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Think Geek Contest Update: Women Sysadmins Are Really Inspiring

The Mary Sue

We’re only half-way through our partnership with ThinkGeek where we judge their 2011 SysAdmin Pageant, and already we’re turning up some really great entries!

I mean, we knew there would be some great sysadmins out there who just happened to be female, but some of them really blow us away. Read on for the incredible examples of women in technology who mentor, teach, parent, run businesses and are otherwise awesome, and then head over to ThinkGeek and nominate your own SysQueen hopeful to win an awesome prize pack, to which The Mary Sue is throwing in our very own copy of The Sounds of Star Wars, published by Chronicle Books!

The examples of admin love we’ve been most impressed with so far include odes to Maria W.,

Our goddess of “distributed technical support,” which means we only get a few precious hours of her time twice a week, and have to share her with a bunch of other offices. She has the thankless job of maintaining our shared network drives, checking printer connections when the gremlins hit, requesting quota upgrades for email accounts, and testing and installing the quirky software builds we each need to do our respective jobs, and cleaning up the mess if someone gets a virus on their computer. (Which has happened. Several times.)

She’s also a working mother with young children, which means she radiates patience in a 10′ diameter and has massive bonuses to Save vs. Whining. Which is probably why she’s still sane, because let’s face it — academic personnel aren’t known for their tech savvy ways. Ahem.

I nominate Maria because supporting us (and the bajillion other offices on her roster) is her job. It’s a thankless one, for the most part, but she does it with patience, skill, and humor, and I would love to see her recognized for all her hard work!

Margie M. and Kim H.,

…of Saint Ursula Academy in Cincinnati. Saint Ursula is an all-girls school, and in the last five years we successfully adopted a one-to-one tablet PC program. Margie and Kim have worked tirelessly to implement the changes necessary to help faculty/staff and students alike to use the tablets efficiently in reading, studying, planning lessons, and much more. Moreover, Kim and Margie and GeekGoddesses, role models to the next generation of female techies who show the young women of my school (and many of us older women as well!) that technology knows no gender bias. If a girl can dream it, she can do it–that’s what Kim and Margie show us on a daily basis, and that’s why they should be co-rulers as SysQueens!

badass mentor Lisa,

I started off as an intern with an amazon subsidiary in 2007.  Really I just knew someone who knew someone and I wasn’t all that cut out for the internship.  I was supposed to help develop internal pages for employees to access.  Instead I choked down my pride and admitted I was in too deep and couldn’t fulfill this task.

Shortly thereafter Lisa gave me a linux box and a book to read.  She said I was going to work primarily in linux and work on putting up a system to monitor our services in real time.  I searched around a bit and double checked my decision with her.

After I had her approval I went at it head first, mind you I had NO linux/unix knowledge prior to this.  I was able to eventually get it running on host and client.  For some reason it didn’t want to properly report for other clients though :(.

Lisa gave me side tasks along the way and genuinely helped me get my feet wet in IT.  It was then I decided I should pursue this.  My internship ended and she fought to keep me there, but it was no use.  HR had a clear cut line and another intern set to start out.

Time passed and eventually I came back the the company as a full time tech.  If it weren’t for Lisa I may have never started this career path.  She is more than willing to give me advice or a good reference.  She’s currently working out in Cali, quite a bit aways from where I met her in South Carolina.

The most impressive part is that she raised her children almost single handedly.  So I’ll tip my ha…fedora off to you Mrs. Lisa.    Even if you guys don’t pick her I feel good writing this about her.  If you ever need a sysadmin by god she is a (in a good way) beast.

And one last unnamed potential SysQueen.

I would like to nominate someone who is more than a sysadmin. She is technically the CTO of our company however she wears many hats within. She endures all the pain and frustration during her daily work. From opening or closing a datacenter or office to handling the bills that makes the CFO Cringe. Working right along side of the admin staff she is to us one of the guys/gals. If we have questions that seem a little out of place she makes them feel normal and understandable. She is very dependable and responsible.

She is selfless, I have worked for this company for 4 years now and not once (other than a single sick day) has she missed work and has never taken a vacation in that time. During our company holiday party she was busy working while all other admins were relaxing and drinking.

In short she is the goddess to our company and I feel that with all her accomplishments she is still trying to prove herself. Winning sysqueen would place a little more faith in the rest of our staff and management that she is top notch.

But this isn’t the end of the contest! There might be even greater sysadmins on which to bestow the title of SysQueen out there, but it’s up to you, the plebeian users who enjoy the fruits of their efforts, to nominate them. As if you needed any more incentive, the the nominator of the winning nominee also receives a $500 ThinkGeek shipping spree. Don’t let them down!

On a related note, does anybody know PHP? Or somebody who knows PHP? (We are totally serious.)

Have a tip we should know? [email protected]

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Susana Polo thought she'd get her Creative Writing degree from Oberlin, work a crap job, and fake it until she made it into comics. Instead she stumbled into a great job: founding and running this very website (she's Editor at Large now, very fancy). She's spoken at events like Geek Girl Con, New York Comic Con, and Comic Book City Con, wants to get a Batwoman tattoo and write a graphic novel, and one of her canine teeth is in backwards.