Ada Lovelace Day and Women in Science 2012 (by )

I thought long and hard about this this year and you know what? I decided it was my teachers at school that really instilled the idea that I could do science now obviously there was not just one teacher and the male played as important a role as the female but I am going to dedicate this years Ada Lovelace Day post too Miss Scudder (I hope I've remembered her name right! I believe she turned into Mrs Black or Blacker or something like that).

Miss Scudder was my GCSE Chemistry teacher at Gaynes School and she did the extra bit which involved the beginnings of Geology like rock cycles and what have you as well. She was about the same height as me with curly dark hair that reached her waist - I had cut all my hair off but decided to start growing it again at this point 🙂 Alot of the boys had a crush on her and we used to make up stories about how she would marry the Biology Teacher (as you do at 14/15/16 ~cough especially when you have a crush on said Biology Teacher).

She had lots of funky ways of teaching meaning that she managed to get concepts across to EVERYONE!

Now for my GCSE's I was at a huge disadvantage, I had been put up into set 1 from set 3 something they weren't entirely sure of doing as I had missed alot of the basics that were needed but we all agreed (me the head and the science heads and my then science teacher) that I should give it a go and that I could drop down to set 2 if I really couldn't cope. I ended up in the Super Set 1 which was a smaller group that met at lunch times. I got a B which counted as two B's I didn't finish any of the exam papers and had a panic attack in the Physic exam and had to be taken out of the hall to calm down ( I couldn't remember Ohms Law - still can't).

Anyway Miss Scudder's teaching techniques were grate and she introduced me to flash cards, and coloured summary sheets and various other things which I still use when working on large prodects of going to give a talk. She is also the origin of my Periodical Periodicals in that she used to draw little cartoons of atoms interacting - cartoons where each was a little character - bonds were them holding hands etc...

It was she who intially told me of Terry Pratchette when she saw the novel I was trying to write - she thought it would be right up my street as it has science hidden within it. She made science accessible and even when the class miss behaved it was never bad like it could be for other teachers even if there was the inicided of the water tap being unscrewed and passed around the room!

I came 17th for my GCSE's in the whole year which I think was about just under 200 strong - not distingishing really except that a few years previously my parents were being told I was unlikely to be sitting them at all. I won awards for this etc... and a large chunk of that was becuase of the teachers believing in me. I went on to do A'level Chemistry - it was my lowest grade at A'level but I got more than enough points to enter a University that excelled at the subject I wanted.

But one of the things that I thought was so amazing was that Miss Scudder had had to work hard and over come obsticles to achieve her science credentials. She had gone to an all girls school that did not do science - they had no labs - they could handle the basics but they had to send the girls to the all boys school if a lab was needed. As a result she was the only one to take science A'levels and was on her own in with all the boys at the boys school. I always remembered this as a sign of - it could be done!

Women could be scientist and they could have fun, be fun and pretty as well. So I think I owe her a big THANKYOU.

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