Elizabeth Blackwell

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I was wearing my best pastel multicolor weave suit as I walked up the stairs of a drab gray Victorian mansion converted into a medical office on the outskirts of large mid-western city. It was a bit cool, early spring, and I had been through all of the other principal personalities in a fairly large and well respected neurosurgery department.  The emeritus chief of the department — older, semi-retired, wrote hunks of textbooks about 20 years before; was the last one I had to see.  Although nobody seemed wildly excited, I had “passed” the interviews to make it this far.

The Victorian mansion was the office building of the neurosurgical group that was the residency faculty.  I was ushered into a richly furnished Victorian style office with antimacassars and gigantic velvet wing-backed chairs.

The father-to-us-all type neurosurgeon spent over five minutes asking me about France and my passion for the brain before asking me if my period gave me any problems. Read more on Women In Science Sore And Soar…

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Probably, a lot of people would claim that they were my mentor if I was famous enough to be worth claiming.  I had some great teachers, especially early on, and I had a bunch of wackos, too.

MentorMy-Father-Of-Blessed-Memory had to take up the slack when my first Hebrew teacher in a Yeshiva — now defunct — was a highly insecure (and probably gay) man who even got chalk all over himself.  As a teacher, he was neither condemning nor very helpful, knowing no way to teach except repetition, both oral and written.

One of the reasons that I had no real mentoring when quite young was that I really did not know exactly what I wanted to do with my curious life, aside from “something in the arts and sciences” which covered pretty much anything I liked, or didn’t. Read more on The Fortunate Few Have Mentors…

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