The road less traveled to a scientific career

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Transcript The road less traveled to a scientific career

K. Renee Horton, PhD
Southeastern conference for Undergraduate Women
in Physics
1/12 – 1/15/2012
Today I decided to deviate from the path
that society created to herd the masses
of people who believe that normality
is to be a replicated clone of stereotypical
images of acceptable patterns of style
and manner.
I decided to travel to the drummer drumming
in my head as I walk down the path
that nobody tends and is overgrown
with oddly whimsical daises and junipers.
This is my path, this is my journey,
this is my world, welcome to all I see.
Ironically, they are the same things you
see, just from a different vantage point,
just another view.
As I travel the byways that society has
barricaded and labeled an alternate route
for self satisfaction, personal growth and
success. I travel at my own risk, I know
there may not be anyone to bail me out
if I wander too fast down this untraveled path.
As my drummer beats, I march and I know others
will soon follow, because the path is no longer
untraveled, it’s just not an acceptable path by
society to travel.
K. Renee Horton
 Started
college at 16
 Got married at 18
 Had my 1st son at 19
 Had my 2nd son at 21
 Divorced my husband after 6 yrs
 Had my daughter at 27
 Went back to college in 2000
 Graduated with Bs EE
 Attended a HBCU for 1.5 yrs
 Intern at National Renewable Energy Lab
 Moved
to Alabama with kids and my
daughters father in 2005
 Attended my first IUPAP Women in Physics
conference in 2005
 Internship @ Goddard Space Flight Center
 Second IUPAP WIP conference in 2008
 Third IUPAP WIP conference in 2011
 Started working for NASA in 2010
 Graduated in August 5, 2012
Biomass Research and Development Control Design
Magnetically Manipulated Quantum Dots (MMQD)
Investigation of Magnetic Properties of Annealed
Cobalt Nobel Metal shell Nanoparticles for GMR
Women Physicist of color achieving at the
intersection of race and gender
Synthesis and Characterization of CdSe-Co Core-Shell
Quantum Dots and Rods
Anisotropy Graded Media: Extending the
superparamagnetic limit
(1st Dissertation topic)
Dissertation: Microhardness, Strength and Strain Field
Characterization of Self Reacting Friction Stir Weld
and Plug Welds of Dissimilar Aluminum Alloys.
 Worked
at the NASA Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Al from May 2010 to Aug
 Worked on the welding process for the
external tank of the space shuttle
 The
flight that
delayed my
dissertation and
 The flight that my
techniques was
used for to
validate flight
 Watching
the very
last Space Shuttle
flight with my
daughter at
Marshall with over
200 employees
who supported the
space shuttle
Defense delayed
when one of my
best friends and
sorority sister died
from breast cancer
Graduation delayed
because of the
tornado that hit
Listed as the First
African American to
receive my PhD in
Material Science
from the University
of Alabama
Lockheed Martin 3rd place Engineering Award NASA Student Poster
Symposium 2011
Black Engineer of the Year Award Trailblazer Award 2011
3 Group Achievement NASA Awards (August 2010)
NASA Harriet G. Jenkins Predoctoral Fellowship 2008-2011
Goddard Space Flight Center Graduate Student Research Program
(GSRP) Fellowship 2004-2007
Southern Regional Educational Board (SREB) Fellowship 2005-2008
Community Based Partnership Student initiated outreach award
$2000 (2008)
National Alumni Fellow University of Alabama 2008-2009
Co-PI NSF grant PHY-0824634 for $138,180.00 2008
Argonne National Laboratory Center for Nanoscale Materials User
Nominated for the Women of Distinction Career award by the
North Alabama Girl Scout Association
Self Published my first Poetry book “Sanctum of my Soul” in May
 Unemployed
 Moved
back with my parents
 Turned 40
 Started Interviewing
 Finally landed a job with the following priorities
Job type
Ability to grow with company
 Samson
Rope Technology
The Strongest name in Rope
Lafayette, La (1 hour from my mother and
Godson and 6 hours from my dad and siblings)
R&D Engineer
Only PhD in the building
Only black engineer on staff
Twisted ropes:
3, 4, or 6-strands
Single braid
• Double braid
• Jacketed
• 8 or 12 -strands
 How
important your network is
Make sure you are in constant contact with people who
you feel can advance your career
page CV with important items on top half
of first sheet
 Make contact with a headhunter or someone
who used a head hunter if going into industry
 Build your academic contacts now as an
 Stay in contact with your network it doesn’t
have to be everyday
 Enjoy
your life along the way because there
will be things you have no control over
 Set your priorities and decide what will make
you happy
 The two body problem exists even when both
parties are not educated
 Black relationships can be difficult during the
 Choose your mates and friends with like
priorities, goals and values
 Have an outlet
 Don’t change who you are for anyone