Who Are Your Female Role Models?

This is the second of a two-part post spotlighting DCI’s female engineers and associates during Women’s History Month. We asked our staff about their science/technology/engineering/math (STEM) female role models. We are sharing their picks and additional background stories.

Amelia Earhart has always been a role model for me from a young age. While she isn’t necessarily considered a STEM pioneer, aviation is based on so many complex technological, mechanical and mathematical concepts. Moreover, she was a woman in the early 1900s pursuing a male-dominated fledgling industry and never considered that there was a ceiling for her extraordinary goals. She bucked the conventional idea of women’s roles in society for her time, and paved the way for women to push the boundaries and create their own definition of what fulfilling careers and lifestyles mean to each of us.

Maryam Mirzakhani is my role model in science and a fantastic lady in math. She was an Iranian mathematics professor at Stanford University. Mirzakhani was awarded the Fields Medal (math equivalent of the Nobel Prize) in 2014 for "her outstanding contributions to the dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces," and she became the first woman in the world to win this award. She died in July 2017 but her effort towards science and everyday life always inspire me to do my best in difficult and serious situations.

A close friend of my family, Marjorie Rice, was an amateur mathematician. She was a housewife, who read an article about pentagon tiling. She continued studying the types of pentagon tiling and later discovered 4 of the 15 types of pentagonal tilings. She is an example, that even though she only had a high school diploma and had one year of math, anyone who is interested in math can always learn and discover new things. All you need it the inspiration to make it happen.

Sometimes it’s easy to idolize female trailblazers who you find in history books. However, it can be hard to find current role models and think: “I can do that too.” So, I like to look a little closer. One of my personal favorite trailblazers is Danica McKellar. She may be most famous for being the actress who played Winnie Cooper in the Wonder Years. She is the same age as me. I love that after the series ended, she majored in Mathematics at UCLA, authored a theorem, and later wrote several books for girls regarding mathematics. There is something so wonderful about this; a child actor who ends up being a math whiz.

About the author

Rose Bechtold

Rose Bechtold, Communications Specialist | Rose comes from a journalism and technical writing background. She is in her element while in research mode and naturally immerses herself in expert knowledge by interviewing staff members about new subjects. In her spare time, Rose practices plein-air sketching of buildings and random scenes around town.

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