March 24 is Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science. Over 2000 bloggers have been posting their stories of women who inspire them today. I know too many inspiring women to choose from, which is a great problem to have. I made the only choice that makes sense to me, my mom.
She’s an embryologist, with enough babies named after her that her skills are highly sought-after by many fertility centers. Her meticulousness and expertise have also allowed her to become a lab inspector, certifying that other fertility centers are up to snuff. She is truly a master of her craft, and you should see her on the micromanipulator — I have never seen gametes micromanipulated with such finesse! She is a tiny (under 5 feet tall) technical tornado.
My mom was not only a great technical role model, she also showed me that with education and determination, you can accomplish anything in your field of choice. She was raised on a small island north of Guam (no, that’s not sand on the map, there are even smaller islands there), and she came to the US on an academic scholarship to study biochemistry. She miraculously raised me and my little sister alone. And if being and doing all that wasn’t enough to inspire me to succeed as a woman in tech, she also bought me my first computer, a Commodore 64. Perhaps most pivotal for me was that she forced me to learn how to program it myself when she refused to buy me any more games for it. 🙂
I once heard that there are those who love you and those who teach you. Some people are both. So thanks mom, for your powerful example packed into a compact frame, and for seeding my success in the industry of my choice. You showed me not to be bounded by anyone else’s narrow vision or stereotyped idea of what I could be, and to press on, especially when no one thinks you can. I (literally) wouldn’t be where I am today without you.