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Ellen Spertus, voted Sexiest Geek 2001, is a Linux fan

Jun 23, 2001, 23:00 (19 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Michael Singer)

This is for all the Linux fans who are alone on a Saturday night. Take solace: Ellen Spertus, voted the Sexiest Geek in 2001, is a fan of Linux. Before you get all worked up, note one thing: she's married.

By Michael Singer

"It's OK to be a geek."

Wrapped in a corset draped to look like circuit board and a slide ruler strapped to her thigh, Mills College professor Ellen Spertus paraded down a runway ramp in a San Jose convention hall this week a winner.

Spertus is the Sexiest Geek Alivefor 2001.

The 32-year-old, who has three degrees from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is a self-proclaimed open source advocate, beat out eight other contestants for the honor.

"I'm happy I won," says Spertus. "Now I want to take the award and show other young women that it is alright to pursue careers in high tech fields. It's OK to be a geek."

This is the second "brains not beauty" contest sponsored by Imark Communications and Geek & Guru, but the first won by a woman. Tony Northrup, last years crowned Sexiest Geek, "won based on his true sense of geekness," says Jim Rosnack, co-creator and Webmaster of the contest.

"Geeks are at the forefront of technology, change, and the new economy," says Imark Communications Special Events Director Sean Lowery. "You should be so lucky as to be called a geek in the 21st Century, especially at one of our events."

This year's Regional and International Semi-finalists were judged in three phases. First, contestants from around the world test their intellect about technology and "geek" culture by answering 40 questions located on the www.sexiestgeekalive.com Web site. Based on points awarded for correct answers and a follow up interview, contestants will be selected to compete either online or at the ITEC in that region.

All of Spertus' students pitched in and all voted for her. In addition to her college classes, Spertus also volunteers her time to teach young women about computers in Oakland as part of a government project called Tech Bridge.

Spertus is also known as the person who won a recent anti-spamming lawsuit from the now defunct online grocer Kozmo.

Along with her title, Spertus is getting a vacation to the West Caribbean, where she promises to spend more time with her NASA scientist husband Keith Golden in the sun and sand and less time with her laptop.