Friday, October 7, 2011

Ada Lovelace Day: Natalia

I participate in Ada Lovelace Day every year by blogging about my tech heroines.  This year, I had a really hard time deciding who to honour because there are so many worthy candidates! After some thought about what stage of life I'm at and what's happening today for her, I finally settled on Natalia Villanueva-Rosales.


Natalia just defended her computer science PhD thesis earlier today at Carleton.  As far as I can tell by her Facebook status, it went well! I'm so proud of this accomplishment, not only because getting your PhD is totally awesome in itself, but because of the twists and turns in the journey she took to get there.

You see, in addition to a grad student, she's also now a mom.  Her adorable little guy is now more than a year old, but getting him into this world sure wasn't easy.  Her pregnancy was complicated, and to make sure her son could be born healthy and happy, she had to unexpectedly delay her studies for quite some time.  It was a difficult decision that not everyone understood, but she knew what was important to her; the PhD would come later.

I admire this so much.  It's hard for me to know what it took to put aside everything for your baby because I've been fortunate enough so have an easy pregnancy so far.  But if that ever changes, or if (perhaps when) I find myself struggling to keep up with motherhood after my baby is born, I'll be able to look to Natalia and know that it's possible.  I'll know that you can be a mom and get your PhD, too.

Thanks Natalia, and know we're all proud of you today!!


Unknown said...

There's no doubt in my mind that Natalia is something of an epic superhero. She worked as best as should could during a difficult pregnancy and then wanted to start working again within weeks of her having Miguel. Well, three months later she would come in for 5-6 hours in the evening to work on her thesis in addition to other job-related obligations; and that was after an entire day of taking care of Miguel and obviously with significantly less contiguous sleep than most of us get. It's an impressive accomplishment and a testament to her character that she persevered through this challenge to complete her thesis and yet still spend quality time with her child. Congratulations again Natalia!


(her PhD supervisor)

Gail Carmichael said...

So glad to see this tribute - hope Natalia sees it! :)

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