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‘Sexy Geek’ named technical top ten

Computer science professor Ellen Spertus was recognized by the ABC news Web site as one of the year’s top ten “wired women” last Monday.

Spertus, who won the “Sexiest Geek Alive” pageant in San Jose over the summer, said that she hoped the recognition would “bring attention to Mills and to computer science.”

She has been in demand since winning the pageant and was interviewed on Tech TV on Monday as well.

ABC’s Dianne Lynch, who put together the wired women list, had interviewed Spertus for another story and “had been struck by what a powerful role model she is for women, both those in technology and those who are not,” Lynch said. “Spertus has done such a lot of work and is such a dedicated proponent of women in science and technology fields.”

Spertus said she was thrilled to be put with the group who made the top ten. “The list is a very distinguished group. Above me on the list is the communications director from RAWA (the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan),” she said. “I am very honored.”

The other women Lynch picked were Markle Foundation President Zoe Baird, University of Minnesota’s Director of New Media Studies Nora Paul, RAWA’s Mehommda Shikeba, Director of MIT’s Initiative on Technology Sherry Turkle, artist Char Davies, Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, the founders of Studio XX, the women who work for Oxygen and eBay CEO Meg Whitman.

Spertus said being at Mills enabled her to enter the Sexiest Geek contest, which she said she believes is the reason for the media attention she’s received this year.

“If I was in a department where I was the only woman, and there were people who didn’t want a woman in the sciences, I would not attract attention to myself,” she said.

Spertus received her undergraduate, graduate and PhD from MIT, but said “I hope that even though I didn’t get my degree from Mills that I can be considered a Mills woman.”