We asked Patricia Woody:
What is a maker?
A maker is someone who creates things. It can be anything, and I believe most girls would be surprised to find out how many things they create that they never associate with being a science girl.
What is the hardest science project you’ve ever worked on?
The hardest science project I worked on was my senior design project in college which involved creating an oxygen generation system. It involved a tremendous amount of calculus and experimentation. But in the end, it was worth it. My team members and I learned a lot, and we won the Senior Design Project Award for our class.
What did your classmates think of your passion for science?
Actually, I never felt that my classmates thought anything unusual about my passion for science. I think it was a trait that was respected by my peers.
Do you think more girls are getting into science?
I do believe more girls are getting into science as they realize how fascinating and always changing the field is.
How can schools, teachers, and other adults encourage young girls to do more science?
It’s important that students are introduced to science in the classroom at very early ages. Girls are as naturally inquisitive as boys, and if they are exposed to science at a young age, I’m sure they will embrace it. Teachers and other adults can serve as wonderful role models and encourage girls to become actively involved in STEM activities. They can speak to girls about science, technology, engineering, and math and demonstrate the role science plays in everyday life.
What advice do you have for girls?
Believe in yourself and have confidence in your abilities. Always strive to do your very best, but recognize that you don’t have to be perfect!
If you had your dream job, what would it be?
At this point in my career, my dream job would be convincing girls all over the country to pursue careers in science and engineering; working with educational systems from elementary school through college to recognize the value of girls in STEM fields; and stimulating change.
What attracted you to science?
I loved chemistry, math and understanding how things worked.
What inspired you?
My love of science and math.
Have you had any role models?
Yes, I have had many role models. Role models are incredibly important through every phase of your career. There was only one senior woman chemist when I started working. It was difficult. Yet through the years, I have met many more women who have been great role models for me, particularly in encouraging me to believe in myself.
What advice do you have for girls who want to pursue a career in science?
Just do it! You will never regret it. It’s fascinating and challenging, and you will be making the world a better place!