JoAnn Lighty

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)

My Life

Friends describe me

outgoing and strong

My hobbies

camping, sewing, crafts

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 undergrad alma mater

University of Utah

My worst subject in school


In college I drove

Toyota Corolla

Favorite books

The Shack

Favorite movies

Apollo 13

Favorite city

San Francisco, Stockholm

Favorite coffee