This week’s post is from Tammie Schacher, Executive Director of Zeno and former Architect! If you would like to write a guest post, please contact Mary Cropp.
I wouldn’t call myself a “math geek” although my kids might. I like math but more importantly I like what knowing math has allowed me. As with most if not all in the profession, I knew that I wanted to be an architect from a very young age. Maybe this came partially from being on construction sites with my stepfather and partially from my love of drawing and painting, but once I had decided, I began researching what I needed to do to follow my dream (maybe I have always been a geek). It didn’t take long to see that math would forever be part of my life.
When I got to high school, I didn’t find too many other girls in my advanced math classes, but I didn’t find many girls in my drafting or computer aided drawing classes either, so I didn’t really think about it. I concluded that I’d picked a path that not too many girls choose, and that was okay with me at the time. My friends would often tell me they were jealous that I was in class with all boys, but math? Eww! The ratio of men to women in the architecture field was also obvious and became a concern to me.
When I was practicing architecture, I focused my career on public and affordable housing and had the opportunity to meet with families all over the country. What struck me as we talked with families each and every visit was the limits kids felt existed. Those limits almost always were created in their minds or by their environment! I remember seeing a little kid’s face light up when they discovered that they could be an architect too; it had never even crossed their mind.
Sometimes, a spark of inspiration and support is all that a child needs to create a dream, which is what led me to Zeno. I came here because math opens doors and I want to share with kids and their families that math can help them reach their dreams. We are improving people’s relationship with math by developing a culture that supports learning and shows that every child can succeed. That is the spark that inspires me!