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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Ada Lovelace Day – Thank you, Mrs. Secrest

Earlier in the winter, I made a pledge that today “I will publish a blog post on Tuesday 24th March about a woman in technology whom I admire but only if 1,000 other people will do the same,” after the pledge was started by Suw Charman-Anderson.

The goal is to get more people blogging about women in technology. I thought I would take a moment, not to highlight a social media super star or computer programer, but to say thank you to Rosaline Secrest.

Mrs. Secrest was my physics teacher at Terre Haute South Vigo High School. I took physics my sophomore year so I could “get science out of the way.” Mrs. Secret was an engaging teacher and I truly enjoyed the year of physics with her. I even helped paint a mural in her classroom that incorporated different laws of physics into a colorful mural.

At the end of the year, when it was time to pick classes for Junior year, Mrs. Secret said, “I think you’d do well in Honors Chemistry.” I was shocked. I was okay at science, but not someone that wanted to take more science classes. After all, I was in music and art.

For some reason, I took her advice and signed up for chemistry with Mr. Wunderlich, then took chemistry again senior year. When I got to college and realized that music education was the wrong major, my “fall back” was chemistry.

Because she encouraged me to take one more science class beyond the requirement, I went on to get a degree in chemistry. I did research at Iowa State University in the Program for Women in Science and Engineering. I have authorship in a peer-reviewed journal. I did research in the national paint laboratory in Argentina.

She opened the door to a degree that has opened so many doors for me. No, I don’t do chemistry now, but the degree taught me how to learn anything and introduced me to a supportive faculty that helped my study abroad and pursue interests outside of science.

Thank you, Mrs. Secrest, for being an engaging teacher and suggesting I take one more science class. Every women deserves to have a science teacher that does just that–encourages a life with more science.

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