Read part 2 here.
It’s been the year of badass, powerful women. Every day I see Malala, Amanda Polchies, Laverne Cox, T-Swift, Beyonce, Mo’Ne Davis… the list goes on. However, the women in our lives display strength, intelligence, humility and success without a seat at an awards show. This series is a collection of women from diverse backgrounds and occupations – mothers, students, doctors, professors, scientists, carpenters, journalists and activists – who’ve had an influence on myself and those around me.
7. Susie Rosales, PhD
Susie is a faculty member in Medicine at the University of Calgary. “I take pride in training research students from high school, university and post-graduate levels as well as postdoctoral fellows,” she says.
In order to get where she is today, Susie obtained a PhD in Comparative Pathology at the University of California in Davis, and lives in Calgary with her husband and children. In the future, Susie would like to continue to promote the value of medical research through research and training, and in teaching a cancer biology course at the University of Calgary.
Susie hopes to discover novel roles of neutrophils (a specific type of white blood cells) in the body’s immune response to infection and cancer.”
8. Shandy Smith, spoken word artist
When Shandy Smith became pregnant at 18 years old, she and her husband were overjoyed, despite their young age. They had been told that Shandy may never be able to bear children. A talented writer and spoken word artist, and provincial science fair champion, Shandy has worked as a summer research student for the University of Alberta, and held a place on the Minister’s Student Advisory Council.
For a 20 year old, Shandy has lead a rich life, but nothing prepared her for how fulfilling motherhood would be. “I am a mother, a wife, a poet and a full-time student,” she says. Shandy says that the birth of her daughter didn’t put a damper on her career, or her desire to contribute to her community in any way possible.
“Right now I’m volunteering with groups on campus to raise awareness for gender-based violence,” she says. “Recently I’ve been invited to perform as a spoken word artist on issues of sexual assault and consent. Additionally, my husband and I try to donate blood as often as we can – it’s actually become a date night of sorts. When our daughter is older we plan to take on more volunteering opportunities as a family.”
With the tremendous support of my husband, family, friends and teachers, Shandy started university when her daughter was barely 2 months old. She says she wouldn’t have been able to keep it up without the unconditional support – and free babysitting – that her parents and in-laws provided. “When I finally finish my Education degree, I plan to begin a career as an English or Social Studies teacher and slowly work my way to my masters,” she says.
9. Sue Taylor, X-ray specialist
Sue is an X-ray application specialist for a large medical company in a specialized field. She attends sites locally and overseas where new high-end specialized X-ray systems have been installed. “My role,” she says, “is to ensure a smooth transition by observing workflow, teaching and customizing software, and acting as a mentor for X-ray techs where needed to ensure that every site gets the most value out of their new high tech system.”
Sue has over 30 years of experience as a Radiographer (also known as an X-Ray tech). “After all this time, I am still in awe of the science behind how X-rays really work, and of the transition [that has happened] over that period [in order] to provide us with the truly amazing state of the art X-ray systems we use today,” she says.
Sue says she feels that her contribution to society is mentoring, and sharing her experiences so that the best radiographic outcomes can be achieved at every customer site, for every patient.
“For now, [I am] enjoying clinical involvement [and] positive outcomes. [I am] thankful for the opportunity to travel, to learn at conferences, and [to have met] all of the wonderful people I have been fortunate enough to meet,” she says.
Through her work, Sue has travelled the world, recently visiting places like Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto, Bangkok and Turkey just in the past year! She lives in Queensland, Australia with her golden retriever, Daisy.
10. Cara Whiteside, carpenter
Cara is a finishing carpenter, which means she builds interior woodwork such as fireplace mantles, bookcases, stair railing, etc. Cara lives in Okotoks, Alberta with her family and their dogs. “I construct quality products to enhance the beauty and functionality of a home and to custom build elements to suit the needs of the individual home builder,” she says.
Cara didn’t always see herself as a finishing carpenter, however. “I had just left my job as a travel consultant and was doing manual labour on a construction site while I tried to figure out what my next move would be,” she says. “I was tired of working behind a desk. I spent a few days shoveling gravel, when one of the carpenters asked if I was interested in learning finishing. He taught me the basics and after that it was trial and error.”
Cara operates from her own company, C. Whiteside Carpentry Ltd., and in the future would like to continue in the field, doing something not quite as labour-intensive but something still using tools and making things.
The greatest lesson we can learn from these women is to let our dreams take us in the direction of the right lifestyle for us. Instead of working overtime to pay for a vacation, we should all try to work towards a career or lifestyle that we don’t want to jump on a plane to escape from (although vacations are still nice).
What’s your dream job? Let me know in the comments below!