"I Want to be Like Her" Essay Contest

The "I Want to be Like Her" essays are a chance for girls to read about the success stories of women in mathematics. They then write a short essay on why they could look up to and follow women who have oversome hardships and striven for success in their fields.

The five essays below were chosen from all of the essays submitted as the winners in this years celebration.

ECMS Jailiyah Dean (shown with Dr. Lelia Vann)
Grade: 8th
School: Elizabeth City Middle School
Mae C. Jemison, Astronaut, NASA

I would like to be like Mae C. Jemison because she traveled widely and I want to travel also. She also earned numerous awards though out her years. Mae C. Jemison was also a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. I would like to attend the AKA sorority. She was smart and educated women just like me. She worked in medicine too. And one day I will like to be a nurse mid-wife in the Air Force so I can help people just like she did with pride.

Central Alanah Valentine (shown with Mrs. Elsia Askew)
Grade: 6th
School: Central Middle School
Joan E. Higgnbotham, Astronaut, NASA

The reason why I want to be like her is because she is in an interesting field. The job that she has not many women are in that field. More men are. This is making me more interested in this field because I think there should be more women. I want to go to the moon like she has. I want to win an Outstanding Women’s award like she has won 3 years ago. Basically I want to achieve everything that she has, I want to go everywhere she has gone, I want to do everything she has done. That is why I want to be like Joan E. Higginbotham, because she is an outstanding woman.

Camden Julie Turmelle (shown with Dr. Farah Chandler)
Grade: 11th
School: Camden County High School
Rosa Grymes, Research Scientist, Space Life Sciences Outreach Program

Rosa Grymes, like many of the women of America, is a working mother who has gone through obstacles to be where she is today. The reason I find Rosa so inspiring is because she found a career that she excels in, without deciding right out of school. Like myself, Rosa was talented in English, History, Languages, and Math. I’m still trying to find my niche in career choices and the fact that this amazing woman wasn’t sure of her future, but still was able to be successful lets me know that I still have a chance to truly be something. I also have a dream to be a mother and I feel assured that if Rosa has been successful as a mother and a research scientist, I can definitely be anything I dream to be. I want to be like Rosa Grymes because she made her dream come true and she even says herself that “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

Williamston Krishna Patel (shown with Dr. Shirley Black)
Grade: 12th
School: Williamston High School
Denise Stephenson-Hawk, Research Scientist (Physics), NOAA Science Advisory Board

Denise Stephenson-Hawk is one of the best examples of a great woman in mathematics. Just like Stephenson-Hawk, I grew up in a very small, poor town of North Carolina. My mother did finish high school, but my father never finished his education. I understand how it is to be one of the first in the family to strive for excellence in math. I admire Denise Stephenson-Hawk’s ability to always try her best in everything. In her time, women didn’t have many opportunities. Also, being a minority like me, limited her opportunities. Being like her, minority and a woman, makes her an important role model. Stephenson-Hawk believes women can achieve all their goals. She became a role model for all women and minorities by setting high goals for herself becoming the first black woman to graduate with a Ph.D. from Princeton. Since I have many more opportunities than Stephenson-Hawk, I want to take hold of every chance and succeed in life.

Plymouth Rachel Ruffin (shown with Dr. Linda Hayden)
Grade: 10th
School: Plymouth High School
Joan E. Higginbotham, NASA, Astronaut Office’s CAPCOM Capsule Communicator’s Branch

Joan E. Higginbotham received NASA Exceptional Service Medal, keys to the cities of Cocoa and Rockledge, and also received a Group Achievement Award for STS-26 Return to Flight and many more awards which proves that Joan E. Higginbotham is very successful and proves to the world that women are powerful. We can achieve goals. We are somebody. Joan E. Higginbotham’s achievements encourage females to strive on and to never give up. I am convinced that Joan E. Higginbotham never gave up. I also know that it was not an easy road to travel to get to where she is now. I applaud her. And this is the type of woman I want to be, a successful woman and role model to many.