I spent my earliest years playing with Barbie dolls and enjoying art projects. Maybe not what you'd expect from a future chemical engineering professor.
I found I liked math and chemistry, but in the 1970s being the smartest girl in class at my high school was not a road to popularity. This situation caused a lot of hurt and pain. I was lucky to have a mentor to help me through. My English teacher at my Catholic high school was a wonderful nun who really helped me. In my journal assignments, I shared details of my struggles. As we dialogued, she helped me understand my need for a deeper relationship with Christ and that God had a plan for my life.
Once I trusted that God had a plan, a lot fell into place. I loved chemistry and math, and a former neighbor, an engineering professor, convinced me to be a chemical engineer instead of a chemist. It was right for me. As a woman in a field populated mostly by men, the journey has not always been easy, but it has made me appreciate the skills and drive that make up my life experiences and who I am.
As a professor, I pray that each student I interact with realizes they have a purpose, that there's an awesome plan for their lives, and that their uniqueness is what makes them extraordinary. That's what makes my job so great and so important ' every student is different, every need is different.
Recently I heard Brandon Heath in concert. While I had often heard this song on the radio, I never realized how the words spoke volumes to me, not only for my life, but for my kids and my students:
There is hope for me yet,
Because God won't forget,
All the plans He's made for me,
I have to wait and see,
He's not finished with me yet.
'Wait and See' From What If We, Reunion Records (2008)
Best advice I ever received
Remember, no matter what happens, no one can ever take your education away from you (my dad after I lost my first job before I even started!).
My worst subject in school
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