My Story List

Join in the discovery of WiSEM by exploring the My Story databases. Celebrate the contributions of Rutgers’ outstanding female scientists. Explore careers in science, engineering, mathematics, and the health professions by taking a peek into the academic and life adventures of women faculty at Rutgers University.

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Areas of Interest: Human and non-human primate evolution, palaeoanthropology, evolutionary theory, primatology, vertebrate palaeontology.
My Story: I suppose that my adventures in science began when my cousin, Thomas Mysliwiec, my brother Henry, and I founded the Prehistoric and Astronomy Club. The intent of the club was to promote the study of natural history, which we all loved. Tom was supposed to be the specialist in astronomy, because he had a 6” reflector telescope and a mini-planetarium. I was supposed to be the specialist in All Things Prehistoric, which included both paleontology and archaeology, because I could not make up my mind from day to day which of these things I liked the most. The astronomy angle was also fascinating...
Areas of Interest: Women and their Involvement in American Politics.
My Story: I started college in 1968 and graduated in 1972, which coincided with the anti-Vietnam protests and the time period we now think of as the "sixties." I went to Miami University in Ohio where the same Ohio National Guard troops that that were involved in the 1970 shootings of students at Kent State were stationed outside our campus. In April 1970, students staged a sit-in at the ROTC Building to protest the war. Embarrassingly enough, I was in the library, but when I came back to my dorm, I found that many of my friends had been tear gassed. The overreactions of the local police led to a...
Areas of Interest: Magnetism without conventional spin-ordering, reductionist models of glassiness, phenomenological approaches to ferroelectrics, and nonequilibrium quantum dynamics. Department of Physics and Astronomy
My Story: From early on, I’ve always had a sense of curiosity about nature and I always wanted to know more about what was around me. I had a great deal of interaction with my father who was a mathematician and we used to have discussions frequently about physics and math, which clearly played an important role in determining my career as a scientist. I had always liked math and the combination of math and my fascination with nature drove me toward the field of physics. I actually originally went to college to study history, but I switched to physics between my sophomore and my junior year. I always...
Areas of Interest: The psychology of judgment and decision making, clinical decision making and patient preferences, preventive health behavior, especially vaccination, and decisions about future outcomes.
My Story: I spent my childhood in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with my parents and two sisters. My first scientific presentation (an 8th grade science project) showed an early interest in psychology, as it involved mice, a maze, and a Lashley jumping stand. My interest in animal behavior was furthered by an adolescence that included many dogs and horses. I entered Bryn Mawr College in 1982 and immediately enrolled in Psychology 101. Here, I learned to appreciate the rigor of animal learning theory and began working in Dick Gonzalez's laboratory. I spent many happy hours in Bryn Mawr's Dalton Hall running...
Areas of Interest: Molecular mechanisms of melanoma development.
My Story: At the age of 13, I arrived in America with my family from Taiwan. At that time my command of English was limited to the alphabet and schools did not offer “English as a second language” programs. The majority of my teachers allowed me extra time during quizzes and examinations for the reason that I had to look up words to understand the questions being asked. My initial years of schooling were very difficult with the exception of mathematics. I was considered a mathematical “genius” for the fact that one is not required to have a vast comprehension of English to perform calculations. My...
Areas of Interest: Neurobiology.
My Story: When I was growing up, I did not have a strong scientific influence in my life. Neither of my parents were scientists and I was born in Taiwan and raised during World War II. Needless to say, my education was not very steady. My father died young, so I was raised by my mother in a family of five children. She made sure education was the focus of the household. As the middle child, I felt blessed with more space away from parental scrutiny. I always loved to observe things. I could watch lines of ants for hours. After WWII, the island was still at war with mainland China and there were routine...
Areas of Interest: Heavy Atomic Nuclei, Unstable Nuclei, Applications of Nuclear Physics to Energy and National Security, Graduate Education in Science and Engineering. Department of Physics and Astronomy
My Story: When I was seven years old my parents bought me some books about space travel. I think they were inspired to do this because it was just a few years after the launch of Sputnik. I even have some memories of Sputnik. I decided when I was seven that I was going to be an astronomer so that I could go into space. And twenty years later I had a PhD in nuclear physics!  I was the only female allowed to join the science club in sixth grade. I had not been allowed to join the science club in fifth grade because I was a girl. By seventh grade, I was teaching the Astronomy section of my Earth Science...
Areas of Interest: Korteweg-deVries equation, cubic Schrodinger equation on the line, and improving undergraduate education, especially for future teachers.
My Story: In some sense my career path began with an honors calculus sequence at Harvard University. The first three semesters were both challenging and beautifully taught. The fourth semester started challenging and ended almost unintelligible to most of us. I decided then that I wanted to learn mathematics and teach it, but that I did not want to let my enthusiasms for the subject make my teaching inaccessible to my students. Harvard was like the Marine Corps – very tough, but preparation for surviving future terrors.I chose Harvard for my undergraduate education because I “got in” and because it has...