Guest Geek: Tech Women I Have Known

As a male of a certain age (I’m not pushing 50, I’m dragging it behind me) and growing up in a house with a comic book-loving father, you might not think that geeky or nerdy females were influential in my life. You would be incorrect!

I wish I had paid more attention to Dorothy Sharp. She taught Geometry and Algebra in my 9th and 10th grade classes. I didn’t realize the extent of her math geekiness until later in life, but a nerd was she! Matrices and formulas flew from her chalk to the blackboard without effort. When I later read about Grace Hopper, it was this high school math teacher that came immediately to mind.

Can you remember who introduced you to the Middle English nerdiness of Chaucer and Mallory? For me, it was Pearl King, teaching High School Humanities. That woman knew her material. So is a female with extraordinary knowledge of medieval literature a geek? Seemed to me at the time. Pearl is still active in the re-enactment of Civil War battles around NJ, MD and VA.

Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay:
A favorite of Jane Ewing-Miller.
Public domain image, wikimedia commons.
Another lady in that vein is Jane Ewing-Miller. She was my English professor at college, was enamored with female poets, and certain among her favorites was Edna St. Vincent Millay. And if you can imagine the stereotypical librarian (glasses, hair in a bun, et. al) that would be her. Jane was fond of the coffee shop poetry reading circles in Pittsburgh… I bet she still is.

My former co-workers in the ’80s, Judith Carrig and Kate Dinardo were extraordinary chemists, although they didn’t then think of themselves as such. They both started as cooks and chefs, then became interested in the physical and chemical reactions that are involved when cooking in general and baking in particular. Judith went on to become a molecular biologist, and Kate a ‘better cooking through chemistry’ private teacher.

On not more than a dare, Stephanie Shieldhouse and I explored museums, gardens, and art fairs in Italy for a month in the mid-80s. We just flew there and did it. Ah! Youth! But she showed me more weird and unusual art than I could have possibly discovered on my own. Roman, Medieval, and Modern. What a month that was! And geek that she is, Stephanie, now PhD, has an extraordinary job at the MOMA in NYC.

Finally, but by no means lastly, would be my sister, Connie Morrissey. A wife, mother, and grand-mother, she knows her way around the nose and throat! A Respiratory Therapist, and constantly updating her education, a medical geek in the family.


Chuck Conlow lives in Las Vegas, NV and works full-time as a Casino Restaurant Host. Chuck may be contacted via email at [email protected].
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About Tara M. Clapper 272 Articles
Tara is a lifelong geek and the founder and publisher of The Geek Initiative. Her interests were forged in an early appreciation for "Star Trek: The Next Generation," "Jurassic Park," and many historical fiction and fantasy novels. Tara is a game designer, LARPer, and frequent convention attendee. The author of over 1,000 individual blogs, her content has been featured on HelloGiggles,,, and The Billfold. She holds a B.A. in English from McDaniel College and has attended many events as press (including New York Comic Con). Tara has a professional background in marketing and publishing. She lives in the Philadelphia area. A Marvel fan, her favorite superhero is undoubtedly Thor. View her portfolio at:

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