We are enthused to bring you an installment of the "Women in STEM Spotlight Series Sponsored by Leidos." This series highlights women involved in the FIRST community in DC, Maryland and Virginia who are an inspiration for our program's young women and girls.

Name: Rose Young

Place of Employment: Retired

Job Title: Volunteer and Mentor

 What is your specific job in STEM? How would you describe this job to young women and girls?   

Former teacher, engineer, Naval officer, scientist.


Who inspired you to choose a career in a STEM field? 

My high school chemistry and physics teacher challenged me and opened a world that engaged my curiosity, intellect and sense of order. At the same time, he let me explore and see connections. I think I was always drawn to what we now call "STEM" long before the acronym was coined, but Mr. Willis surely had a major impact on my life. He gave confidence and helped me find ways to succeed and grow. I went on to the Naval Academy and a career as an Engineering Duty Officer, left active duty to raise my children and then began teaching. I never lost my curiosity and interest in science.


What is the coolest thing about your job? 

My many careers have been interesting to me, if not "cool" in the way most would perceive the term. What is most rewarding to me is working to engage my sailors in the Navy and my students in the classroom, to help them see their own potential and open doors for them. Mentoring FIRST Teams is just the best possible way to do this job, the job of growing a new generation of inventors and creators. While I now am officially retired from at least two careers, I feel that I still have a meaningful job as a mentor.


What is the coolest thing that has happened while being involved (volunteering or mentoring) with FIRST?   

The most rewarding and memorable moments for me are the clear demonstrations of growth in young people. I can remember the freshman who could barely mumble a response to a question blossoming into a confident spokesperson. I recall young women skittish around power tools later taking the lead in building robots. Seeing alumni come back to volunteer, and to share experiences with others, gives my great joy. And seeing my own sons succeed in their careers and stay connected with teammates is pretty cool.


Anything else you'd like to share? 

For this article I chose a photo of me with my two sons at an Alumni event. I was presented with a small token of team appreciation for "Selfless Dedication" and my boys were there for the event. What a special day!


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