And the 2016 nominees are...

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Girls making geeky stuff cool

11:56AM, Sep 30, 2013
Science, comics… the weather! They used to be topics that bored us to tears – but not since these girls made them fun.
Geek chic

F rom The Big Bang Theory to the new Star Trek flicks (hello, Chris Pine!), to the fact we still have a big crush on The O.C.’s Seth Cohen, it’s clear our love affair with nerds is only getting stronger. Geeks are taking over, but being a true geek means more than whacking on a pair of thick-framed glasses.

Sartorial touches aside, if you’re into tech, science, gaming, sci-fi or comics, you’re more than a little geeky. In fact, us girls have a strong geek streak. A report from Digital Australia says that 47 percent of gamers in Australia are women, and more female students are enrolling in typically “male” (and “nerdy”) degrees – at the University of New South Wales, almost 20 percent of engineering students are female, with that number expected to rise to 25 percent by 2020.

Ladies around the world are flying their geek flags proudly and building fan bases. Just look at these four super-nerds – who also happen to be super-cool.

Rae Johnston, 31, Sydney

Lifestyle editor, TechLife magazine.

 “I’ve played video games since I can remember. I’m an actor by trade and being in front of a camera is second nature, so in 2011 I auditioned for a game-reviewing role on a new TV show – and I got the gig! I’d never considered gaming a viable career path until then. I now make regular guest appearances on TV, radio and YouTube shows.

“I’m passionate about getting women to join the industry. There are far more welcoming people than negative people, but I’ve dealt with skepticism from other gamers, and have had colleagues engage me in conversation clearly designed to test my knowledge base. There’s a preconceived idea of what a ‘geek’ should look like, and if you don’t fit that mould, people accuse you of faking it.

“My mantra is: ‘Don’t let the people with the harshest words have the loudest voices.’ I’m hoping one day those in support of equality will drown out the misogyny.”

Magdalena Roze, 31, Sydney

Meteorologist and Network Ten weather presenter – with a Twitter following of more than 13,000.

“I’ve always been passionate about the environment – I was president of the conservation club in primary! But it wasn’t until I started working at the National Geographic Channel and for The Weather Channel that I decided to study atmospheric science.

“The weather affects everyone. People love sharing their photos and questions on my Twitter. I can’t believe the response I get when there’s a storm, a scorching-hot day or fog.

“People are surprised I studied meteorology. At school, subjects like maths and science are seen as geeky. But a career in science isn’t limited to a life in a laboratory.” 

ComicBookGirl, 19, Hollywood, US

Co-creator and star of CBG19, which has more than 176,000 YouTube subscribers.

“TheX-Mencartoon was my gateway into comics. I started going to comic stores, and got hooked. I love how they show me how to be a better person.

“My friend and I got an idea to make a video like [web and now TV series]Drunk History– an ‘inebriated X-Men’ video. We ended up filming me talking about comics while drunk, and the show created itself.

“Being on the internet, I get all types of responses; most of them are encouraging. I want girls to know that we shouldn’t dumb ourselves down and worry what people think. Because f*ck ’em, happiness comes from within, not from popular opinion.”

Elise Andrew, 24, Ontario, Canada

Founder of the Facebook page I F*cking Love Science, which has more than six million likes.

“I’ve always tried to keep up with the latest findings in science, and would put them on my personal Facebook. One day a friend said if I didn’t ‘cut out this weird science sh!t’ he would unfriend me!

“He suggested starting a page. I chose the first name that popped into my head, uploaded content and went to sleep. I woke up to find 1000 subscribers.

“Science is amazing, but if you didn’t learn much as a kid you probably think it’s boring. Social media reconnects those people, so we can encourage them.

“People have been surprised to learn I’m female, which shows society is failing. I get emails from young women telling me I’m their inspiration. I ought to be thrilled – but I’m like, ‘I’mthe best role model we have for girls?’

“We need more women talking about science. I certainly think with IFLS I can drive more women into the spotlight.”

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