GirlGeek of the Week
Elizabeth holds a Bachelor's and a Master's
degree in behavioral science and worked for NASA doing research
in Aerospace Human Factors, and the space program developing life
science experiments for flight on the shuttle. When she used her
computer/technology savvy to put together an automated data acquisition
system for NASA, which was very well received by the scientific
community, Elizabeth seriously began to think about a career change.
NASA to stay home with her brand new baby girl just as the Internet
was coming into its own. "Instead of watching soap operas I decided
to teach myself all about the Internet, " she said. After six weeks
of surfing, Elizabeth created extremescience.com. The site attracted
attention and she is now a professional Web designer.
did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers
experience with computers was as a child when my father, an engineer
for IBM at the time, was building his own computer. I was fascinated
by the complexity and confusion of the internal parts of the computer,
watching intently as my father soldered tiny components onto a breadboard.
He was never able to finish the project for lack of time, but he
brought home an Apple II just a few years later. He set me and my
sisters up on the Apple and showed us how to navigate the system
and what it could be used for. I remember going begrudgingly at
first, and then really got disgusted when I had sat up until 2:00am
composing an entire thesis (eight pages) and the electricity went
out! It was a very painful lesson, but a very important one: always
pause to save your work and make back ups!
that bad experience I learned that computers were very powerful
tools. Even at a very young age I was savvy enough to know that
I'd better learn to be proficient with computers because I knew
they would figure prominently in my future. I took a programming
class in Basic in high school and fell in love with technology.
do you earn a living?
I am currently
working for small, but multi-national start up company as the in-house
Web professional. I report directly to the VP of Marketing.
Do you consider yourself a Geek?
have, always will. You really have to be an independent spirit to
follow your heart, even though social pressures would have you do
something more acceptable for a woman who's attractive and socially
competent. There's been a lot of pressure for me to do non-Geek
things - like modeling, sales, teaching, etc. But since I have the
smarts, the desire to be intellectually challenged, and a "no fear"
mentality, technology is a career I'm very well suited to.
is your favorite Website?
I'd be lying if I said it was anything other than my own - extremescience.com.
It is my labor of love and continues to be so. It started out as
kind of an encyclopedia for things ultimate (world-records) in the
natural world, but I'm turning it into a more complete online science
and technology reference/resource. It's won multiple awards, as
well as a nod from the National Science Foundation, a feature on
Discovery Online, and now the coup de gras -- the National Geographic
Society has asked me to publish the contents as a book or series
of books. I've even been approached by an independent producer to
create a kids' TV series based on the Website concept.
do you do when you are not working?
mother of two adorable, bright, high-spirited little girls and I
dedicate much of my "extra" time to them. They are the most important
reason I chose to stay at home for four and a half years, and they
are also the most important reason I chose to go back to work --
to lead by example. I take them on enriching family field trips
to the aquarium and go exploring at the beach. Santa just gave them
a microscope for Christmas and we're going to explore it for the
first time today!
very happily married to a non-Geek who's very supportive of me and
my accomplishments. We are really outdoor folks, preferring to go
fishing, hiking, mountain biking, or hunting. We went hunting for
wild boar on our wedding anniversary two years ago. How many wives
would agree to that?