A convergence of STEM-Mas!

Dr BellFrom left:  Dr. Della Bell, Mrs. Simone Massingill and Ms. Zorah Taylor (Simone’s sister).

Thank you to STEM-Ma Jacqueline Brannon Giles for this post.

Grandma Got STEM is touching the lives of many young women and a former student of Dr. Della Bell can attest to this fact. Simone was taught by Dr. Bell in 1978 and Dr. Bell recalls that Simone was a dual degree student with a major in chemistry and mathematics.

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Simone describes Dr. Bell as a professor who inspired her and nurtured her interest in mathematics. After a 33 year teaching career, Simone says that she never taught chemistry but taught mathematics at various levels in school districts and colleges.

Our Grandma Got STEM webmaster contacted this writer, and wonderful experiences resulted from communicating and connecting to help Simone get in touch with Dr. Bell. Dr. Bell and Prof. Giles attended Simone’s elegant retirement party at a location near Bush International Airport in Houston, Texas.

Prof. Giles likes to adapt life experiences into lessons for students at Texas Southern University since she currently teaches courses at the university located in Houston, Texas. Years ago Prof. Giles was hired by Dr. Bell who served in a leadership/administrative position at Texas Southern for about 38 years. The experiences shared by all of us demonstrate the importance of inspiring, teaching, communicating and connecting with students so that we can someday report on more outstanding and dedicated professionals similar to Simone, and Dr. Della Bell.

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Posted in Mathematics, Teaching | Tagged , | 3 Comments

Muthulakshmi Reddi

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From this link and suggested by librarian Sam Kome:

Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddi was born on July 30, 1886 in Madras, India. Dr. Reddi was a tireless advocate for women’s rights in India. She was British India’s first woman legislator, and the first woman to serve as Deputy President of the Legislative Council. Dr. Reddi was also the first woman to serve as House Surgeon at the Government Maternity and Ophthalmic Hospital. In 1956, Dr. Reddi won the Padma Bhushan, the India’s third-highest civilian honor.

Muthulakshmi Reddi died in 1968 at the age of 81.

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Maryam Mirzhakhani

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Photo credit:  Stanford University

This page at the AMS website is collecting tributes to

Maryam Mirzakhani, May 3, 1977-July 14, 2017

“Maryam Mirzakhani, the only woman to win a Fields Medal, died on July 14 at the age of 40. Mirzakhani was a professor at Stanford University and a highly original mathematician who made a host of striking contributions to geometry and dynamical systems. Her work bridges several mathematical disciplines—including hyperbolic geometry, complex analysis, topology, and dynamics—and in return deeply influenced them all.”

 

 

 

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Marina Ratner

 

You may be inspired by this NY Times obituary for Marina Ratner. It opens our eyes not only to who can do math, but also to WHEN we can do work that is of value to the profession.

The article begins:

“Marina Ratner, an influential mathematician and Russian-Jewish émigré who defied the notion that the best and the brightest in her field do their finest work when they are young, died on July 7 at her home in El Cerrito, Calif. She was 78.”

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Amazing Women in Phenomenal Conference

by  Jacqueline Brannon Giles


Sometimes you have to take time out to mingle with others and to learn more about the challenges and struggles of other women. During my youthful days, I never attended a Women’s Conference, but today I was compelled by the Holy Spirit to rise up early in the morning to prepare to attend a conference at The Church Without Walls. The conference is led by First Lady Sheretta West and many other gifted and talented women in the United States.

In the session I attended, questions were asked: What do you have on your bucket list? What do you want to accomplish?

I answered clearly and audibly, “I want to impart and I want to develop protégés.”
I listened carefully and noticed that many voiced their desire to travel and to accomplish other creative and impressive feats. As I reflect on my life at 73 years old, I have been blessed to travel the heart of the African continent with a President of the United States of America in August 2000. As a member of President William Jefferson Clinton’s entourage I have traveled from Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland to Abuja, Nigeria, followed by a visit to Arusha, Tanzania, and then to Cairo, Egypt. I have attended the Handover Service from a Military Government to a Democracy in Abuja, Nigeria in May, 1999. I presented a research paper, entitled “Mathematics and Democracy.” The elite audience for the research paper was a Nigerian Think Tank in Abuja, Nigeria in July 2001.

As I reflect on the wisdom and gifts of my father, Reverend Edsel Warren Brannon, Sr. I can truly say that his pronouncement over my life has been actualized. He said a scripture: “Your gift will make room for you and bring you before great men.” Daddy was right!

A few days ago, I took time out to visit a great man, the Honorable Al Edwards, who presided over Texas District 146 for many years and who authored legislation to make Juneteenth a holiday. During our recent visit, Elder Edwards said, in summary, “When President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, he could have designated the day as a holiday, but he did not.” Edwards continued in a careful and thoughtful manner, and he emphasized how his mission was to establish the holiday, and now there is a statue in Galveston, Texas standing tall in his image to commemorate the phenomenal accomplishments of his career. The message that slaves were freed arrived late in Texas, and, thus, the date of the arrival of the good news is labeled “Juneteenth.”

Today, June 24, 2017 when I saw the talented Yolanda Adams, a native Houstonian who is a Grammy Award recipient, I mentioned to her that I visited the Honorable Al Edwards in a location on South Braeswood. She encountered the Honorable Al Edwards at a 2017 Juneteenth program. She asked about his health, and I affirmed that he is improving and he desires to continue his work related to Juneteenth so that this generation of youths gets a more thorough understanding of the social and cultural challenges of African Americans in the United States. I believe my response was encouraging to her, and she paused and took a photograph with me. I immediately indicated to her that I would write articles and share them with the students at S.H.A. P. E. Community Center. My mission at this time in my career is to impart knowledge and inspiration so that creative and impactful achievements can permeate the millennials and the next generation in the 21st century. She smiled.

Today was a great day for me as I listened and learned more about the social, emotional, and spiritual journey of women who are beautiful, highly achieved and still learning how to negotiate their family and career in America, while praying to keep balance in their lives.

Finally, I greeted Deborah Duncan who I have admired for many years, and I shared with her my interest in teaching and inspiring S.H.A.P.E. Summer Session students. Our focus this summer is mathematics, pattern recognition and the philosophy of mathematics. She smiled and agreed to take a photograph with me so that the students can see that I am always mindful of their need to be mentored and inspired to achieve excellence.

I enjoyed the conference that addressed issues of amazing women who have phenomenal lives in Houston, Harris County and in the United States of America.

 

 

Posted in Education, Mathematics | 5 Comments

Dr May Edward Chinn

Anyone want to write a post about her?

Thanks to Catherine Roberts, who posted this link on Facebook.  I have not checked the sources, but it sounds like a story worth pursuing.

http://www.womenyoushouldknow.net/how-is-it-possible-we-never-learned-about-this-woman-meet-dr-may-edward-chinn/

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Hemavathy Appan

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This is a story of my mom, Dr. Hemavathy, a pediatrician in India. She was born in Kariapattinam, a small village in southern India in the state of Tamil Nadu. The village had one school that only went up to the equivalent of 4th grade. The medium of instruction was Tamil. As was common in Indian families at the time, she was part of a large joint family consisting of her parents, five of her other siblings, and five of her eldest brother’s children. Mom showed interest in academics early on, despite the lack of real opportunity. After a few years, the family moved to Chennai, a large city and the capital of Tamil Nadu. One of the first challenges she faced was having to ace an English proficiency test to be able to join a public school in Chennai that provided English as a medium of instruction.

By the time mom finished high school in 1967, her dad had retired and her eldest brother was the sole earning member of the family with 12 dependents. I can’t imagine how hard that must have been.

Mom became a doctor almost entirely by chance – she had excellent grades in her high school finals, but she didn’t have anyone to counsel her on career options. She was considering getting a bachelor’s degree in Physics.  A family friend who happened to visit them saw her scores and convinced her to apply to study medicine, telling her that she had a good chance of getting admission. Given the family financial situation, the understanding was that she could only join if she also got a scholarship. Her grades helped her get a scholarship, and she was in! She started medical school at Stanley Medical College in 1968, one of 30 women in her class of 120.

Money was tight all through her college days. Mom used to walk to college instead of taking the bus, and she would borrow medical books from the library or from friends instead of buying them. She did this to save up scholarship money left over after college tuition to help towards family expenses. After getting her medical degree she started working for hospitals in Chennai while also getting a diploma in child health. She moved to Hosur, a small town in Tamil Nadu after her wedding, where she and my dad raised my family.

In Hosur, she worked all day at a public hospital, which provides free medical treatment to low-income patients. Her specialty was neonatal care, pediatrics, and tubal sterilization. She also started a private practice in the evenings, remodeling our home’s front balcony into a medical examination room. The practice had some challenges early on but slowly grew to be very successful. I still remember a day in my childhood when she once got paid peanuts, and I mean that literally! One of her patients was a peanut farmer who had cash flow problems and he asked to pay her with a sack of peanuts for a year of medical care.

Throughout her career, she won multiple awards and commendations from the government for her service. Now retired, mom continues to work at her private practice she started over 30 years ago. She works 8 to 10 hours every day seeing patients from all walks of life. Her patients travel from many nearby villages because they trust her with their health needs. Mom also consults for several hospitals as a specialist in OB-GYN and pediatrics. She shows no signs of slowing down and says she will keep working because her patients need her.

My mom’s life story has taught me a key life lesson – resilience. No matter what life throws at you, whether you have personal challenges or problems at work, work through it taking action to improve your situation. How you respond to challenges is entirely up to you. Develop a resilient attitude and you can conquer anything.

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Mom and Dad together when visiting us in Texas.

GGSTEM would like to thank Preetha Appan, who saw our call for international submissions and contributed this post in honor of her mother’s birthday.

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