Brave ladies were born and led new adventures during this month in history. Here’s a brief introduction to two ladies who inspire me.
Katherine (Coleman Goble) Johnson was born 26 August, 1918 in West Virginia, USA. She was a math whiz, instrumental in calculating orbital equations and mechanics for National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), later National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), where she authored/coauthored 26 research reports. Katherine was a teacher, computer, wife, mother. She was an African-American woman living and working in segregated USA. I wish I had learned about this influential woman before she died last year, at the age of 101. Read Margot Lee Shetterly’s biography about Katherine, Hidden Figures, or watch the film by the same name.¹
In 1927, Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean on a solo non-stop adventure. On 25 August, 1932, she completed a non-stop flight across North America from Los Angeles, California to Newark, New Jersey, USA. Amelia disappeared near the end of her second attempt to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. She has long been an inspiration to me—my mom likely still has the papier-mâché puppet I made of her as a youngster. Learning about the adventures she took before her 40th birthday reinforces my admiration for her now.
I have a new adventure on the horizon, soon after my own 40th birthday. I am enroled in a Master’s programme in Science Communication with a focus on Science in Society, and I intend to begin in-person studies at University of Otago in February 2023.
In preparation for travel halfway around the world, my husband and I simplify our lives: We’re reducing our possessions, reusing what we have, and recycling what won’t travel with us (and we don’t plan to take much with us). We dream about travelling to New Zealand by sailboat(s).
Creating opportunities for women is one of the reasons I became a science illustrator. I’m not a teacher or a mother, but I can make science interesting, accessible, and exciting through my artwork. I wish to especially encourage girls and young women to become interested in math and science.
Would you like to support me as I make this transition? Chat with me about life in Dunedin / Ōtepoti. Tell me your stories about life in New Zealand / Aotearoa over a virtual cup of coffee. Inform me of international scholarships and bursaries. Guide me toward Māori tutors / Te Reo Māori speakers.
Purchase artwork to support my travels and studies. Help me assist women of all ages, colours, and nations as we pursue our dreams.