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Women in Mathematics Day - I want to be Like Her Essays
Essay Winners

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

1st Place :: Dyrasia Williams :: 11th :: Washington County High School

Her Name: Rosa Grymes
Her Occupation: Research Scientist
Employer or Department where she works: NASA

Why do you want to be like her?
Rosa Grymes, just like many other women, has overcome many obstacles in life. Rosa Grymes faced obstacles such as being in a different environment for women in science, taking time out for child bearing, while also making time for both home and work. Although there have been many things in life that could have made Rosa Grymes give up, she still stood strong and strived to achieve her goals. I too face many obstacles as a teenager and I know the older I get there will be many more, tougher obstacles but just as Rosa Grymes kept pushing, I promise I will continue to push to be what I know I’m destined to be. Rosa has proven that anything can be done with faith, endurance and trusting in yourself you can overcome the unknown.


2nd Place :: Brianna Howard :: 12th :: CS Brown STEM

Her Name: Rosa Grymes
Her Occupation: Research Scientist
Employer or Department where she works: NASA

Why do you want to be like her?
When first reading about Rosa Grymes I was captivated by the first sentence. Being a research scientist has always been a dream of mine. My father is a Lab manager and I just want to go further in life that he has. Rosa and I are similar when it comes to working and reaching out to your community. I’ve spent over 300 hours this summer working with youth in the community. I promoted healthy eating and living, as well as stressing the importance of using what you have instead of dwelling on what you don’t have. Being only 17, Rosa’s quote spoke to me, “If you can dream it, you can do it.” She is exactly right, if you want something done you have to work hard to get it. Being a woman forces you to work twice as hard


3rd Place :: Alexis Moore :: 12th :: CS Brown High School

Her Name:Denise Stephenson Hawk
Her Occupation: Atmospheric science
Employer or Department where she works: AT&T Bell Laboratories

Why do you want to be like her?
Just like me, Denise Hawk was born in a small town in North Carolina. She faced many different obstacles, like being poor and attending a segregated school. Her parents also didn’t get the chance to go to college. Unlike most, Hawk never felt undo privileged which I admire. She understood that these things did not define her and what she was capable of achieving. With that knowledge and her love of school Hawk decided to reach for the stars; attending Spellman college with a major in math. All her hard work and dedication paid off after receiving a scholarship to attend a program at NASA. Hawk went on to earn her PhD doing something she loves. That is my aspiration in life, to be Denise Stephenson Hawk. A fighter, a dreamer, a leader.

Honorable Mention :: Dajanique Sykes :: 12th :: Washington County High School

Her Name: Tahani R. Amer
Her Occupation:  Aerospace engineer
Employer or Department where she works: NASA Langley Research Center

Why do you want to be like her?
Tahani R. Amer is an inspiration to women of color who have an interest in learning, practicing, and researching careers in the mathematics fields. Mrs. Amer has broken boundaries as a Muslim woman studying engineering and getting married at a young age. She did not let getting married at a young age or having children deter her from moving to the United States at 17 and attending college. Mrs. Amer soon obtained her Masters of Science in Engineering while still raising her family. In 1992, Amer started working at NASA Langley during her senior year of college. Amer inspires me to believe in my own dreams even if I am only a young woman. I want to be like Amer because she exemplifies the qualities of a strong, intelligent, and inspirational woman of color, whom I want to be like.

Honorable Mention :: Naudia Spivey :: 12th :: Bertie STEM High School

Her Name: Dr. Linda B. Hayden
Her Occupation: Mathematician & Research Director
Employer or Department where she works: Librarian at the Colored Community Library

Why do you want to be like her?
I would love to be like the great Linda B. Hayden because her determination, courage and drive got here where she is today. She was born in Virginia during segregation which was hard on African Americans but she didn’t let this stop her. She was so determined to learn and teach herself about what she loved that she rode her bicycle to get books that weren’t offered at her school. This showed tremendous determination and drive because she would not let her circumstances defy her or hold her back from accomplishing what she wanted. My mindset is just like Dr. Linda B. Hayden’s because I won’t stop at any obstacle and I won’t let any statistic keep me from accomplishing my dreams. Dr. Linda B. Hayden proved that colored women from any depths of Earth can overcome any situation that may keep them grounded. I have big dreams just like Dr. Hayden, and can face some of the same obstacles but she inspired me to know that if she can do it, I know I can. Anything is possible when you have faith and a strong mindset. Believe in yourself and you can accomplish anything! She will always be someone I will look up to.

CWM 2012