I was sitting in the Keynotes listening to Michelle Obama speak about the future and encouraging children to be great when it hit me. I had a lot of really great teachers in school that truly changed my life. Even though women have made strides in medicine, science, engineering, and technology, society still tells children that there are “boy” jobs and “girl” jobs, “boy” toys and “girl” toys. However, I had a few teachers that made me realize that even though society said girls shouldn’t be good at math or science, I could do those. I could have a career in technology.
In light of everything that has happened in the last few weeks, I want to take a moment to say thank you and share a few moments with you about these great teachers I had.
Thank You Ms Dunne and Mrs. Prendergast
In third grade my friend Emily and I were in Ms Dunne’s class together. We studied the wetlands extensively as part of an integrated curriculum. On one trip to the Meadowlands Environmental Center, we were out on a dock using nets to look at the wildlife in the marsh. Being typical 8 year old girls, both of us took one look at the shrimp like creatures in the net and said no way. Mrs. Prentegast was quick to tell us that being a girl was not a reason to find them gross. We could be good at science.
Thank You Mr. Kliewi
I had a love-hate relationship with math throughout high school. Geometry was great but Trig, well not so much. Nonetheless I managed to get into Calculus AP my senior year. This wasn’t a huge class and most of my classmates were guys. Mr. Kliewi made sure that the guys did not dominate the class, giving the few females in the class the chance to answer, to be good at math. The morning of the AP, Emily (yup, same one) and I were panicked. We had spent the previous evening at my house studying and there were topics we were concerned that we weren’t prepared for. We were at school early, waiting at his office door with questions. He talked us out of our panic and reassured us that we were fully prepared for the exam. It is the only AP I got a 5 on. We could be good at math.
Thank You Dr. Lee, Dr. Kincaid, Dr. Brink, and Dr. Cowan
I went to college to study special education. However I was talked into taking an International Relations course with Dr. Kincaid during my second semester. It was the beginning of the end of my special education major. A week into my sophomore year I dropped all of my classes and changed my major to Political Science. These four professors had open door policies. They challenged us to think, grow and understand other perspectives. Not only did everyone have the opportunity to have equal say, everyone was encouraged to participate in discussions and debates. For two years, I had the privilege of being a head delegate for our Model United Nations team, leading a group of around 20 students as we participated in one of the most prestigious MUNs. Dr. Brink and then Dr. Kincaid spent extra time with us when they could have been with their family so we could have that experience. We could be good at discussing and debating.
I had many other teachers who played an important role and to each and every one of them I say thank you. Who do you have to thank for helping you on your #trailblazer journey?