How did your mom support your journey in STEM?
“She bought me a microscope set when I was about 7. She would bring me home samples of things that I could study under the microscope. I remember spending hours with her in the evenings learning how to make slides properly and to document what I observed. She also let me read all of her lab notebooks from graduate school. I remember pouring over all her anatomy drawings and being fascinated. She also enrolled me in Saturday programs at the Field Museum in Chicago. On the ride there she would encourage me to ‘listen to the scientists and to raise your hand if you have questions. Don’t be shy!’ she would tell me.” SWE CEO Karen Horting
“My mom always encouraged my curiosity. There was never a “girls don’t do that” in our house. When my neighbors made a model paper computer in their classroom, my mom bragged when I decided to make my own at home too because my class didn’t make one. She was not an engineer or scientist, she valued my sister and I having a career and being able to support ourselves. She was the first to encourage me to go to after school science events, and often volunteered to help. She was a constant volunteer at my elementary school and forged a great friendship with my 4th grade teacher, Louise Huffman, who my first STEM influencer. My mom saw the positive impact Mrs. Huffman had on our class and school. My mom made sure I had exposure to all the things that Mrs. Huffman made available for me & my classmates when it came to STEM. I even attended Science Camp for two summers in elementary school at Illinois Benedictine College (now Benedictine University – “article” attached) with my mom’s encouragement. The only way she ‘let me down’ in my STEM pursuits was by not purchasing the chemistry set I selected from the Sears catalog and limiting me to a set that only used Copper Sulfate (this was probably the best decision for our family as I was known for mixing things without reading the directions…).” SWE Director Libby Taylor
“My mom supported both my sister, a breast cancer surgeon, and myself, VP & Chief Engineer @Spiritaero, to not limit ourselves. She encouraged both of us to try new things, never told us that our dreams were impossible, and helped us become independent and successful women.” SWE President (FY20) Cindy Hoover
“I am very fortunate to come from a long line of incredibly strong women. While they didn’t push me towards STEM fields in particular, they instilled in me a strong work ethic. My mom, my grandma, and my great aunts all influenced me to believe that I could do anything I put my mind to, and they (and my twin sister!) always backed me when I did start down any long, hard path. Without these influences in my life, I may not be where I am today.” SWE Director Dayna Johnson