Women Who Inspired Me

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I tend to get inspired by people I know, so here are two women who made a difference early in my life. The first was my 3ʳᵈ-semester calculus teacher at UNC. I had taken the first two semesters at UW-Madison when I was a HS student, so I started in 3ʳᵈ at UNC.

I was in the honors program at UNC, so I signed up for the honors section. It was a disaster. I was so lost. I dropped the class. I wondered if I had reached the end of my ability to understand math. Spring, semester, though, I tried again. This time, in non-honors.

This section was taught by a graduate student, Sandi Shields, not a professor as the honors section obviously had been. She was fantastic. I had no problem in the class. It restored my confidence and I went on to take classes such as Topology (taught by another amazing woman)!

I looked her up a while back and she’s still teaching, which is awesome. I sent her a note about what a difference she meant to me. I didn’t hear back, but I will hope that she got it and it brightened her day a little!

The second was my first industry manager:

The summer after my sophomore year, I worked for IBM in Research Triangle Park. My manager was Alicia Eaker. Obviously I was super young and didn’t really know what a manager did, but she was smart and caring and I think I was super lucky to have ended up on her team.

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