With March being Women’s History Month, several articles have come out discussing the role of women in science. The US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration conducted a study finding that women hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. Looking at accomplishments throughout The Ohio State University, the Technology Commercialization Office wanted to highlight several […]
With March being Women’s History Month, several articles have come out discussing the role of women in science. The US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration conducted a study finding that women hold less than 25% of STEM jobs. Looking at accomplishments throughout The Ohio State University, the Technology Commercialization Office wanted to highlight several women inventors to share their histories, career paths, obstacles, passions, current research, and more, to encourage other females to pursue STEM fields in their studies and their careers. Throughout the next few weeks we will feature Dr. Betty Lise Anderson from the College of Engineering; Dr. Melissa Bailey from the College of Optometry; Dr. Yasuko Rikihisa from the College of Veterinary Medicine; Dr. Susan Mallery from the College of Dentistry; and Dr. Balveen Kaur from the College of Medicine.
Dr. Betty Lise Anderson
Dr. Betty Lise Anderson is a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Ohio State. Dr. Anderson has been in her field of study for the past 38 years; however, she has known she wanted to be an engineer since she was very young. Her father was an engineer and he encouraged her in the sciences during her childhood. However, not everyone in her life was as encouraging and supportive as her father. Anderson remembers in high school,
“When I told my guidance counselor I wanted to be an engineer, he suggested I get a teaching license also, just in case. Women were not encouraged to go into science at that time.”
Her guidance counselor’s advice did not deter her and she did go into engineering, receiving her PhD in Materials Science and Electrical Engineering from the University of Vermont. She was one of the few women in her graduating class, but never saw that as an obstacle. She loved doing research and building new things so she continued on the academic career path and came to Ohio State.
While at Ohio State, Dr. Anderson has worked on improving optical switches to be used in the telecommunications market. Through her research, she designed a number of all-optical switching engines that can more accurately and efficiently transfer data from one optical fiber to another without converting to and from electrical signals, and at a lower cost. Currently, she and her team are building a prototype of this technology for possible commercialization with a company in Columbus.
Building things is one of Dr. Anderson’s most enjoyable benefits of being a researcher, but, as part of being a professor, she also loves to mentor students and encourage others to explore the field of engineering. She and her graduate students visit schools and student groups in the Columbus area to educate and foster interest in young men and women about the many possibilities within the field of engineering.
“Companies still have a hard time finding qualified women in the STEM fields,” she said. “Girls want to see people who look like them doing cool experiments and inventing things. With more role models I think young females will be more encouraged to go into the sciences.”
One of Dr. Anderson’s graduate students helping out at Camp Engineer.
Anderson continues to work with the person who inspired her most to go into engineering, her father. They are currently co-writing a book on semiconductors, a follow up to their first co-authorship – Fundamentals of Semiconductor Devices.