Inventors are inspirational. Janese Swanson is an inventor, businesswoman, author, educator, and software developer. Her work is aimed at making technology more interesting and available for girls. She has invented and written for girls specifically, although many of her inventions are for boys and girls. An early invention used her work as an educator of all children: the Carmen Sandiego educational educational games.
Janese Swanson was born in 1958 and raised in San Diego, California. Her father was killed in the Vietnam War and her mother worked two jobs to support Janese and her five siblings. As a teenager she worked to help support her family. Her grandfather encouraged her to become a model, which she did. In 1975, she graduated from Orange Glen High School. She then attended San Diego State University. In 1981, she earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies. She worked as a teacher before being laid off and taking a job as a flight attendant. She continued her studies and ended up earning a total of seven degrees. Her doctorate is in organization and leadership. In 1997, she received her doctoral degree, Ed.D., in Organization and Leadership Technology from the University of San Francisco.
During the late 1980s she began working at Broderbund Software as a product manager. She worked as a team leader to develop educational toy and game products. She helped develop ‘Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?’, ‘The Playroom’, and ‘Treehouse’. In 1987, her daughter, Jackie, was born. In 1992, she left Broderbund to set up her own company. Kid One for Fun, Inc. became her first company. In 1995, Swanson started her second company Girl Tech. She, and her team, worked out of her home. A line of electronic toys, a website called Club Girl Tech, and a line of publications including the magazine GirlZine and books have been produced.
Swanson has worked as Education Coordinator at the United States Mint, was a founder at The Art Apprentice, and an art teacher in the Del Mar Union School District. She was the education chair of SIGGRAPH in 2007. She has worked with community groups, like the Girl Scouts and YMCA, as well.
Janese Swanson did not start her career as an inventor, but her work as an educator and on behalf of girls has made her an inventor. Be inspired! Have a bright day!