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.