My Stem Story

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Marina Milner-Bolotin From Canada

I grew up in the Soviet Union where women were as engaged in science, engineering and mathematics fields as men were. My maternal grandfather was a physicist and my grandmother was an engineer, so it was not surprising that my mother became a physics educator. My father was an engineer, so during my childhood I was surrounded by scientists and engineers. Since I was young, my parents and grandparents shared stories about physics and mathematics, asked questions, and discussed ideas. They also guided me in my readings and always encouraged me to pursue science and mathematics. All my life, I have been surrounded by men and women who were scientists, so for me going into physics was a natural choice. I always appreciated physics to be a challenging field, but if you want to pursue something exciting it will always be a challenge! I always wanted to be intellectually challenged and to be surrounded by people who loved asking questions and figuring things out. When I was young my parents gave me a few books by Richard Feynman (translated into Russian) and I read them with great interest. When I graduated with the M.Sc. degree in theoretical physics I realized that I wanted to teach physics and to make sure that other students have as many wonderful opportunities to appreciate the world around them as I had. I have been teaching physics in secondary school and at university for more than 20 years now and I love every moment of it. Currently I work with physics teachers — helping to raise the next generation of inspiring physics educators. I love my work and I love the opportunities physics education provided me with!