Audrey Williams: Techy-Feely

Audrey Williams is someone I’ve been lucky to know for over twenty years. We met when we were in college and working at the same summer camp (pretty nerdy, hunh?). I was blown away by her genius then, and still am. When I decided to launch this blog, I immediately thought of Audrey! Not only is she brilliant, but her Facebook posts constantly remind me how much fun it is to be a nerdy chick. Like the one about how to cut snowflakes that resemble Yoda’s head (repeated six times, of course). And the one about great science party tricks. A former curator of The American Museum of Science and Energy (AMSE), Audrey has already held the consummate nerdy chick job! She is currently Director of Educational Technology Services at Pellissippi State Community College, a position that’s still pretty nerdy! Today, I am glad to introduce her to you here. 

Welcome Audrey! What is your favorite way to flaunt your brain power?

Well, I grew up loving Jeopardy and I do love the trivia games as well as other word games like Apples to Apples and Balderdash (although, my family played it just with a dictionary and we called it “Fictionary”).  However, I think puns are my favorite way to demonstrate some brain power. My sister and I can get into some really groan inducing pun wars.

As far as “flaunting” goes, I think showing off your mad searching skills with Google, a library database, Wikipedia or [pick your own reference source] is a great way to demonstrate how much you know because you can find it.

We called it Fictionary too, Audrey! Tell us how your brain power is an asset to our career?

In both science and technology related careers, brain power and curiosity are the two biggest assets to have. Because technology is always changing, I am constantly learning.  The important part for me is using brain power to both understand the technology and consider how it impacts us as people. I like to call it being techy-feely. In fact, that is the name of my personal blog.

Can you think of a particular time when nerdiness turned out to be an advantage?

Sure! The auditioned choir at the college where I work goes goes on tour in Europe during most of our spring breaks. I jokingly told the choir director that they needed to have someone go on the tour with them to blog and photograph the trip for the folks back home. I have now been on two tours with them to France and Hungary and was able to blog, photograph and video their performances and the entire trip. Have nerdy chick, will travel!

What an awesome fringe benefit to nerdy chickness!  Can you name a favorite achievement that you can credit to being a nerdy chick?

You mean besides winning the 6th grade science award??

One of my favorites was during the summer that Atlanta hosted the Olympic Games. I co-created an entire exhibit for AMSE on the science of sports. It was a big exhibit and I was very happy with it once it was done. Being a nerdy chick gave me the curiosity and drive to learn about unusual sports in the Olympics, like kayaking and wrestling, and think about the science involved to come up with the activities and objects to display.

What’s cool about being nerdy?

Everything. If it is who you are, then it is cool.

Do you have a favorite t.v. show, book series, or movie series that you follow (or that you know by heart)? What about it appeals to you?

You know I am a geek when I have to answer Star Wars. My favorite character is Yoda and I have at least eleven Yodas in my office at work and many more at home. The most recent addition is a Yoda goblet that a co-worker found at an estate sale and my most unusual one is probably my Yoda soap and shampoo set.

Television is a different story.  I spend my entire day in technology, so at home I just have to take a break and watch something silly. My all-time favorite series is M*A*S*H. If it is on and I find it, I have to watch it. The characters are smart and funny, the best kind.

I love M*A*S*H too! I own the box set and I listen to it almost every single night as I doze off. One more question! What’s something you like to do that might be considered a tad bit nerdy, but is actually really fun?

Oh boy, this will really sound nerdy but it is a lot of fun. I like numbers and making patterns from them. I also love infographics. Finding a way to clearly demonstrate some type of concept or data collection in a graphical, easy to understand and fun way is a challenge and a talent.

My favorite, though, is a meme called “Song Charts” which basically are infographics for song lyrics. They are fun because you get to mix up music with mathematics and/or graphs.  Frequently they are pie charts or bar graphs but I have also created flowcharts, timetables and Venn diagrams.

First, you find a song with lyrics that you would want to graph. Rap songs are very popular but I tend to the songs from when I was a DJ on the radio in college. The nerdy part is figuring out how to graph the song lyrics.  I like to use Excel to create the graphs rather than just drawing them so you have the extra challenge of getting the data points entered and building the chart.

To learn more about Audrey, visit her blog at http://www.techy-feely.net .

But wait! In case you’re not convinced that Audrey is not the consummate nerdy chick, you can check her out in various other techy-feely places like Twitter, her school blog, her bio site, at about.me, Delicious, Flickr, Vimeo, and You Tube. Just so you don’t have to count them, I’ll go ahead and tell you that that totals 9 techy links!  Thanks so much for sharing your journey down the information highway Audrey!

If you have a little more time, check out the other nerdy chick interviews on this site:

Shanna Stanton, artist; Aimee Friedman, editor; and Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, author

 

Quotable Nerdy Chick: Eleanor Roosevelt

Eleanor Roosevelt was born in 1884 and is best known for her role as an outspoken first lady while her husband, Franklin D. Roosevelt was president. She is also admired for her humanitarian work. After President Roosevelt died, she was appointed to the United Nations General Assembly and later chaired the United Nations Human Rights Commission. She spoke up about human rights, women’s issues, poverty, and racial discrimination. She said a lot of witty and wise things. I’m sharing five of these with you today!

 Eleanor Roosevelt Quotes:

  • A little simplification would be the first step toward rational living, I think.
  • Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.
  • Freedom makes a huge requirement of every human being. With freedom comes responsibility. For the person who is unwilling to grow up, the person who does not want to carry his own weight, this is a frightening prospect.
  • Friendship with one’s self is all important, because without it one cannot be friends with anyone else in the world.
  • Happiness is not a goal; it is a by-product.

I think some of Eleanor’s words are timeless. In fact, I’ve seen a few of these quotes floating around Facebook recently. To see other Nerdy Chick Quotes click HERE. I will be adding to this list weekly… but only one quote per chick!


Shanna Stanton: Artist and Norm Flouter

I met Shanna Stanton five years ago when I moved to Beaufort SC. I immediately liked her.  Far more stylish than this nerdy chick could ever dream of being, Shanna didn’t seem like a fellow nerdy chick at first. Yet she was. And is! What makes her fit into this category is the way she looks at life. She does what she thinks is right, accepts each person she meets as in individual with something to offer, and doesn’t worry what anyone else thinks. Thus she has a more varied group of friends than anyone I know. She also works hard to make sure her children are both academically and artistically challenged while in school. This is a goal we share, and so we worked on several creative and academic projects together while she was here. Now an artist working from San Diego California, Shanna shares some of her own Nerdy Chick philosophies. Thanks Shanna!

What social norms are you fond of flouting? 

I have never been one to play the role of what is expected by others.  I always felt social norms are controlled by society trying to make everyone have the same social identity to some extent.  I love my individuality and living outside my box 😉 So I would have to say all of them…because I live every day for me not what everyone else thinks I should be. I love being called “artsy” because I know that it is not the social norm;)

If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Have confidence in yourself and the insightful gifts that you have been given.  It is fabulous just to be who you are and not worry about how anyone views you.

Tell us about a well-known chick you admire and why you admire her. This can be a fictitious chick!

I love Classic Literature; so I would have to say Jane Eyre.  Her story is one of a nerdy chick that knows her self-worth.  In the end, she finds the most important gift of life is not of fortune, but true love.  Her ability to look past tragedy and find true love is why I admire her so.  She obtained her own happiness by being true to who she was and not what society dictated for her to be.

You love art and fashion, how are these interests enhanced by being a nerdy chick?

Being a nerdy chick gave me the ability to create different pathways to being an artist.  It assisted me in creating networks and avenues for different opportunities in South Carolina and California.  As far as fashion… I just love what I love and honestly could care less if someone did not like my “artsy” flare.  Confidence is the key to success in life.  You have to believe in yourself and when you are a nerdy chick  I think it gives you an edge to a more creative, confident path.  You know how much I love having a “little” flare and can appreciate flare in others.  All my friends have that “flare”; some hide it well and others just flaunt it through artistic expression!  hmmm…I am thinking of Kara McAllister;)

How does your brainpower help you when you approach a canvas with a paintbrush?

When you are an artist there are so many components to creating of your artwork.  It is not just about placing random colors, but yet a more complex thought process of composition and movement.  You have to be able to convey a feeling as if you were writing a novel or a poem.  It should impact the viewer by letting them question your reason for painting the piece.   I have to formulate my artwork from the knowledge that I have learned over the past twenty years and incorporate my artistic vision on a canvas.  When I paint, I am allowed to step outside my box and give a perspective that only I see.

For me brain power is not about whether I know more information than another, it is the fact that I can take the ordinary around me and makes it extraordinary. Brainpower has given me confidence in artistic freedom.  It allows me to pick up my paint brush and realize that with a single stroke of paint I am creating a story for the whole world to interrupt the way in which they want to.

Do you have a favorite hobby? Details please!

Fashion…fashion…fashion!   I love being able to express myself through my own unique look.  Whether it is designing wire jewelry in my studio, picking out wedge heels with that perfect pair of jeans, or creating that perfect look with a makeup palette to go out for the night; I love being able to have that option of color and style !  It is so fabulous being able to express yourself as a creative one of a kind individual!

To find out more about Shanna and her art, visit her at www.SLSORIGINALS.com


Well, that’s two out of three of nerdy chicks interviewed so far who like fashion. And I happen to know that editor Aimee Friedman loves shoes!  But no pressure fellow nerdy chicks, a lot of us (including myself) like other things better. The thing to remember is it’s all about choice!  If you have time, look at the quotes from Golda Meir. That top one reminds me of Shanna.


Quotable Nerdy Chick: Golda Meir

So, I’ve been traveling around SC this week promoting THE BOY PROJECT and it has been both exhilarating and exhausting!  Already early in the blog’s life and I missed a Friday post…. but here it is. Notice that I’ve changed the topic? At the suggestion of Sudipta, and because the response has been better to the quotes than the activity, I’ve decided to try a Quotable Nerdy Chick post every Friday instead of a Pick of the Chick Chicktivity. I’ll still sprinkle those in from time to time when I find something awesome to do! Feel free to comment on this change. I love feedback!

When I was researching quotable females, I loved some of the things Golda Meir had to say. Here is a little about her:

Golda Meir was elected the fourth Prime Minister of the State of Israel in 1969. She was Israel’s first woman to hold the office and only the third woman in the world to be named Prime Minister.  As Prime Minister, many of her famous quotes refer to war and to relationships between nations, but she also had a lot of other inspirational and insightful observations. Five of these follow.

Golda Meir Quotes:

  • Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.

  • I can honestly say that I was never affected by the question of the success of an undertaking. If I felt it was the right thing to do, I was for it regardless of the possible outcome.

  • To be successful, a woman has to be much better at her job than a man.

  • Not being beautiful was the true blessing. Not being beautiful forced me to develop my inner resources. The pretty girl has a handicap to overcome.

  • One cannot and must not try to erase the past merely because it does not fit the present.

    The first quote above is my favorite! To see other Nerdy Chick Quotes click HERE. I will be adding to this list weekly… but only one quote per chick!

Aimee Friedman: Editor, Writer, Trivia Contender

Scholastic Senior Editor Aimee Friedman signing her book Sea Change.

A self-professed nerdy chick, Aimee Friedman is not only a brilliant Senior Editor at Scholastic, but she is also a New York Times bestselling author. Aimee has amazing vision on how to arrange words in a way that makes good better and better best. Maybe this is because she knows a lot more words than the average chick! In addition to being fluent in French, Aimee also speaks a bit of Russian, Hungarian, and Yiddish. I was amazed at the insight Aimee had when it came to my manuscript and I’m so glad that my book was on the receiving end of her brain power!

What is your favorite way to flaunt your brain power?

I’m a huge trivia buff! I kick butt and take names at Trivial Pursuit (could be my friends find me slightly annoying when this happens, but what can you do?). I’m a big fan of brain-y games in general, whether it’s Apples to Apples or Taboo (all games I highly recommend for nerdy chicks everywhere!). It’s also a lifelong dream of mine to appear on Jeopardy!  Maybe some day…

Tell us about a time when nerdiness turned out to be an advantage.

I was a straight-A student in junior high, a time when it wasn’t always the coolest thing to be the best in the class (in fact, I remember some fellow classmates of mine, who were actually intelligent, pretending to be bad students, which infuriated me even then!). In eighth grade, I took an exam that allowed me entrance to the Bronx High School of Science, a fantastic public school in New York City that seriously values brain power! I remember the feeling of relief, upon starting ninth grade and learning that hey—in this school, nerdy can equal cool. It was a great experience. 

If you could give your middle school or high school self one piece of advice, what would it be?

Things will come to you when you are ready for them (be they boyfriends, certain experiences, certain achievements). Also: keep writing!

Tell us about a fictitious chick you admire and why you admire her.

Well, I may be a bit biased, but I am a big fan of Kara McAllister, star of THE BOY PROJECT. She is smart and motivated but also a fun, sweet, relatable character who shows us that you can be super-brainy and still daydream about boys (and end up with a terrific boy!).  (Awww, thanks Aimee! It didn’t cross my mind that you might say that… maybe because Kara seems so real to me that I forget she’s fictitious!)

 

Do you have a favorite female role model?

My mom. She is super-smart. She speaks five languages fluently (for real!) and reads more books in one week than I probably can in a year. She’s also, most importantly, an awesome, caring, and encouraging mom. Definitely my inspiration!  

Do you have a favorite hobby? Details please!

Well, my favorite hobby is writing! The problem is, I worry that it can’t actually be a hobby when it’s also my job. (In addition to my job as an editor, which I also love). Still, writing is my favorite way to pass the time, and in many ways, that’s what one should hope for in life—getting to do for work what they also do for love. 

My favorite hobby is writing too! To find out more about what Aimee likes and what she writes visit her website www.aimeefriedmanbooks.com

Nerdy Chick Giveaway

 

Enter to win this gift box with a Boy Project theme!

Giveaway runs from 1/16 to 1/31 2012 Midnight EST. Giveaway includes:

Signed copy of Last Minute Science Fair Projects by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

Signed copy of The Boy Project, with 10+ annotated pages

10 rolls of fun and funky duct tape

Purple pocket journal with purple LePen

The Boy Project bracelets and bookmarks

Pedicured pencils kit in glitter container and a very pretty box to put it all (or most of it) in!

How to enter:

Because this is a new blog, there are several ways to enter!

1. Comment on this post to enter. (Everyone who enters must do this to make it easier for me to keep track.)

For extra entries:

2.Comment on other posts on this site to enter. Add (+1) after each additional entry including those in the future up to Jan 31.

3. Follow Kami Kinard’s Author Page on Facebook. (+1 AP) (Click follow in the right sidebar.)

4. Be a follower of this site (just click “Follow this blog” to the right.) (+1 F)

5. Link to this contest on Twitter, Facebook, etc. [+1 entry per each link].(+1 FB link,+1 TW link)

Please list your extra entries in the comments like the samples above.

If you are already follow this blog, or follow my author page, go ahead and count those as a +1!

This is a heavy box, so I’m afraid the full contest is open in the US only. Residents of Europe and Canada who want to participate can enter to win the signed copy of THE BOY PROJECT.

Wanna know more about the great stuff in the box and why I picked it? Keep reading! Otherwise, enjoy the contest!

You can find out more about Last Minute Science Fair Projects click HERE. Kara McAllister sure could have used this book when she needed to come up with a science project at the last minute. (page 135)

You can find out more about THE BOY PROJECT here. There are also links to outtakes that didn’t make it into the book here.

Duct tape: Kara uses duct tape to get out of an embarrasing situation … and she uses it to help achieve her goals!

Journal and LePen: I wrote in journals constantly as a tween and teen! And I made hundreds of drawings with my trusty LePen.

Pedicured Pencil Kit: Kara mentions these on page 15. If you want to see how the ones we made turned out look here.

That’s it for now! Good luck!

Pssst… If you haven’t heard about it yet, there is an amazing giveaway over on the Apocalypsies Blog!

First Ever Pick of the Chick! Who Doesn’t Love a Hula Hoop?

I was reluctant to post my first Pick of the Chick feature because I wanted everyone to have a chance to read the last post in which I interviewed the fabulous Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen. If you didn’t catch that one, check it out HERE.

So…. so many cool activities, so little time. What to talk about first? I picked the Hula Hoop! We know these plastic circles as Hula Hoops because that’s what the toy manufacturer Wham-O called them, but apparently the hoops, once made of vines or wood, had been around for hundreds or thousands of years. They became insanely popular when Wham-o began manufacturing them in smooth plastic, selling 100 million in two years between 1057 and 1959! And while the Hula Hoops kids use are great, they are really sized for small children. Did you know there is a simple way to make an adult and teen sized Hula Hoops? There is! And it is far easier to keep it moving when you use a hoop that is the right size. So our first Pick of the Chick feature is how to make your own Hula Hoop!

I was at a workshop where a group of adults were taught to make these and they had so much fun making them and decorating them with duct tape that I had to try it. I’ve had my art students create these hoops and I’ve hosted a Hula Hoop making party for my daughter, where every girl brought a roll of fancy duct tape to pitch in and I supplied the rest of the materials.

Here are the best instructions I have found for Hula Hoop making. And rather than copy them here, I am going to send you over to Jason’s Unbound!

But let me give a few tips that Jason doesn’t tell you!

We found the tubing for these in the plumbing section of Lowes.

Because the tubing is purchased in rolls, you will want to find some friends to do this with. It’s more fun that way, anyway!

If you are doing this with children, you can use a very small amount of hot water to expand the tubes. A coffee cup full works great. I usually take a thermos of hot water in and refill the cup as needed. (Adult supervision for cutting the tube is required. I do all of the cutting.) Also, we use colorful duct tape, but you can order fancy hoop tape like that used on the hoops above. Some of the hoops we made are pictured below.

Everyone who has made one of these hoops with me has walked away with a hoop in the hand and a smile on the face. Next time you’re bored, give this chicktivity a try!