Geek Becomes Her

USD Magazine -- For 13-year-old Katie Blessing, pursuing her dream of becoming a marine scientist has been a no-brainer. Now a bubbly eighth-grade student and avid science buff, Blessing says as far back as she can remember, the blue waters of the Pacific beckoned.

“I really started to think about it when I was little, just looking at the ocean,” she says. “The first question I asked myself was, ‘What’s in the ocean and what is it all about?’”

Blessing is clear about her career path, but the world of science hasn’t historically been so welcoming to girls and young women. When Biology Professor Sue Lowery was a college student in Mississippi in the 1970s, it was rare for a woman to be admitted to medical school. And when, armed with her own degree in zoology, she began applying for jobs in medical research, Lowery found out why.“I went to several interviews where people said, ‘Oh, we would never hire you. I don’t know why they sent you here,’” she recalls, adding that prospective male employers would reject her out of hand, certain that she would inevitably leave the field to become a mother. Lowery persisted, eventually earning her PhD in marine biology and carving a successful career path as an academic, and fervent champion of the underrepresented. (Full Story