About Amerisurv| Contact    
Magazine | Newsletter    
Flickr Photos | Advertise    
HomeNewsNewsletterAmerisurv DirectoryJobsStoreAuthorsHistoryArchivesBlogVideosEvents
 
advertisement


Subscriptions
Sponsored By

Software Reviews
Continuing Series
     RTN
An RTN expert provides everything you need to know about network-corrected real-time GNSS observations.
Click Here to begin the series,
or view the Article PDF's Here
76-PageFlip Compilation
of the entire series
Test Yourself

Got Answers?
Test your knowledge with NCEES-level questions.
  Start HERE
Meet the Authors
Check out our fine lineup of writers. Each an expert in his or her field.
Wow Factor
Sponsored By


Product Reviews
Partner Sites

machinecontrolonline 


lbszone.com

GISuser.com

GeoJobs.biz

GeoLearn

 

Spatial Media LLC properties

Associates

ASPRS

newsnow 

Home arrow Archives   The American Surveyor     

Vantage Point: When I Grow Up Print E-mail
Written by Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM   
Saturday, 23 November 2013

A 1.537Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

In September 23, 2013, one of the great scientists of the 20th century passed away at the age of 105. What made this limnologist remarkable was not necessarily putting off retirement until age 100 (although that was pretty remarkable), but more that Dr. Ruth Patrick was a pioneer for women in science. Although she started publishing in 1933 on her entry to Philadelphia's Academy of Natural Sciences, she had to work without pay until 1945, even though she had been serving as assistant curator of microscopy since 1937 and had completed a Ph.D. in botany in 1934.

She had much to offer the world, and her work with diatoms (a group of mostly single-cell algae) set the stage for understanding relationships between living creatures and the quality of the freshwater rivers, lakes, and streams in which they live. Her work was an early example of multi-disciplinary collaboration to find answers about the health of our environment. At Penn I listened to her talk about her work, in a small forum offering lots of opportunities to pepper Dr. Patrick with questions. I remember thinking, "When I grow up, I want to be like her!" No, that didn't mean I wanted to be really old (as she seemed to me back then), or a groundbreaker in science as the environmental activist she surely was. Instead, I especially admired two other things.

One was the way she could draw from different bodies of knowledge to phrase questions and find answers. That kind of imagination, inquiring beyond the boundaries of her original field of study, meant that big answers could be found in sometimes unexpected places. Rather than being stuck in a box defined by a single approach from her own discipline, Dr. Patrick wasn't afraid to ask questions and eagerly learned from colleagues in different fields. A brave and open mind is a wonderful thing, something that takes us on exciting journeys of exploration. And she was gifted with the ability to transmit through her words and actions that sense of wonder and excitement, even urgency when it came to discussing risks to water quality and related risks to flora and fauna (including the mega-fauna homo sapiens).

For those of us to whom expanding beyond our comfort zones is difficult, it can take some effort to admit we have questions. As Nobel Prize-winning chemist and physicist Madame Marie Curie once said, "Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood." Sometimes we are so confused that we have difficulty even framing a question. Getting past this self-consciousness may require swallowing pride and letting ourselves be spurred by the urgency and excitement of finally "getting it"--even coming up with new solutions and new applications. Dr. Curie again: "A scientist in his laboratory is not a mere technician: he is also a child confronting natural phenomena that impress him as though they were fairy tales." We surveyors are certainly more than technicians as well: with our arsenals of technological and legal knowledge we are able to defeat difficult conditions to complete the tasks set before us by clients who expect us to figure them out. And we certainly should feel accomplishment when we do so. Getting there is the part requiring inquisitiveness and fortitude and determination. I admire such traits.

The second thing I admired about Dr. Patrick was that she succeeded--excelled and became renowned--in a career dominated by men. Most of the men reading this article will have little appreciation for this point, but if we want to expand the number of licensed professional surveyors in this country we need to assure that everyone who tries it feels welcome regardless of gender, race, or creed. Because I went through my own personal times of hell running the gauntlet to learn as much as I could and to physically do as much as I could in surveying, I constantly hope that most of the problems I faced are long gone by now. But I still hear from women who assure me that they are not. Bullying, belittling, harassment, and pay inequities are all still prevalent in many professions, including ours.

Supporting this statement is a feature article in the October 6, 2013 New York Times Magazine (see the link below) about women in science and why there are so few of them. The reasons sounded all too familiar to me, being close parallels to my own experiences in the design professions. The Times article further reports on a study at Yale in which identical summaries of accomplishments for two imaginary applicants, one male and one female, were presented to professors in physics, biology, and chemistry at six major research institutions. The result was significantly more willingness to offer the man the job, or if the woman were to be hired, her annual salary was on average set nearly $4000 less than the man's--even if the reviewer was a female scientist.

Something in the Times article really hurt: a discussion about lack of encouragement for women despite their stellar academic achievements. I was lucky to eventually find two wonderful mentors, colleagues who encouraged and coached me both in the field and in the office to reach my goal of licensure. They were the only ones--no other co-workers or friends or family members were there with an "Atta girl!" anywhere along the line. Dr. Patrick's mother had traditional 1920's ideas for her daughter, being "social graces" and marriage (in some families that has not changed nearly 100 years later). But her father bought her a microscope at age 7 and told young Ruth: "Don't cook. Don't sew. You can hire people to do that. Read and improve your mind." That's sound advice for all of us.

When I grow up, I want to live in a world where the walls between traditionally separated bodies of knowledge are less rigid, and questions are welcomed rather than feared or scorned. I look forward to living in a place where everyone is encouraged to be inquisitive and cheered on to reach full potential. And I especially want to live in a world where people succeed because of their creativity and abilities, not because of having different chromosomes or any other different features.

Reference: "Why Are There Still So Few Women in Science?" posted at http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/magazine/why-are-there-still-so-few-women-in-science.html

Wendy Lathrop is licensed as a Professional Land Surveyor in NJ, PA, DE, and MD, and has been involved since 1974 in surveying projects ranging from construction to boundary to environmental land use disputes. She is a Professional Planner in NJ, and a Certified Floodplain Manager through ASFPM.

A 1.537Mb PDF of this article as it appeared in the magazine—complete with images—is available by clicking HERE

 
< Prev

Marc Cheves, PS 
Editorial: A Great Year to be a Surveyor
Some magazines have what are called "theme" issues. That is, most of the content is focused on one particular subject. In my 22+ years of survey magazine publishing, my philosophy has always been to have a little bit of everything in each issue, thereby eliminating the possibility that ....
Read the Article
Jason E. Foose, PS 
Decided Guidance: Case Examinations: Halverson v. Deerwood Village
Whew! We really beat the snot out of Bryant v. Blevins and practical locations. Well this month we're back on new case that hit the Minnesota Supreme Court's docket in 1982. We've got the familiar gymnastics of jurisprudence featuring an extraordinary array of flying rope stretchers ...
Read the Article
Michel Philips 
Extreme Environment Surveying
A Franco-Chilean team of cave divers used the Nautiz X8 rugged handheld for marine cave surveying, gathering data to classify the inaccessible northern half of Madre de Dios for UNESCO World Heritage. The team of cave divers used the Nautiz X8 ....
Read the Article
Erik Dahlberg 
The Original Green Engineers
Sometimes, it's best just to leave things as you found them. That's the lesson shared by Dr. Richard Miksad and his students at the University of Virginia. As a result of studies covering nearly a decade, Miksad's teams have developed detailed ....
Read the Article
Dave Lindell, PS 
Test Yourself 49: No Dimensions
In square A-C-D-B with side S, C-E is tangent to the semicircle Q1 with diameter B-D. Q2 is the inscribed circle of A-C-E. The tangent to Q1 and Q2 meets the sides of the square at F and H and intersects C-E at t G. Q3 is the inscribed circle of C-G-H. What is the ratio of the radii of circles ....
Read the Article
Jerry Penry, PS 
Discovery on Grizzly Peak
When First Lieutenant Montgomery M. Macomb arrived in Carson City, Nevada, from Washington D.C., on July 28, 1878, his assigned survey crew from the 4th Artillery was waiting and ready for the new field season. At age 25, Macomb was the leader ....
Read the Article
Wendy Lathrop, PS, CFM 
Vantage Point: Fighting City Hall Over Land
Once upon a time (1989 to be exact) in a place not so far away from where I live, a man (Francis Galdo) bought a home across the street from a vacant parcel owned by the City of Philadelphia. That parcel, along with others, had been acquired by condemnation back in 1974 subsequent to a 1956 ....
Read the Article
Patrick C. Garner, PS 
Book Review: Boundary Retracement: Processes and Procedures
When I was in my mid-twenties and learning the honorable profession of land surveying, I was lucky to be guided by a mentor who would grab a book off his office shelf and say, "Every surveyor should have a copy of this!" The first example he waved at me was Davis, Foote and Kelly's Surveying ....
Read the Article

deliciousrssnewsletterlinkedinfacebooktwitter

Amerisurv Exclusive Online-only Article ticker
Featured Amerisurv Events
List Your Event Here
please
contact Amerisurv


Google
 
AMERISURV TOP NEWS

Trimble Intros
TSC7 Controller

GOT NEWS? Send To
press [at] amerisurv.com
Online Internet Content

Sponsor


News Feeds

 
Subscribe to Amerisurv news & updates via RSS or get our Feedburn
xml feed

Need Help? See this RSS Tutorial

Historic Maps
Careers

post a job
Reach our audience of Professional land surveyors and Geo-Technology professionals with your GeoJobs career ad. Feel free to contact us if you need additional information.

 

Social Bookmarks

Amerisurv on Facebook 

Amerisurv LinkedIn Group 

Amerisurv Flickr Photos 

Amerisurv videos on YouTube 

twitter

 




The American Surveyor © All rights reserved / Privacy Statement
Spatial Media LLC
7820B Wormans Mill Road, #236
Frederick MD 21701
301-620-0784
301-695-1538 - fax