How do you know where you’re going if you don’t know where you come from? March is Women’s History Month, so it’s the perfect time to go back to your roots and learn about those who paved the way for women in STEM fields. From Grace Hopper (one of the first computer programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer) to Ellen Swallow Richards (founder of home economics and the first woman admitted to MIT) to Stephanie Kwolek (inventor of Kevlar, the corrosion- and flame-resistant material used in bulletproof vests), the women who grace our history books continue to motivate the women of today and tomorrow.
At this year’s Region E Conference, I had the great honor of presenting a “Past, Present, Future” keynote with Alma Forman, one of SWE’s founding members, and Colleen Layman, SWE’s current President-Elect. It was amazing to hear how engineering students and professionals formed SWE in 1950, what great strides SWE has made since then, and what we see the organization achieving in the coming years. What do you want SWE to accomplish in the future? Let me know in the comments below, an email, or a tweet.
Last month, I challenged you to mentor someone. This month, I challenge you to flip directions: connect with the people who inspired you to pursue engineering and thank them. Give your parents a call, pay a visit to your alma mater and say hi to your past science teachers, send an email to that panel speaker at an outreach event you attended. A few from my list: my parents, of course, for so many reasons; Dr. Warren Grundfest, an incredible surgeon, inventor, and educator who welcomed me into UCLA’s Center for Advanced Surgical and Interventional Technologies when I was a high school student; and Sammy and Sarah, two of my first SWE mentors who helped me shape my decisions in my engineering and SWE careers and showed me how powerful a mentoring relationship could be.
Thank you to all those who have inspired me already and those who I know will inspire me in the future!
FY15 Collegiate Director