Ada Lovelace Day


Ada Lovelace Day is today, March 24.

There’s a movement afoot to celebrate by blogging about women in technology and the sciences. More than 1500 bloggers have signed up; you can see the results listed here.

Here’s my contribution: Women in Industrial Research Labs.

In honor of Ada Lovelace Day, I’d like to raise a glass of virtual bubbly to all the amazing women scientists and researchers in the industrial research labs I’ve worked in… especially the ones who inspired and mentored (and hired) me.  More below the fold – but first:

Pop! hisssss…gurggurgle…

Here’s to long-time mentor and friend Carol Strohecker, now Director of the Center for Design Innovation at UNC. Carol was one of my grad school profs, and also hired me to help on her WayFinding 2.5D navigation project at Mitsubishi Electric Research Labs in Cambridge, MA.


To Joy Mountford, from the days at Interval Research: Joy gave me my first job in Silicon Valley, as an intern working on seekrit (but fun) projects. Joy could always ask the most difficult questions in the room. Also at Interval: I loved working with Rachel Strickland on her Portable Effects exhibit. And Brenda Laurel’s book Computers as Theater was one of the most influential I read in grad school.


Here’s to women research scientists at Xerox PARC, especially Elizabeth Mynatt, with whom I worked on the Audio Aura audio augmented reality system; and Maureen Stone, a computer graphics goddess and a compatriot in exploring VRML in the mid-90s. (When the three of us all wound up in the RED group at PARC, for a while there we each had fun/biz cards that read “Warrior Princess.” Girl bonding in the lab!)

Other women colleagues now or once at PARC who over the years shared conversations, projects, conference trips, papers, and the occasional margarita (though simple naming doesn’t do them justice): Brinda Dalal, Victoria Bellotti, Ame Elliott, Cathy Marshall, Karen Marcelo, Beki Grinter, Margaret Szymanski, Polle Zellweger, Diana Smetters. Here’s to you, ladies!


Last but not least, to my women colleagues here at FX Palo Alto Laboratory: Lynn Wilcox, Eleanor Rieffel, Thea Turner, Francine Chen, Pernilla Qvarfordt, Bee Liew; and those who have left FXPAL by now, Elizabeth Churchill, Livia Polanyi, and, in memoriam, Candace Kamm.

I’m sure I’ve missed a lot of great people – so here’s another one just to you:


Ladies, it’s been –and continues to be — an honor and a privilege.


Share on: