The power of cute shoes & conversation

Leedjia
Posted March 31, 2013 from United States

What can a pair of cute shoes & conversation do? I'll tell what they can do, they can transform a timid girl with no dreams into a national leader for the rights of baby girls,, they can take wayward students to graduate school and they can bring a single teenage mother to a career in science and engineering.

I am lucky to know these four women, they were my students. And they liked my cute shoes.

We spent hours after class chatting about life & fashion. They didn't have a dream, and they certainly didn't know their own power as women. They didn't think they liked math or science and they were surprised to have a female professor. They were the students that others had given up on, if they even saw them at all. They were the girls who didn't fit the mold, as society believes anyway. Over many conversations, they began to dream, & I encouraged them. I tied math & science to makeup & the fun girly things of life. They began to blossom. They found they loved math & science & they weren't just good at it, they were phenomenal. They realized they could define their destiny as women, as scientists, as leaders, all while wearing cute shoes. Fierce and fashionable- they are having a positive impact on society as I write.

I am so proud of these ladies, and so grateful for the lesson they taught me. They taught me that some dreams are not yet dreamt, a latent seed waiting to nourished with interest, time, conversation, faith, non traditional education, and of course, cute shoes.

I have a new dream, to reach every & any women who hasn't found her way through this power because standard education will never see us as we are, smart, beautiful, stylish, & free to define our own way, no matter what shoes we wear.

Girls Transform the World 2013

Comments 6

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KathyG
Apr 02, 2013
Apr 02, 2013

As an engineering student back in the 1980's I wish you had been my instructor. Not so much that I liked pretty things. I was quite the tomboy. But, back then, and seemingly still today engineering curriculum was taught to men by men. My brain didn't work that way. It didn't mean I wasn't smart enough, but it felt like I was having to translate a foreign language first, before even thinking about what was being taught.

Thank you for sharing. Having someone understand, take the time to relate in terms we can connect with, only empowers us all. You are that special teacher that these women will never forget!

I look forward to more!

Kathy World Pulse Project Manager

Leedjia
Apr 06, 2013
Apr 06, 2013

I am so grateful for your response, it made my day :) What kind of engineering do you do?

I agree with you, there are many ways to take in information and most institutions offer only one, one that usually isn't shared by us, but no less valuable.

Your comments also made me reflect and realize that my first science teachers were women, I imagine that was a subconscious green light. In graduate school it was all guys when I started. I tried to be one of them before realizing I am better off being me. By trying not to be put in a box by others, I put myself in one. It sounds like you were more self aware in that regard. It is my hope for a future where we can feel free to talk about anything, including science, and positive social change without fear of social stigma.

LisaXi
Apr 11, 2013
Apr 11, 2013

Sometimes all it takes is a mentor to plant the seed, in which a girl can begin to believe.

SallyB
Apr 14, 2013
Apr 14, 2013

Shoes as vehicle for personal progress; what a fabulous analogy!

tiffany_anne
Apr 24, 2013
Apr 24, 2013

I love this story, and I really feel like it's a reflection of how women today are taking charge to define their own lives- allowing themselves to be as cute and girl as they want while still being intelligent and successful. The idea that women need to let go of "feminine" things like pretty shoes or clothes to be respected and taken seriously is rightfully ending, and this is a fantastic example of that.

Liz Delgros
Apr 24, 2013
Apr 24, 2013

Leedja,

Thank-you so much for sharing such insight. As a science student myself, I have often felt discouraged by observing the others around me and feeling that I didn't fit the mold. Our culture's ideas of what is allowed to be feminine and what is not can be very disheartening for a young woman. Your personal effort into your students and the time you've taken to truly get to know them is an inspiration. I hope that there are many more professors like you to come!

Liz