Her father was a migrant farm worker, and her mother was the daughter of a trash collector. She attended Robert E. Lee High School in San Antonio, Texas, for two years, but spent her junior and senior years at the Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, a residential program for students who are gifted in math and science, where she graduated in 1994. She then earned her BA in Mathematics and Computational & Applied Math, as well as a BS in Materials Science and Engineering from Rice University in 1998. In 2002, she received a MS in Aerospace Engineering, with an emphasis in Space Operations, from the University of Colorado. She returned to Rice University to complete her PhD in Mechanical Engineering. Her area study involved numerical radiative heat transfer at the nanoscale, with applications in space technology, nanorobotics, advanced energy systems, and high speed computing systems.

Her career at NASA started as an intern the summer after her freshman year at college. But her dreams about space started much earlier. She spent many evenings lying on towels alongside her cousins, looking up at the stars, listening while her grandmother told them stories. She was particularly fond of a story about Salina, a young girl who was taken up to heaven and allowed to touch a star. Later, when she saw a Sesame Street segment where Sally Ride launched Oscar the Grouch out of his trash can, she realized there was a place where she could go to work as an adult.

In 1998, she was hired as a flight controller. She spent the next five years in the Advanced Space Propulsion Lab conducting thermal analysis. She also served as the Development Project Lead for the Space and Life Sciences Astromaterials team, and as the Lab Manager for the Advanced Curation Laboratory at Johnson Space Center.

Over her career, she has received many awards, served on several prominent professional committees, and even was involved in the Space Generation Summit held at the World Space Congress. Laurie has been selected by the Society of Women Engineers to receive the Past Presidents Award based on outstanding academic achievement as well as strong engineering potential. She was chosen as a Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Award Conference/Daimler Chrysler Scholar in 2005 and 2008. She was selected as a Zonta International Amelia Earhart Fellow for 2006-07. In addition, Laurie led the Mexican American Engineers and Scientists Houston Professional Chapter to receive the highest award that a chapter could receive-Professional Chapter of the Year for 2001. "[A]ny time a Latina breaks a barrier, this opens the door for her to serve as a role model for those following behind. The more Latinas that enter technical fields, the more they will inspire younger generations of Latinas to consider these fields.”

Laurie Y. Carrillo profile on Latina Women of NASA
Reaching for the Stars - Latinas at NASA

Pat Carreon
Pat Carreon is an electrical engineer who's worked at Goddard Space Flight Center and Johnson Space Center.

She was born in San Antonio, Texas, where she grew up honoring her roots in Mexico and Spain. She earned her BS in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University, and her MS in Electrical Engineering from George Mason University.

While at Goddard, she was the network engineer for the Hubble Space Telescope Vision 2000 project. She also wrote flight software for the Gamma Ray Observatory and helped develop the Data Distribution Facility. In 1998, she transferred to Johnson Space Center, where she worked in the Missions Operations Directorate conducting operations research and strategic development. She also served as the lead for the development of the command servers and data archive server, supporting Shuttle and Space Station missions and simulators.

She is currently working with the Advanced Operations Cadre, reevaluating the way NASA performs operations on future missions and supporting the NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations and Desert Research, where astronauts live in an underwater habitat, and Technology Study, where humans and robots are tested in an extreme desert environment in a meteor crater in Arizona.

She serves on the board reviewing proposals for newly designed launch vehicles, as well as examining the requirements necessary to return to flight space shuttle effort, and defining the future role of orbiters and crew exploration vehicles. She also spends time as a mentor for other NASA engineers through the Johnson Space Center mentorship program, as well as mentoring high school students interested in pursuing careers in engineering and science.

Pat Carreon profile on Latina Women of NASA

Adriana Ocampo
Adriana Ocampo is a planetary geologist and the Science Program Manager at NASA.

She was born in Barranquilla, Columbia, on January 5, 1955. Her family moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina, while she was still an infant, and then again to Pasadena, California, when she was 15, in 1970. In 1983, she graduated with a BS in Geology from California State University, Los Angeles. She then went on to earn her MS in Planetary Geology from California State University, Northridge, in 1997, with a thesis on the Chicxulub impact crater in Mexico. The Chicxulub crater was the major factor that caused a mass extinction 65 million years ago on our planet. Ocampo and her colleagues also discovered the Aorounga Crater Chain in Chad in 1996. She completed her PhD at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.

Starting in 1973 while she was still in high school, she volunteered at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and returned as an employee during her summer breaks throughout college.

From 1998 to 2002, she worked as a Program Executive for Space Science missions, including missions with the European Space Agency, Russia, Japan, and Argentina. She also served as the desk officer for NASA's Office of External Relations working with Spain, Portugal, and Latin America.

From 2002 to 2004 she worked as a senior research staff member conducting research in comparative planetology of Solar System bodies. She was a member of the Mars Express Project Scientist Team, and worked to develop and implement the payload-commissioning plan. She also acted as the deputy project scientist for Venus Express, developing science operation architecture and an educational outreach plan.

In 2005, she was the Investigation Scientist for the Mars Odyssey Gamma Ray Spectrometer/High Energy Neutron Detector and the Mars Program Science Division and the Solid Earth and Natural Program.

In 1992, she received the Woman of the Year Award in Science from the ComisiĆ³n Femenil. She also received the Advisory Council for Women Award at Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1996 and the Science and Technology Award from the Chicano Federation in 1997. In 2003, she was selected among the 50 most important women in science by Discovery Magazine. She has served on the National Board of Directors and as the Chair of International Affairs Committee of the US Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, working to establish technical programs of cooperation of university student exchange programs between the US and Mexico. She is a member of The Planetary Society Advisory Council, the Association of Women in Geo-sciences, the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, and the Society of Women Engineers mentoring young girls.

Adriana Ocampo biography on Wikipedia
Adriana Ocampo profile on Latina Women of NASA

Berta Alfonso
Berta Alfonso is an electrical and computer science engineer who designed and developed computer hardware and software for projects supporting the Space Shuttle program and the International Space Station. She is currently serving as a University Affairs Office at Kennedy Space Center, leading educational programs connecting NASA with students and faculty around the world.

She was born in Cuba, but her family moved to the United States when she was six. She was enrolled in first grade without knowing any English. Fortunately, she found that math didn't have a language barrier. After high school, she earned her BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Miami. She then went on to earn a MS in Systems Engineering and Management from the University of Central Florida.

She joined NASA as a Design Engineer, where her first design project was a circuit card to emulate the Payload Signal Processor, a shuttle flight box that sends commands to shuttle payloads. Her card was used to test payloads on the ground before being launched, to ensure things work properly once in space.

She has also worked on software used for processing the health and safety of Space Station modules. And she has designed a flight interface card to receive data for analysis while in flight.

She is now serving as the Lead for Eduction in many agency-wide project managed at Kennedy Space Center, effectively merging her two passions: education and engineering.

"Do research and tinker. Learn to use your library resources, and to find reliable information on the internet. Ask questions to people working in fields that interest you. Learn by doing! Remember: You don’t always have to be right. All you have to do is to be willing to learn."

Berta Alfonso profile on Latina Women of NASA
Berta Alfonso profile on Mission Control website

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Weekend Reading

Here it is! Your weekly list of longreads! It's a long list this week, to make up for taking last week off. OK, not really. It's just that there were so many great long reads this week! Here's hoping you have a great weekend, filled with lots of fun and some quiet moments to read!

Jaya Saxena has a great piece on The Aerogram about her experiences being biracial: Identity In Pieces: When You Don’t Know Where You Count.
This confusion at your own place is the essence of being biracial. Even though you owe no one an explanation, there’s a desire to explain, which comes from believing that just by being yourself you are a liar. You’re an intruder in either space, with no right to claim one or the other without a heavy caveat. You’re not really what you say you are, not “technically.” It’s my feeling the need to need to clarify at those weddings, to say “I’m not entirely part of this group” or “It’s ok that I’m wearing this because my dad is Indian,” before anyone could call me out on my trespass.

Longreads Blog has a great interview with Sarah Menkedick, founder of Vela Magazine on  the limitations for women writers in publishing, and how her new venture plans to address that.
Ultimately, I wanted to create a publication that would be written by women because I wanted to say hey, women can do this kind of voice-driven innovative nonfiction, too, and you should be hiring and publishing them and reading their work, and also because I wanted to read more of this kind of work and find more women writers working between limited categories. I wanted a space that would not be marketed to women as dealing with “women’s” subjects, since I think part of the reason the byline gap exists is because certain subjects are considered “women’s” and marginalized, whereas men can write about anything without the subject being considered “male.” Also, while women are ushered toward these more “female” arenas, men are given meatier reporting assignments, and more dangerous and competitive assignments, as well as the intellectual freedom to write essays or criticism on a wide array of topics.
One of the goals of Vela’s current Kickstarter campaign is to fund bigger, more ambitious projects by women writers.

Want to see more women directing movies in Hollywood? Jessica Kiang has a fantastic list with lots of evidence in IndieWire: 10 Female Directors Who Deserve More Attention From Hollywood.
So who, among the roughly 6% of directors who are women (the figure put forth in this widely reported 2014 survey), should work more? Short answer is, obviously, all of them. Because if we’re working to redress the ludicrous gender imbalance that exists in the U.S. film industry (and that is a too-obvious-to-even-comment-on goal, right? Right?) we need to see a dramatic uptick in stats like the percentage of women who direct the top 250 movies in any given year (2013’s depressing figure of 6% is actually down 3% from 2012, which is even more depressing). And let’s just repeat once again that, while “diversity” is a buzzword bandied about liberally these days, we’re not talking about a minority here (which is a whole other, though related, issue) we’re talking about women—50% of the population and, crucially, 50% of cinema audiences. (Also, 100% of the writers of this article, so have at it, crazy anti-feminist internet trolls.)

And speaking of women in Hollywood, Jack Heckel has written a charming, if totally scientific, accounting of Disney's historic reliance on a specific fairytale trope in Are All Princesses Really Waiting for Princes to Come?
Fortunately, things do not end there, because the thesis of this article is not that Dworkin and de Beauvoir are unassailably correct in their criticisms of fairytales. Anyone who has read the Grimm Brother’s collection or Lang or Perrault know that female roles in these stories run the gamut from passive to active, from porcelain doll to hardened adventurer, and everything in between—it simply took seventy plus years for modern popular culture to catch up.

Emma Healey has written a beautifully touching piece for The Hairpin illustrating the power of telling a story to open up lines of communication and honesty in Stories Like Passwords. [CN: sexual abuse, rape]
If you listen to enough stories like this, you’ll start to hear a few themes. These men are not ever that big of a deal. What they do to us is never really that bad in the grand scheme of things, no matter how big it feels at the time. It could always have been much worse. We might just have been misreading the situation. They might not have meant anything by it. They’ve never apologized – but then again, we’ve never asked them to.

The men in stories like this always have just enough power, in their little worlds and in ours, that to confront them would be to court an ordeal, to invite others to question our own memories and motives. It’s always more trouble than it’s worth. If you don’t have hard proof, if you don’t have a police report, then what do you have? Only what you remember. Only what you felt.

The ever awesome Roxane Gay has written a wonderful piece about The Price of Black Ambition for The Virginia Quarterly Review.
I have come to realize how much I have, throughout my life, bought into the narrative of this alluring myth of personal responsibility and excellence. I realize how much I believe that all good things will come if I—if we—just work hard enough. This attitude leaves me always relentless, always working hard enough and then harder still. I am ashamed that sometimes a part of me believes we, as a people, will be saved by those among us who are exceptional without considering who might pay the price for such salvation or who would be left behind.

Jeffrey Rosen has a great interview piece with the Notorious R.B.G. and her thoughts about feminism and other pressing matters: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Is an American Hero
Work for the things that you care about. I think of the ’70s, when many young women supported an Equal Rights Amendment. I was a proponent of the ERA. The women of my generation and my daughter’s generation, they were very active in moving along the social change that would result in equal citizenship stature for men and women. One thing that concerns me is that today’s young women don’t seem to care that we have a fundamental instrument of government that makes no express statement about the equal citizenship stature of men and women. They know there are no closed doors anymore, and they may take for granted the rights that they have.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Follow Friday

Here's your weekly list of awesome folks you should be following!

In researching the Latinas in Space series, I discoveed Latinas in STEM's Facebook page. It's chock full of great posts, highlighting the truly amazing Latinas out there doing awesome stuff. You can also follow them on  Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

I just love Black Girl Nerds. I have been following them on Twitter for ages, and really enjoy reading their take on pop culture and nerdy pursuits. Because, you know, nerd-dome is big enough for all of us! You can also follow them on Google+ and Facebook.

I'm continually amazed by the things Maria Popova of Brain Pickings posts. Always smart and fun and just the perfect thing to read at the moment. Check out her posts on Facebook and Twitter.

And then there's Limor Fried, aka ladyada, founder of Adafruit Industries. You may recognize her from the Glamour magazine article shared around earlier this week. When she's not busy running a company and inventing all kinds of awesome stuff, she posts other awesome stuff on Google+ and Twitter. You should also follow the Adafruit Industries feeds on Google+, YouTube, and Facebook,