Category Archives: Women & Technology

Reporting on women in technology.

At Least She Was Never Bored – by Dr. Ruth Williams

I am of Black Caribbean, Dutch, French, and British heritage. I was born on the Dutch island of Aruba, and grew up on the Island of St. Lucia in Franco-British West Indies. I emigrated to the United States at the age of 19 years. I was inspired to go into my STEM field by Dr. C.P Shim who was the professor in an introductory psychology course that I took my sophomore year in college. Determined to be a biologist in general and in particular, a proto-zoologist, Dr. Shim opened up the field of human behavior and mental processes in a way that resonated with some longing for service and knowledge deep in my spirit.

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The Power of We – by Jemila Morson

I often refer to myself as “bi-cultural” as I was born and raised between two very distinct cultural landscapes, southern America and the British West Indies. Chattanooga TN is my place of birth, and I was raised between there and my island home of Anguilla B.W.I. My father is West Indian and my mother is American of African and Cherokee descent. The dual identity has given me many growing pains finding an identity of my own, but I am proud of the rich cultures combined within me. When I moved back to the US in high school, people would often ask what my “race” was. It was difficult to explain, so being the marketer that I am, I quickly adopted a slogan for myself; “the perfect mix: an Indian, American, Caribbean chick.”

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It’s a Man’s World – by Alyssa Montague

A STEM Woman in the Commercial Construction Industry

My name is Alyssa ‘Monty’ Montague, and I’m a 26-year-old SharePoint Administrator at Hutton Construction, Inc. I grew up in a town called Normal, IL, which is about half the size of Chattanooga. I wanted to get out of the small town life, so for college, I moved to Chicago to attend Columbia College. It didn’t take long, ­­just six short years­, ­for me to tire of big city life. My long­term boyfriend and I decided to move to Chattanooga to be closer to his family. My mom and dad still live in Illinois, but they come to visit as often as they can.

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The Passion to Build Things – by Heidi Hefferlin

My family’s background is a mixture of American and Swiss. My father’s family is Swiss and German and includes: Bankers, Importers, Entrepreneurs and Ministers. My mother’s family are Dutch Mennonite farmers who immigrated to California and became peach and Almond farmers in the central valley. My parents moved to Tennessee just before I was born. My fathers was a physicist and taught for 34 years. My mom was a home economics graduate, raised four girls and worked as a church secretary and later at a credit union.

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Actuary what? – by Tamra Van Allen

I am Tamra VanAllen, Assistant VP & Pricing Actuary at Unum. When people ask me what I do, I say, “I’m an actuary” then I watch for their reaction. It typically goes one of two ways, either an excited “I know someone else who is an actuary” or I am met with a blank stare and awkward pause while they try to decide if it is even worth asking about.

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My Non-traditional STEM Journey – Sonya Reid

My African American family came from a small community in Eastern North Carolina. We were, and still are, a very close knit group. My overall inspiration comes from my mother, a strong woman, who supported me on my way to self development and discovery. With respect to STEM-related fields, I was inspired by my high school chemistry teacher, who did an excellent job of engaging her students. Additionally, my aunt, my Mom’s sister, taught Biology at my high school. Both my Chemistry teacher and my aunt pushed me to join extracurricular science activities because they saw that I had a natural affinity for science and math. Eventually, I was introduced to Chemical Engineering by a representative from the local DuPont Chemical plant who spoke to our HS physics class about his work as a Chemical Engineer during a Career Fair event.

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LIFE APPlications: Owning your Legacy – by Lakweshia Ewing

I am Lakweshia Ewing, a co-owner of Biz Boom Apps, LLC. I was born in Memphis into a life of poverty and all of the negative symptoms that it can bring along with it. It was always a dream to become a game-changing businesswoman and philanthropist so this early curiosity and an already successful family member willing to educate me on how to change the world through technology I dove in head first into the realm of technology known as the “Mobile Market” as a co-owner of Biz Boom Apps, LLC. It was the desire of Biz Boom Apps to provide the small business world with a mobile solution that is a one-stop-shop for all of its marketing and communication needs.

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STEM Women Talk – By Gay Morgan Moore

A Technical Development Senior Specialist for a major chemical manufacturer, Jennifer Henry knew from an early age she wanted to have a scientific career. Initially aspiring to be a veterinarian, her interests changed by the time she entered college. Electing to attend community college for her first two years, she felt supported and encouraged, even though most of her professors in her science and math courses were men. Employed at an analytical chemistry laboratory throughout college, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in biology from UTC (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga).

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You’ve Come a Long Way STEM Baby – By Gay Morgan Moore

Recently, I received a copy of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville CBE UPDATE, a publication of the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Featuring an article concerning the department’s 2014 faculty and student awards, I was amazed to find almost all of the undergraduate recipients were women, including the university-wide Chancellor’s Honors Award. Things have certainly changed from when I attended UT many years ago when women were actively discouraged from entering the College of Engineering. I contacted CBE Outstanding Faculty Advisor Award winner, Dr. Paul Frymier, who was happy to talk about a subject “near and dear” to his heart: recruiting and retaining students, especially women, in chemical and bio-molecular engineering.

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Je Suis in Cyberspace, Reluctantly- by Deborah Levine

The “Us vs. Them” mentality is universal. It’s embedded in how we define ourselves as individuals and as communities. For every “Us”, there’s a “Them”. Whether by nation, region, religion, language, or religion, it’s human nature to differentiate.  Fortunately, while the phenomenon is a given, the related actions are not. In a world where limited resources can whither away communities, cultural differences increasingly generate violence. Watching the news today is an exercise in confusion as to which war we’re seeing, which era, and which players are currently killing each other off with a seemingly endless supply of arms. It’s tempting to think that little has changed. Yet, the attack on the French satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, compels us to re-examine the change that impacts us all: technology.

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