in honor of Ada Lovelace Day 2009 I post to honor a woman in technology.
When I began grad school, I got an RAship from [Advisor] -- also a woman in technology, but that's not the point I'm getting at here. [Advisor] offered me a desk and an initial project, and -- what I didn't even realize was on purpose until many weeks later -- a neighbor, beckyb.
beckyb was finishing her dissertation research (actually, I think she was about where I am now in the process!) and [Advisor] had the thought that we might have things to teach each other. [Advisor] was right, in at least one direction: I learned a tremendous amount from beckyb, including the following insights:
- Engineering can be about people
- Playfulness is not opposed to seriousness
- a spiritual life is compatible with an intellectual life; in fact, they support each other
- compassion is a skill best learned by modeling
beckyb is now a professor in the northern Midwest. I am jealous of her students, because they get to see her several days a week, and I don't. She will go on a sabbatical to Brazil next year, where she is visiting her cousin the Buddhist lama and exploring teaching science and engineering to Brazilian women. (I am not making this up; she really is that kind of post-modern Neal Stephenson character.)(waves at beckyb: happy Ada Lovelace day!)