March 27, 2014
At Lewis & Clark, professors serve as teachers, mentors, advocates, and role models for students, colleagues, and community members. But who inspired them on their path to success? In honor of National Women’s History Month, we asked three faculty members to share stories about their own female role models.
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Between the ages of 11 and 14, I was part of a school district program that provided an accelerated curriculum for especially bright kids. There, I was in the care of three women teachers who encouraged my interest in math. They created an environment in which it was cool to be excited about math. The strong mathematical foundation I built in middle school served me well when I first encountered chemistry in high school.
Assistant Professor of Theatre
My principal female role model growing up was my mother. She worked in international community development and worked full-time while also raising me. She was a true role model for what it means to dedicate your life to something that you believe in. When I was in high school, she went back to graduate school and earned her PhD in urban planning, again teaching me what it means to forge your own path in life regardless of gender, age, race, or background.
Assistant Professor of Music and Department Chair
Our generation, and our students’ generation, is influenced by the women who came before us. My conducting teacher, Ann Howard Jones, was told by her teacher—a very well-respected male conductor—that it was a pity that she was a woman, as she would have made a great conductor. When she was starting out, it did not seem possible that a woman could be a conductor, a profession (like many others) that had a long history of a top-down male leadership style. Now, while men still outnumber women in my profession, the profession is much more open to women and to many different types of leadership.