Women’s History Month has sparked reflection among Aggies on the influential women in their lives.
Monday, March 1 marked the beginning of Women’s History Month, which serves to commemorate the crucial role women have played in history. Celebrated since 1995, this month encourages the study of women’s achievements and promotes gratitude toward the women in one’s life. During this time, many Aggies are showing appreciation to the women who have influenced them.
General studies junior Allisa Cervantes said her favorite part of Women’s History Month is the inclusion of all women.
“It means that women of all color, race, sexuality and orientation are celebrated and appreciated for their achievements and talents in their own respective right,” Cervantes said.
When she thinks of powerful women, Cervantes said Malala Yousafzai, Christine Blasey Ford, Alex Morgan, Serena Williams and Selena Quintanilla come to mind.
“These are the women I looked up to as I was growing up and continue to look up to now,” Cervantes said. “The strength that each of these women possess is far greater than we know. They are responsible for breaking stigmas, and they display courage by standing up for not only themselves, but women everywhere.”
Mechanical engineering professor Jaime Grunlan, Ph.D., said there are a number of women who have greatly influenced his professional life.
“Dr. Lorraine Francis was my primary research advisor when I was pursuing my Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota,” Grunlan said. “She is both a great teacher and researcher, having won significant awards for both. It was Lorraine who taught me to write and how to become a true scientist.”
His success as a professor, Grunlan said, is largely due to Francis’ mentorship.
“Dr. Francis is the model of an empowered woman,” Grunlan said. “She is competent, confident, brilliant, compassionate and innovative. She is influential without overtly trying to be.”
MS Marketing Director Lisa Burton said for her, Women’s History Month is a reminder to be thankful to the women who have paved the way for others.
“So many women took great personal risks to fight for rights that I have,” Burton said. “Each time I vote, I give thanks. Each time I am able to have my own bank accounts or credit accounts, I give thanks. It’s important to remember whose shoulders you stand upon.”
Burton’s mother, who she said suffered physical abuse from her biological father, is the strongest woman she knows.
“She removed both of us from that situation and persevered to provide as a single mom who had a high school education and very little money,” Burton said. “My mother taught me that your circumstances can shape you, but they do not have to define you or determine your future.”
Burton said she was fortunate to have worked with women who championed for her success and inspired her to accomplish her goals.
“They encouraged me to go back to school and earn a graduate degree,” Burton said. “I would not be in the role that I’m in today had it not been for their encouragement and nudges. I try to pay this back to younger women and encourage them to think beyond where they are today.”
Perhaps one of the most notable feminists in recent history, Burton said, is the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
“She did not allow prejudices to stop her from pursuing her dreams, and through her legal career [she] was able to open doors for so many others, both women and men,” Burton said. “Susan B. Anthony, Rosa Parks and Mother Teresa are a few others who come to mind. Each took unique paths but claimed their authority, which ultimately affected positive change in society.”