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GirlGeek of the Week
November 2000

Elizabeth Keller


Kendra Engstrom

Kendra spent much of her childhood in front of her father's TRS80, playing games that he programmed in BASIC. Her parents even got her into the Internet. As a young girl she would connect to CompuServe and roam the BBSs.

When Kendra went to elementary school, she took full advantage of the school's new Apple computer lab. While the other kids reveled in the novelty of computing, Kendra displayed the calm of a seasoned veteran, showing the other students how a GirlGeek gets it done. Even into high school, Kendra's teachers would ask her to instruct the class on the finer points of computing. Kendra knew all along that computers would play an important role in her future.

When did you first discover your love and/or obsession with computers and technology?

When I was young I played DOS games and was constantly downloading and installing games and programs for the rest of my family to use. My dad and I were always messing up my mom's computer so we decided to get another one to break.

When we got the new computer I was always on IRC talking to others like myself and soaking in loads of information. I taught myself HTML and obtained some free web space from Angelfire. I always heard people talking about Unix/Linux/BSD, so I decided I would give it a try. Since I was a newbie, everyone suggested RedHat so I got it installed and taught myself how to compile programs, configure hardware and recompile kernels. After using RedHat for a month I switched to Slackware, and have been using that ever since.

I'm currently teaching myself Perl and a little bit of C. Still learning masses of information on Unix and networking.

How do you earn a living?

Currently I'm working for a local ISP as a Linux/Network Administrator. It's a pretty small ISP so there aren't the problems the big corporations have. So usually I'm in the office working with MySQL, RADIUS and learning php. If I'm not in the office, I'm out in the field setting up our customers with DSL and configuring networks. In the future I plan on doing anything from Unix Administration to Network Security/Firewalls and Intrusion Detection.

Do you consider yourself a Geek?

I never thought of myself as a geek, until I couldn't talk to any one of my friends about computers, so I fit being a geek quite well.

What is your favorite Website?

Since I really want to get more into security, I would say, because they have relevant security information. is also a favorite.

What do you do when you are not working?

When I'm not working I'm either working on my website, reading computer books, hanging with friends or writing for technotronic.



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