Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Kick Ass Girls

Music is not the only thing that Taylor Swift knows a thing or two about. With the release of her new album, she has been interviewed a lot lately and she is talking about some good topics. One of them is something that I have been inspired by this past month from the foreword that was written by Sophia Bush in the book I’ve been reading that I have been anxiously waiting to tell you all about once I finish it!

So here is what Miss T-Swift has to say…
“If we continue to show young girls that they are being compared to other girls, we’re doing ourselves a huge disservice as a society. I surround myself with smart, beautiful, passionate, driven, ambitious women. Other women who are killing it should motivate you, thrill you, challenge you and inspire you rather than threaten you and make you feel like you’re immediately being compared to them. The only thing I compare myself to is me, two years ago, or me one year ago.”
I had the idea for this blog before this interview came out and it couldn’t fit more perfectly as I was piecing it together. This post is dedicated to women that I know personally. Women that have entered my life some way or another. I am connected with these girls on social media and have the joy of keeping in contact with them, but also watch them evolve and really kick ass at life. (Literally, Tambree does MMA fighting!) These girls use their beauty, brains, and bodies in extraordinary ways. Some of them do things I couldn’t imagine doing (a chemical engineer?!) and inspire me in different areas of my life. These are some of the girls that Taylor Swift describes above that I am lucky to have in my life. And I can barely wait to brag about them. :)

So I contacted them and asked them to answer some questions. I wanted their input, opinions, and to highlight their amazing-ness. This is a long post, but worthwhile. Please enjoy, be inspired, consume their stories, and read their advice. Each one is different, but they all are women that go through a lot of the same things we all do. Happy reading! 

Photo credit: Tracy Phutikanit

Name: Eden C. Tullis 
Where you are from: Oswego, Kansas (southeast, just 10 minutes away from the Oklahoma border and 30 minutes away from the Missouri border)
Where you are living currently:
Seattle, Washington (neighborhood, Beacon Hill)
Occupation or whatever kind of gig you are doing:
College Advisor/Specialist for Orientation Programs at the University of Washington Bothell; I also blog and consider myself a social justice advocate
How you know Rachel:
Emporia State! We were Ambassadors together, and I got involved with BUILD Beauty :)

What’s your favorite thing about being a girl?
I’d first like to address how I move through this world as a cisgendered female. This means that my gender as a female aligns with my sexual identity. I go over this terminology with my college students to be encompassing and inclusive because I want them to feel welcome to share their own identity. Another similar practice is the sharing of pronoun preferences, and I personally prefer the pronouns “she” and “her”.
At first, such practices felt awkward and weird to me. Over time, I’ve gotten used to them, and guess what? I like how they make me feel! Owning the fact that I am a female makes me proud to be female. In that same spirit, I like sharing how I am a proud daughter and a sister. So what do I do when I don’t have the space or opportunity to share this information with folks? I love to show this off through my distinct wardrobe choices. The fashionista in me has been set free here in Seattle, and I’m now able to explore other options beside jeans, nice tops, or the occasional dress. I’m smitten with peacoats and lace and red lipstick and those big, floppy hats you see at the Kentucky Derby. Honestly, it’s half the reason why I moved to the coast.  
Have you ever felt discriminated against because you are a girl? How did you feel? What did you do about it?
            I’ve felt silenced, not necessarily discriminated against. It hasn’t occurred during my career, but I felt silenced prior to what I learned in grad school—before I had a name for what I was feeling. Back then, I never knew how to react. I ended up sulking or reacting naively without any solid knowledge to negate the issue. I’ve been working through what those reactions mean to me and how I internalize them.

What’s the biggest risk you have ever taken? (I apologize for this one. It’s lengthy, but I had so much to say!)
            Ya know, I used to think moving out to Seattle was the biggest risk, but life’s tests have proven me otherwise! I’ll give you some context: I’ve never been the spontaneous type. I’ve played it pretty safe in terms of having a good time, and it’s worked. Some might say being a student for 18 years was playing it safe, but it allowed me to take the kind of risks I can appreciate—those that push me to grow. Coming to Seattle U for a certain purpose like grad school, well that certainly helped. I had a built-in community, and my living arrangements kind of fell into place. The culture-shock, though—that was overwhelming and not something I expected. I considered myself a pretty liberal, open-minded person but quickly realized that I had a lot to learn.
            Those first few months were such a struggle that I even thought about quitting. I felt so behind…so naïve, both in class and in trainings. We’d spend all our time going over identity issues, oppression, multicultural competence, privilege, sex, gender, race, etc. My first reaction was to be on the defense, but I quickly realized how important and rare it was to even be challenged by people who care about you. Together, we were establishing a norm of holding each other accountable. I guess what I’m trying to say here is that grad school taught me a thing or two about the process of my own development. It roughed me up a little, and I’m so glad it did. Ironically, my Master’s degree is in Student Development Administration so of course I learned a great deal about students and how they develop as people, but I ended up learning even more about myself. Isn’t that funny? Well, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it. I could’ve quit after finding out that I did in fact have assumptions about other groups of people. I could’ve quit after coming to understand my privilege as a white, able-bodied, U.S. citizen. But I didn’t. I was just confused and lost, and that’s okay!
            Two lessons learned from all of it: a.) admitting I’m confused and lost can be pretty humbling and there will always be people there to help, and b.) speaking up for what I believe in, verbalizing it even if I don’t have all the answers, that is the most important risk I’ll ever take in this life. It’s a constant and passionate battle that all of us are doing at the same time, and I find that frustratingly beautiful. For years, I’d been scared to verbalize how I feel about political tensions, but now I find myself tweeting or blogging about them constantly. When I do share, it’s not to say I’m better than anyone else. It’s not even to take a stance on who is right versus who is wrong. It’s about having a chance to share my own understanding around a particular issue and learn about what others may know.
What’s your favorite quote?
            This quote inspired my first tattoo that I had done in October (I’ve shared a shorter version):
            “There is a vitality, [...] an energy that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. [...] It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. [...] You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open. No artist is pleased. [...] There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”- Martha Graham
            I’ve been happy to learn more and more about Martha. She herself was a kick ass dancer and choreographer who taught at Cornish College of the Arts (downtown Seattle).
How do you deal with the negative stigma attached to being single?
            Until recently, I hadn’t dealt with it. This summer was a tough one. I had my heart broken by my best friend, someone I trusted. Suddenly, I was angsty about the fact that I had nothing to show for this unrequited love. I felt singled out because I was single. Looking back, this was silly of me! Many of my friends in Seattle are single and in their 20’s, too. It’s perfectly normal! We’re young and we’re trying to figure it all out, right? Right!
            Well, I wish that’s what I would have thought of in the moment. But I didn’t know how to stay positive then. Instead, I spent all my energy zeroing in on the fact that my friends from back home are married, engaged, or in committed relationships. Was I forever going to be committed to my job and not a significant other? That’s what I kept thinking to myself! And for some reason, I thought online dating might solve all my problems. Of course it didn’t! After several failed attempts, I finally came to terms with this label.
            Five months later, I declare that I’m single because I’m choosing to be alone. I’m not lonely, and I will continue to feel empowered by our own urges as long as I’m in a committed relationship with myself.
Is there any advice that you have to offer women?
            My advice is this: don’t let your personal or professional path be defined by what the norm of our society says it should or shouldn’t be. If you want to have a career in a field dominated by men, do it. If you don’t want to have kids, don’t. I moved to Seattle with people questioning my intentions, and I’ve been happy.
What are the amazing things that come from living so far away from Kansas?
            Strength, diverse food, the sights, new friends, a liberal majority, more “green” options, everything is buzzing, easy access to water, more diverse cultures.
What are the tough things you deal with living so far away from Kansas?
            Homesickness, missing my favorite restaurants and places, stress about being close to my family but putting myself first, going home isn’t just a drive away, all the grown up stuff: finding a doctor, dentist, bank, etc.

What are books you would recommend to women?
  1. Through the Labyrinth: The Truth About How Women Become Leaders by Alice Eagly & Linda Carli
  2. Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
    1. “I embrace the label of bad feminist because I am human. I am messy. I am not trying to be perfect. I am not trying to say I’m right. I am just trying—trying to support what I believe in, trying to do some good in this world, trying to make noise with my writing…”
  1. Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling
  2. Bossypants by Tina Fey

Name: Elahé J. Bahadori

Hometown: Kansas City, KS

Current Residence: Kansas City, KS

Occupation: Development Coordinator at the National Kidney Foundation

How I Know Rachel: Dance class and school

Have you ever felt discriminated against because you are a girl?
Yes, I have as an Iranian-American. How did you feel? I felt terrible because I’ve dealt with so much ignorance of people thinking the country my father immigrated from and my family that live there are nothing but terrorists. What did you do about it? I try to ignore it.

What’s the biggest risk you have ever taken? I will be taking a risk when I move states.

What made you want to pursue your current career? The rewarding work of non-profit and working for a good cause.

What are your thoughts on fear and how do you deal with it? My thoughts are that if you are fearless, you are not growing. There’s always something to be fearful of so you can work toward the direction of your fears and overcome them.

What’s your favorite quote? “If you want to live a fearless life, I suggest you stay in your comfort zone.” – Mastin Kipp

Who are your inspirations? My family

What is something you do to relieve stress? Yoga. Dance does the same thing for me but I didn’t have the space to continue this in my current living situation. I got into yoga because it works on your flexibility and teaches you patience and the journey toward your inward self. I stick with it by participating in yoga challenges on Instagram that motivate me to keep trying new poses daily. I also use deep breathing techniques in my yoga poses to help sustain my balance and really reach deeper within.

What is your favorite girl power type song?  A Woman’s Worth – Alicia Keys

How do you stay positive? I train my mind to think positive thoughts when I sense that I am making negative ones.

What have you learned in your relationship with your significant other? I’ve learned the importance of balancing each other out (I lean more toward structure and I have an impatient personality, and he is more flexible and has a patient personality).

What issues do you think girls face the most and what do you think we can do to help stop them? Body image issues and we can stop them by comparing ourselves to others.

Is there any advice that you have to offer women? Don’t compare yourself to anyone else but who you were yesterday. 

All girls should never live without chocolate!

Name: Tambree Wilson
Hometown: Kansas City, KS
Current living: Joplin, MO
Occupation or current gig: Going back to school for Elementary Education, MMA training, and working at a BBQ joint!
How I know Rachel: High school

“When I started MMA, I was the only girl in the Pittsburg gym."

Have you ever felt discriminated against because you are a girl? How did you feel? What did you do about it?
The first time I walked into MMA training everyone stared at me. No one introduced themselves to me (later when new kids came in they all introduced themselves) they just stared. I had met the coach before training to see what all I needed and he said I just needed wraps and a mouth guard. He forgot to mention that I would need a lot of patience waiting for the guys to accept me. 

What’s the biggest risk you have ever taken?
Risk? Well I guess the biggest risk I have taken was going back the second day to MMA training. Or maybe sparring for the first time.

What made you want to pursue your current career?
Well the biggest thing that made me want to pursue MMA was because I was extremely over weight. I needed to get back into some type of sport. I watched a UFC fight at one of the parties I went to and I just thought to myself “That’s something I can do”. I’ve always loved physical sports and any opportunity I had to wrestle with my dad I did.

What issues do you think girls face the most and what do you think we can do to help stop them?
The biggest stigma that I think girls face that I hate the most is that “Girls are weak”. As a strong woman myself this always enrages me. Some things I think we can do starts in the schools. Stop asking for boys specifically to carry things. Teachers always as for a “strong boy” to help carry in boxes, instead ask for a girl or don’t even specify a gender. Stop having gender specific tasks! We can all do the same thing. I punch just as hard as the guys and when they get hit by my right hand and realize that it actually hurts. I have always been complimented on my strength as a girl. I have embraced my physical strength and other girls should too!

What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Biggest accomplishment in MMA was when I finally pulled of a submission in jiu-jitsu. It was an arm bar and I had been training for like 3 months everyday. I was so excited after he had tapped I slammed my hands on the mat like a gorilla and ran around the matts. It may have been a bit over celebrated but I didn’t care at that point. Nothing could bring me down that day. Another big accomplishment was when I dropped from 265 to 185 in little under a year! That was probably the toughest thing I did. I have always battled with weight, which is a whole other issue when it comes to girls.

What is MMA training like?
I trained everyday for an hour on top of some outside exercising usually involving a lot of cardio. Now I train in Joplin and we have an all girls boxing class! I love seeing how quickly girls are catching on to this sport but there is only one other girl that does the MMA part like I do. Now I train every Tuesday and Thursday boxing is at 6:30pm and Jiu-jitsu starts at 7:30 and doesn’t end till 9:30. I train for 3 hours on Tuesday and Thursdays and if I’m training for a fight or tournament I workout everyday by adding cardio to MWF and S. It’s always interesting when we have a new guy come in. They are either scared to hit me, or they throw all they can into their punches. If they are scared to hit me then I just keep hitting them and if they don’t want to get beat up by a girl they will start fighting back.

Right before my first fight one of my teammates wrote a Facebook status about me that filled me with pride. He said that I put in more work then any other guy in our gym I gave him a better challenge then most of the guys and that I was one of the strongest females he has ever met. We had came a long way since that awkward stare down at my first practice and I knew then that I was finally accepted into the group and respected as a fighter.

All girls should never live without an oversized hoodie.

Name: Danielle (Hernandez) Atkins
Where you are from: Originally born in Texas, but growing up Military I've moved very often but I've always claimed Georgia as my home. 
Where you are living currently: Brunswick, Georgia 
Occupation or whatever kind of gig you are doing: Management Forester for the Georgia Forestry Commission, and also a type 2 wild land firefighter. 
How you know Rachel: First met at the National Blue Key Conference in Toledo, Ohio. Hit it off nearly instantly and been long-distance friends and seeing each other at the annual National Blue Key Conference :)

About Danielle’s job: My technical job title is "Management Forester". I oversee 5 counties in Southeast Georgia for which my main job duty is to establish and maintain relationships with landowners: provide advice and/or recommendations for forest management such as harvesting and reforestation. I also act as the district water quality specialist, where I provide recommendations and advice on concerns regarding forestry practices and water quality issues. I interact with other government agencies such as the Natural Resources Conservation Services and Farm Service Agency by evaluating and verifying various cost-share programs. I assist with outreach events such as FFA competitions, environmental fairs, educational meetings, etc. Also as a member of the Georgia Forestry Commission, one of our top priorities is fire protection: which makes it necessary for every employee to become wildland fire fighter certified.

What’s your favorite thing about being a girl? Overcoming stereotypes. I have “Little Girl Syndrome” as I’ve labeled it and I like to take on challenges or pursue aspects that most girls aren’t typically seen at.

What made you want to pursue your current career? During school I dipped my toes in various classes and activities to find my "fit". During one internship with The Nature Conservancy in the prairies of Minnesota and North Dakota, I realized I needed to work with trees. The prairie plains, although beautiful, didn't give me any passion in my work. So trees- done deal. I figured out I needed a career path that allowed me to be around trees (something I probably should have already known as I've always found trees beautiful and inspiring). Senior year, I got further involved in the Forestry Club and even became an officer. But what really made me seriously think about forestry as a career was my work to re-establish our school's yearbook The Cypress Knee. All the involvement in gaining sponsors to make the re-establishment allowed me to interact with many forestry professionals with various careers and various backgrounds. I can't say exactly when the moment was that I had the thought that "I could do this" and I suppose it was more of a gradual understanding. But the one thing I do understand is that working on The Cypress Knee is one of the main underlining pushes to my current career as a management forester.

What’s your favorite quote? I really have 2 favorite quotes. 1) "Make the most of yourself ... for that is all there is of you" - Ralph Waldo Emerson 2) "Twenty years from now from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones your did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover." -H. Jackson Brown's mother. Both of these I love so much I actually got them tattooed on me. The entire 1st quote (which I got tattooed first as well), and the ending of the second: Explore. Dream. Discover.

What is something you do to relieve stress? As of lately, my Crossfit workouts have helped me relieve much stress through a physical outlet to blow of steam as well as a social function. As I've become more involved with my Crossfit box, I've gained a new sense of confidence as well as gained a new support system of friends- always encouraging one another to be the best that we can be.

What have you learned in your relationship with your significant other? One thing I've learned is we are continually learning... But probably one of the best things I've learned is what I've labeled as "inter-independence", as I don't exactly have the right word for it. But simply enough, we've both gone through school together, spent 3 summers apart in different states, remained active in different organizations as well at times within the same organization, and both accepted forestry careers. We would not have been capable of being so successful over the last few years if we were not encouraging of one another's independence while understanding the necessary compromises to help our relationship blossom to what it is today. But one of my favorite aspects about our relationship is the fact we are able to do things separately, such as go to conference meetings or just out with our friends to dinner. There are many relationships today that get so consumed with one another that I feel they essentially lose their identity, rather I believe we have helped one another further discover ourselves.

What issues do you think girls face the most and what do you think we can do to help stop them? I think the biggest issue today is self-confidence and social conformity. These issues I know have always been problematic, but I feel as if today these problems are enhanced with social media and new technological advances, especially with the development of smart phones. Girls feeling it necessary to constantly update their "status" or "check-ins" or post on Instagram 24/7, I believe further enhances their need for social acceptance and essentially losing their identity; or even on the opposite spectrum going to extremes to stand out.

What girl stereotypes do you wish would go away? The "You're not strong enough to do it because you're a girl". Just because you're a girl, even a petite girl, doesn't mean you can be successful in whatever you put your mind to. My whole life has been built around overcoming this particular stereotype - to others or even to myself. Nearly my entire career field is man-dominated (you can find that out just by trying to find outdoor clothing- look at the options, then look at the size availability). Now I'm not saying that it will not be difficult or even more difficult to be successful in some things - especially those that require a lot of physical endurance - but what I am saying is if you put your mind and dedication to it...you can do anything.

All girls should never live without passion.

Name: Kelsie Weiser
From: Bonner Springs, Ks
Live in: Pittsburg, Ks
Currently: Last semester college student
How I know Rachel: Rachel became my friend in the strangest way. In high school I dated a guy who went to a different high school than me. Both of us were avid on our school’s forensics teams, and his forensics partner happened to be Rachel. I met Rachel through this boyfriend, and came to find that I had a lot in common with this girl! After kicking this boyfriend to the curb, I knew I still wanted Rachel to be my friend!
What’s your favorite thing about being a girl?
Makeup!! At first I struggled to think of what my favorite thing could be, but then this hit me! I seriously love makeup so much. I know guys can wear it to, but I feel as though I can really define who I am, how I’m feeling, and so many other emotions by my makeup and really get creative.
Have you ever felt discriminated against because you are a girl? How did you feel? What did you do about it?
Absolutely, there is a “common norm” that truly drives me crazy and that is that girls are to be polite and sweet constantly. Personally, I’m extremely opinionated and vocal. If I disagree with someone or have an idea I am not afraid to speak up, even if it’s disagreeing with a man. His opinion is no more valid than mine. When I was young, I would be afraid to speak my mind, I felt as though what I had to say wasn’t important, but as I got older and got my college degree in communication I learned how to turn away from that common norm.
What’s the biggest risk you have ever taken?
The biggest risk I have ever taken was when I was 19 years old. I moved away to Orlando Florida all by myself to pursue a dream that I’d had for a long time. I participated in a 6 month long internship at Disney World (AKA The Disney College Program) I knew absolutely no one when moving there, it was a big risk but had such a great reward.
What are your thoughts on fear and how do you deal with it?
To me, fear can have a lot of meanings. I think being fearful is a good thing, it means you’re afraid to lose something or someone. The way I deal with fear, typically I just face it. I can’t avoid my fears or I’d hide in my bed every day. Unless it’s spiders, I doubt I’ll ever actually conquer that fear.
What’s your favorite quote?
“Do as dreamers do.”
What is something you do to relieve stress?
When I need to relieve stress, I need alone time! The best way I unwind is by lighting a candle and just relaxing. Whether it’s watching a movie or playing on my computer. If I don’t have time to do all that to relieve my stress, my quick fix is closing my eyes and slowly counting to 10. It really works!
What is your favorite girl power type song?
Basically anything from my old Spice Girls CD’s make me feel all kinds of girl power!
What’s your favorite girly movie?
Bridesmaids! I love how hilarious the ladies in that movie are!
What have you learned in your relationship with your significant other?
I have learned patience and unconditional love for another human being. My fiancé has really taught me so much, but those few words stick out the most to me.
What issues do you think girls face the most and what do you think we can do to help stop them?
I think girls have an issue with being self-confident! No matter what it has to deal with, appearance, intelligence, anything, all girls need to love themselves for who they are.  We need to teach them from a young age that everyone is beautiful and special.
What have you failed at and what did you learn from it?
Oh yes, so many times have I failed. What I’ve learned from failure is that I’m not invincible, I can’t do everything and it really is okay to ask for help.
What girl stereotypes do you wish would go away?
The “white girl stereotype” drives me crazy. Yoga pants, Uggs, Starbucks. Yes, all awesome things. I’m almost positive not all white girls like these things, and not just white girls like these things either.
Is there any advice that you have to offer women?
My best advice to give other women is to go after your dreams, make your passion your paycheck, and don’t let anyone make you feel anything less than amazing.
All girls should never live without feeling loved, and loving someone else in return. Love is the most selfless thing we can do.

Name: Josie Anne Peterson
From: Lincolnville, KS
Currently living: Ellsworth, KS
Occupation or gig: Getting my Masters degree in School Counseling
How you know Rachel: I know her from college

My favorite thing about being a girl is knowing that I will be a mom someday.

The biggest risk I have taken thus far in my life is picking up everything and moving to Ellsworth to get my Master's from FHSU, coach volleyball, and substitute teach.

I am pursuing my current career because If I can be that go-to person for even just one child, and make a difference in their life, then it will all be worth it.  All of the schooling, studying, paper work, and organizing.  All of the tears, tough phone calls, and emotional distress.  It will all be worth it when that child comes up to me twenty years down the road and tells me that I made a difference in their lives.  I know this because I was that child.  I was the child who needed someone to reach out to me and give me an extra hand.  And I was that child who went to that teacher years later and thanked her for all that she did for me.

Fear is very tricky.  I have lived with anxiety most of my life and that fear of new things, new people, new places has always kept me from doing things.  It is always in the back of your mind, whether it is actually doing it, or just thinking about it!  It is awful and I hope no one ever has to go through it.  To me, fear is scary in itself.  We often fear fear (if that makes sense)  We think about and dwell about something, but sometimes not the actual task.  We worry about being fearful of doing it, not actually doing it, and that turns us away from it.  I have gotten better at dealing with fear, with the help of my friends, family, and some pretty good meds J
My greatest accomplishment thus far is (recently) learning to not let my anxiety keep me from doing the things that I want to do.

Favorite quote: "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams.  Live the life you've imagined."

One of the things that girls face a lot are other girls! For example, when I am at a party I am very outgoing and like to talk to everyone, whether they are a girl or a boy.  Sometimes this made other girls mad or annoyed because I would be talking to their boyfriend.  I didn't mean anything predatory by this, I was just wanting to talk! It's my favorite hobby: talking!  So, as an outgoing girl, it sometimes makes other not-so-outgoing girls feel defensive, or think that I am flirting.

All girls should never live without IMAGINATION.  If you can think it up in your head, you can make it happen.  If you want to live in the middle of NYC and have a man like Mr. Big, do it.  If you want to live on a farm in the middle of nowhere with a sexy lumberjack bearded man, do it.  You should be able to make these things happen, no matter what.  Try, succeed, fail, LIVE!

Name: Rachel Marshall (NOT me!)
Where you are from: Marysville, MI
Where you are living currently: Macomb, MI
Occupation or whatever kind of gig you are doing: Chemical Engineer
How you know Rachel: We met on the Internet!!

My job in a nutshell...I work for Axalta Coating Systems, formerly known as Dupont Performance Coatings.  I pretty much make car paint!  I manage the formulas for paint that goes to a specific assembly plant, and I have to make sure our production facility makes it correctly and it is good quality, and I also have to make sure the assembly plant can use the paint properly and the cars have good color harmony and appearance.

What’s your favorite thing about being a girl?
That's a tough one!  I'd say that I enjoy being a girl NOW, as opposed to 20, 50, 100 years ago.  I enjoy makeup and doing my hair and dressing up for an elegant event.  I also enjoy doing things that some people still think are mostly for men: Engineering, shooting guns, obstacle course racing, building furniture, etc.  My favorite thing is being able to do anything I want :)

Have you ever felt discriminated against because you are a girl? How did you feel? What did you do about it?
In Engineering, its tough sometimes for women because you aren't always held to the same standards.  Things are slowly changing for the better, but I still feel like I need to work harder and smarter to prove myself.

What’s the biggest risk you have ever taken?
I moved out of my house and into my aunt's house to be closer to a co-op job that I had gotten a couple months before I turned 20.  After a few months there I moved into an apartment on campus with 3 other girls, and essentially had cut myself off financially from my parents (they couldn't afford an apartment for me).  The plant I was working at temporarily closed 8 months after I started working due to the economy crashing in 2008, which was very scary, but I found a couple of other jobs in the meantime to keep me afloat until I found another co-op job 9 months later.

What made you want to pursue your current career?
I've always found math and science interesting, and I wanted to use that for some type of career.  I was also in band in high school as well as involved in art classes, but I knew to make a good living I'd go into something engineering related and then keep my artistic passions as hobbies.  Chemical engineering seemed like the most interesting out of the engineering disciplines.

What are your thoughts on fear and how do you deal with it?
I have a decent amount of anxiety, so fear of the unknown can get me feeling pretty nervous and sometimes upset.  Lately I've tried to do things that "induce" anxiety, like trying new stuff (CrossFit competitions, rock climbing, etc.).  Then I show myself that I got through it just fine, with hopes of reducing anxiety the next time around.

What’s your favorite quote?
Here are a couple of quotes that I love that are very different from each other....
"No, I don't hold on to grudges. I don't have a grudge in my life. I forgive people. I just don't believe that you owe anybody in your life a relationship. It's healthy and fair to opt in or out, and it's actually more fair to do that than to hold people's feet to the fire for everything they've ever done." - Louis C.K.
Beauty without grace is the hook without the bait. 
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

What is something you do to relieve stress?
Go to CrossFit and lift some weights, go to Yoga which helps calm my body and mind, snuggle with my little old pup, and sometimes watch a movie on Netflix with a glass (or two) of wine.

How do you deal with the negative stigma attached to being single?
If I don't have someone else I'm putting time and effort into, might as well stay occupied and put that effort into yourself! 

What has been your greatest accomplishment?
Managing to be stable financially after I moved out when I was almost 20 and then graduating and getting a salaried job at 22.

What girl stereotypes do you wish would go away?
That girls aren't strong, girls can't get dirty, they cant be sarcastic and witty (they have to be pleasant and say things that aren't controversial).

All girls should never live without that perfect outfit that makes them feel like they can kick ass and take over the world (whatever that outfit may be).

"Ladies, we need to collaborate, not compete. We need to champion each other, send out high-fives across the World Wide Web, and give high-fives in person." - Sophia Bush, I AM THAT GIRL
I am giving all these girls high fives across all kinds of states through the World Wide Web. Thank you for being YOU. 

Some personal pictures I've taken with a few of these ladies!


1 comment:

  1. Rachel,
    This is so special on so many levels. First, of course, that I am the "other" Rachel's father and I actually learned several things about her I didn't know. So thanks for that! Also, as a writer, I was very impressed with your approach, motivation and execution. I know this wasn't slapped together in a week. I do most of my interviews by email and it is so vital (and difficult) to phrase your questions precisely. I forget what your area of study was, but your blogs are better than many journalists I have worked with. I find writing not only an occupation, but a hobby and most of all, a release. I can feel that is serves the same purpose for you. Don't stop ... you "kick some" yourself. I'm so glad the Rachel Nicholes are getting together again. No doubt there was a reason you two came together. Be well. Brian Marshall