The difference a dad can make
From there, he went on to get a masters degree in mechanical engineering from Stanford and a job at an aerospace company that worked with NASA on the Apollo missions. I can still remember how it felt to see a rocket shoot into the sky, knowing he'd helped make it happen. Even though I didn’t know a lot of women who worked outside the home, I always knew that I wanted to have an exciting career like my dad’s.
Then, when I was 16, Dad brought home this computer and encouraged me to learn to code. I'm pretty sure my sister and I were supposed to share it, but it somehow ended up in my bedroom, where I spent hours playing games and learning the BASIC programming language.
Dad was also the first person I ever heard talk about the importance of diversity in STEM. He made a point of hiring women when he could because he believed the best teams he’d worked on were the ones with women mathematicians on them. That stuck with me.
Because of my dad, I was able to learn about the work of a computer scientist and actually see myself doing it. And that made all the difference.
One last photo. This is from one of my book tour events earlier this year. That's my dad, there in the middle, flanked by my mom and my daughter, Jenn. How incredible to look out into that sea of faces and see them front and center.
The title of my book, The Moment of Lift, was inspired by memories of watching rocket launches together as a family, all of us so proud of the role my dad played in them. I’ve always thought there’s something so special about that moment when the forces pushing us up overcome the forces pulling us down. And I realize now how lucky I am to have a dad who’s always been one of those forces pushing me higher.
Dad, today and every day, I have so much to thank you for. Happy Father's Day. I love you.