Aimée Tomlinson - 2017 SPIE Women in Optics Planner
University of North Georgia, USA
Country of Birth: USA
I have always been interested in understanding the why and how of things. So, I did quite a number of experiments on toys as a child. If I had to choose an inspiration, it would be Marie Curie as I was completely fascinated by nuclear chemistry and physics when I was young.
I am a professor so I spend most of my time teaching. I serve on several national committees and provide research opportunities funded by the National Science Foundation and the Air Force for our undergraduates.
My biggest obstacle was being denied tenure (while being granted promotion) the first time I applied. I believe this was due to perception, which is something we often overlook as scientists. I changed the minds of my colleagues through both action and appearance and was then granted tenure the next year.
I wish someone had told me that you must always put your best self forward both in appearance and with the way you speak; merit alone is not enough. You do not change who you are, but sometimes you need to hold back your more audacious personality traits.
If you want to know the why or how of things like I did, you should pursue a career in STEM. At times it may be difficult to maintain tenacity, but very few goals worth pursuing are easily gained.