Spoiler alert! The creator of your next favorite app is a 17-year-old girl from New Hampshire. High school senior Jennie Lamere was the sole female competitor and winner of a recent national hackathon in Boston, where in a mere 10 hours she created a program to block TV spoilers from Twitter feeds.
As reporter Dana Liebelson put it in this week's lead Searchlight item: Internet, meet the reason we need more women in technology. Hey, if Lamere's Twivo app can keep me from finding out what's happening on Mad Men while I catch up with the DVR, she's doing a service to humankind. (Or at least the humankind in the immediate vicinity of me and my Twitter feed.)
In all seriousness, I'm glad to have found this story splashed around the Web and I'm glad to be re-sharing, because it's cool and it's feel-good. Yet, it's also a little depressing. The leading element of each and every retelling of Lamere's victory is not on her young age or the fact that she was the only person in the competition flying solo and not part of a team. It was, first and foremost, that she is a girl. There's nothing wrong with that editorial choice; it's just disappointing that the lead element is still apt. How is it that women in technology stories are on par with man bites dog tales?
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For Lamere's sake, and the sake of other young women, I hope we can stop talking about this soon. Perhaps when Lamere graduates from Rochester Institute of Technology where she's headed in the fall to study software engineering, things will be a little different. If not, she'll be well-positioned to help change them.
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Let us know what you think about the story; email Karen Goulart, features writer.