I am a dyslexic female aerospace engineer who is climbing the Seven Summits (after a near death snowboarding accident, severely breaking my femur and destined to have a cane the rest of my life). I will be the FIRST ROCKET SCIENTIST (male or female) to reach all 7 summits!
It was not an easy journey, but I am honored to inspire others through my stories and lessons of GGRITT
GRATITUDE - GROWTH - RESILIENCE - INTEGRITY - TENACITY - TRUST
I started reading at age 3 and programming a computer at 5, but in 2nd grade I had issues spelling and reading. My teacher berated me in front of the class, calling me "retarded", "stupid" and an "idiot". Eventually, I just flat out refused to read or spell. I was blessed to have parents that recognized I was very intelligent and something was not right. I was tested and we discovered my dyslexia. I decided in 6th grade I wanted to be an Aerospace Engineer. I was home sick and saw the Challenger explode (33 yrs ago today actually). I was devastated. My asked my dad that night how I could stop that from happening again. My father, a brilliant Rhode scholar at MIT, explained what aerospace engineering was and I never looked back. But, I am dyslexic, so I worked harder than anyone to reach my goal. I have a BS in Aerospace Engineering and an ME in Engineering Management.
Dyslexia is just one of my stories to share.
FEMALE IN AEROSPACE ENGINEERING -
info to come
BROKEN FEMUR -
7 years ago, I was in a life threatening snowboard accident, braking the head off my left femur, spiral fracturing the shaft, and ripping the muscles off the bone. I woke to a 14” TI rod pinned into my hip and running down the center of my leg. I was lucky to be alive, but told I would never run, hike, climb, snowboard again. I would have a cane the rest of my life. I am no stranger to obstacles and this was no different. After 2 years of pain, intensive physical therapy, Titanium allergy (yep ,turns out I am allergic to titanium), surgeries, and sacrifice: I hiked to Everest Base Camp.
I did not stop there. I resolved to climb the Seven Summits.
1. Kilimanjaro (Africa – 19,300 ft)
2. Aconcagua (South America – 22, 838 ft)
3. Elbrus (Europe – 18,510 ft)
4. Denali (North America – 20,322 ft) - June 2019
5. Everest (Asia – 29,029 st) - May 2020
6. Mt. Vinson (Antarctica – 16,060 ft) - TBD
7. Carstensz Pyramid (Australia/Indonesia - 16,024 ft)- TBD
Depending on the audenience, I share my journey through:
- The loss of my best friend and father, Hal N Buchanan
- The discovery I cannot have biological children
- The changes and extreme challegnes of early onset Menopause
I realized the secret to overcoming challenges and extreme conditions is grit; courage and resolve, strength of character. I speak to groups about embracing my 6 components of GGRITT; learn to truly believe in themselves and create a mindset to overcome any obstacle. This includes falling in order to grow.
Life does NOT get easier, but YOU can get better at dealing with it.