I spent a great deal of time studying food, from production to consumption. As a Family and Consumer Science (aka. Home Economics) teacher I felt it my duty to learn how to cook well and maximize the knowledge in my class by helping students to learn the math, science, and cultural benefits behind the art of cooking. Along the way, as I continued past the purchasing of cookbooks and into the habits that distinguish Chefs from home cooks, I quit following recipes and began to creating formulas, I upgraded my equipment in order to create a semi-commercial laboratory, and I realized that I had taken the leap from only being interested in being an excellent teacher to being transformed by the information I was learning.
I was acknowledged as a Virginia Super Teacher but without my students, it would have never happened. I am forever grateful to them.
Initially, I used FCCLA, the after-school science fair for home economics, as an outlet for my STEM ambitions. But I also started to explore traditional STEM topics directly. My first effort was to establish a girl’s coding club. My last effort culminated in the creation of the STEM Impressionists program. I love what I am doing and supporting the kids in developing the skills that will transform their lives is my passion. I finally found my niche!
As I developed my skills as a Family and Consumer Science (FACS) teacher, I attended STEM conferences to hone the incorporation of STEM into my classroom I grew to understand that I was an engineer that used textiles to solve problems. When I looked up “textile engineer” in a Google search engine I found out that it was a real job, paid extraordinarily well and found a school that I would have loved to attend! Once I understood that truth many parts of my life fell into place and it became my mission to ensure that we did not miss other female engineers like myself.