A Return with Ada Lovelace Day

Rather than provide you with a number of excuses to as why I have not written in a number of months, I’ve decided to return with a few thoughts on Ada Lovelace Day.  Honestly, if it weren’t for a friend and fellow science nerd wishing me a “Happy Ada Day,” this thought would have escaped me. (Thanks, Martin!) So if you haven’t clicked on the link above or still don’t know what Ada Day is, let me quote from the site above:

Ada Lovelace Day aims to raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths by encouraging people around the world to talk about the women whose work they admire. This international day of celebration helps people learn about the achievements of women in STEM, inspiring others and creating new role models for young and old alike.

The inspiration for Ada Lovelace Day came from psychologist Penelope Lockwood, who carried out a study which found that women need to see female role models more than men need to see male role models. “Outstanding women can function as inspirational examples of success,” she said, “illustrating the kinds of achievements that are possible for women around them. They demonstrate that it is possible to overcome traditional gender barriers, indicating to other women that high levels of success are indeed attainable.”

I feel like I could ramble forever about the women who have inspired me to get into science, if only I had the time!  There are also those who continue to inspire me now, and those who I’ve met in the past few years who inspire me to work harder and aim for higher goals.  However, in thinking of this day, I’m trying to go back to my earliest memories and recall the woman who inspired me the most.

Not everyone has a mom that will pick up snakes with them when they are just a few years old, teaching me the importance and beauty of reptiles.  Or a mom who will pull over on the side of the road so we can dash out and help a turtle off of the busy road.  Or a mom who will take the risk to pull over on the shoulder of a highway (the fast lane side) so we can try to help two Canada geese who are panicking and unable to take flight.  Don’t worry, I wasn’t the 5 year old picking up snakes at this point, I was probably 16- and it was still dangerous to run along side the highway but we couldn’t leave the geese there.  I ran after them, hoping they wouldn’t dart into traffic, and using my sweatshirt I caught them one at a time, scooping them up, running back to the car to hand off one to my mom and then run back for the other.  We were then able to drive them to a field nearby and help them to be on their way.

And how could I forget my first experience with a bat?  People ask me all of the time how I first got into bats, perhaps it has all built off of this, I don’t know, but whatever it is, it’s not going away and it’s only getting stronger.  In middle school we were living in this old farm house in Millington, perfectly accessible to any bat.  Our cat was the first to notice our new friend and then I notified my mom.  Instead of panicking and fearing for themselves like so many people do in this situation, my mom expressed concern for the bat.  I remember her telling us how he must be scared and that we need to help him get back outside.  The bat landed on some grapevine decor on our walls and my mom grabbed a paper grocery bag.  She held the bag open in front of the bat, rustled the vines a bit and the bat flew into the bag.  She promptly shut it and we were able to let the bat go outside.

Spiders, snakes, bats, mice….. my mom taught me not to be afraid.  She stressed the important of helping animals and still does so today.  With an absence of fear, I was able to fill my mind with curiosity.  I was, and still am, intrigued by wildlife-  well, not just wildlife, but animals both wild and domesticated.  I still continue to learn more and do more for them.

Let’s not forget the flora with our fauna.  My mom wins at keeping plants alive and gardening-  she’s better at identifying plants than I am (I’m working on this!) and her gardening skills also prove to be an inspiration.

Oh and I have to include this bit! I remember in 7th grade telling my mom that I wanted to be a forensic pathologist.  Most parents would probably think that their kid had a really disturbed brain for wanting to cut open and dig around inside human bodies for a living- (and yes, Dad, I remember that you, too were supportive of this plan).  But again, my mom loves medical terminology and anatomy- blood and guts did not make her weak.  Years later I realized I was more into studying nature than dead people, but no matter my choice of study, both my parents have been supportive of my plans.

With this, I want to say Happy Ada Day to everyone and especially to the women in science (math, technology and engineering) that I know and who continue to inspire me everyday.

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39 thoughts on “A Return with Ada Lovelace Day

  1. Beautiful post, and beautiful inspiration. I have recently written a series of profiles on women in engineering, and I know the industry (like many in the sciences) is desperate to reach women as well.

    My daughter says she wants to be an engineer. She is 9…I’d love for her to pursue that dream!

    Thank you for this post…

    Mikalee

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  3. What an inspiring mother. I adore bats and cherish the memory of watching one fly around ancient Wells cathedral in England one chilly autumn evening. Fantastic to know about other women’s introductions to science. Happy Ada Lovelace day!

  4. Thank you to everyone for your kind words! I’ll be sure to pass them on to my mom as well. It truly means a lot to me that so many of you enjoy what I wrote. & wow! Freshly Pressed- such a wonderful surprise!

    Many thanks,
    Vanessa

  5. Good for you for getting into Science! I wrote a blog about Ada lovelace a couple months back. Well it wasn’t so much about her as other Sexy women of history. LOL. smart women are pretty hot.

  6. Great post – And Happy Ada Lovelace Day – celebrating women in science, technology, engineering and maths is a great idea. The myth that females are not good at science or math is just that. I’m glad your mom inspired you and both parents were supportive. Forensic pathologist does sound interesting, but I much prefer the living specimens.

    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed!

  7. Love your story – sounds like you had an awesome childhood with lots of treasured memories. My mom used to be an entomologist but she worked on mosquitoes since we were in a tropical country and she wanted to prevent the spread of dengue fever.

  8. Really enjoyed the natural observations of “then” as it relates to your “now”. Such an easy read that conveyed the love of how cool your parents were…even before you knew. Good stuff.

  9. Ada was also involved as an 18 year old in a famous case which she and others won against the Lord of the Manor of Rochdale over a land dispute in Brandwood, near Whitworth Lancashire.

  10. A study from the 90s showed that students could not name 20 women in american history (regardless of area or filed).

    In fact most students could not even name 5.
    (Sadker & Sadker and Zittleman “The Unfinished Gender Revolution”)

    Even though I live in Sweden an American lady is one of my personal sources of inspiration; Rosa Parks.

    Outside of America I think Marie Curie (Sklodowska) is a scientist that attracts too little attention, having in mind that her discoveries in physics and chemistry (radioactivity) are used world wide today.

    Great post and nice too here that I am not the only lunatic stopping cars and escorting lost hedgehogs out from the city streets 🙂

  11. Great post. I can easily name at least 20 women, mostly writers, who have influenced and inspired my life. Their contributions cannot be understated. I hope you continue to pursue your dreams. Thanks for posting. 🙂

  12. Pingback: Ada Lovelace Day | Jurassic Roadshow of Rocks, Tracks & Fossils

  13. Wonderful post, thank you! I’m glad to learn about Ada Lovelace Day, glad to hear of anything that helps move women into any of the sciences. I didn’t realize until many years too late that the fact that I couldn’t understand exactly what a species was didn’t mean I couldn’t do biology; it meant that I was asking a question that biologists deal with all the time! I posted a link on the blog I keep for a project, Jurassic Roadshow: http://www.jurassicroadshow.wordpress.com.

  14. For me it’s Ada herself and her work with Babbage; her work was quite amazing. But the book covering an area of scientific life that I always come back to just for pleasure is ‘How the universe got its spots’ (Janna Levin). The combination of her life and her science always refresh me.

  15. Fantastic! I too am in science,moving within several fields. Firstly Pathology, then Agricultural Science (Entomology) and most recently Pharmaceuticals. I love the scope of science. Your blog is superb. Cheers!

    Sharon from figmentsandimagination

  16. Thanks again for all of the wonderful and inspiring comments, likes and new subscribers!! I’m not able to respond to each, but I loved reading all of your thoughts! Thank you!!!

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