It does get better. (h/t @ayeletw)
When people talk to me about the challenges of hiring women engineers, I often tell them that a good start is to make sure that they interview at least one
Never let it be said that my football knowledge was completely useless.
Today, as many students graduate with Bachelor, Masters, and PhDs, I want to say thanks to…
…the IISc professor who told me “You are good, but not good enough.” (I wasn’t admitted to their MSc program in Mechanical Engineering.)
…the Infosys recruiters who doubted my problem-solving skills, and made me solve problems in their presence, as an “interview”. (Wasn’t hired as a software programmer. I may have started humming as I worked on the new problem set.)
…the Distinguished Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who responded to my e-mail informing him of my admit to another school and inquiring of my status at UWM, by having the Department send me a rejection letter.
…the NSF reviewer who stated the instrument of my expertise is “nice but not necessary”, and the NSF program manager who basically chewed me out and rejected my proposal over that comment.
I started out with an engineering degree from a no-name, no-competent-teacher college. I went on to get a Master’s from IIT Bombay, a PhD from Carnegie Mellon, have been funded/employed for the past 8-9 years through the Great Recession, am somewhat known among my peers for my expertise on that particular instrument and also the broader field, and funding does not look too bad for the next few years.
Of course, I didn’t build that - not by myself, anyway.
- I got a lucky break thanks to the unusual field I studied at the no-name college, which helped me get into IIT-Bombay.
- A professor at IIT-B knew a young CMU faculty member looking for students, who took a chance on a foreign student. (Now on the other side, I better appreciate that risk.)
- That same professor sent me out to a lot of conferences and workshops, helped me become known - when he could have used that same exposure.
- Met someone (at a bar!) during one such workshop, who turned out to be really smart, who treated me as a peer, and who I continue to learn from.
- And I got the opportunity to work with many people over the years both during and after graduate school, many of whom turned into collaborators.
Gratitude to all these fine folks who helped me positively - but also to the folks who rejected me. Life turned out OK as it did.
Congratulations, graduates. Go knock ‘em dead.
Found the original… Utterly fantastic - in a funny, unbelievable way. Even ends with Peter O’Toole returning to the Mother Ship.
Reminded of this by @20smthngblonde’s Nora Ephron quote.
#songoftheday “Someone Like You”
|—||When comments are better than the article, Atlantic edition (“The Cheapest Generation: Why Millennials aren’t buying cars or houses, and what that means for the economy”)|
|—||Dave Weigel, on the IRS 501(c)(4) “scandal”.|
With deference to the genius of David Bowie, here’s Space Oddity, recorded on Station. A last glimpse of the World.
Huge thanks in the making of the video to the talented trio of Emm Gryner, Joe Corcoran and Andrew Tidby, plus Evan Hadfield and all at the CSA.
I could not actually love him any more.