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aiming low

Angeline Kantola kantola at carson.u.washington.edu
Fri Nov 5 19:24:48 EST 1993

Tonya Frederic wrote:

>  Although some of us haven't run into any overt sex discrimination, I think
>  there is still plenty of subtle discrimination out there which explains,
>  for instance, why so many women (like myself) have a lack of confidence in
>  their abilities and tend to aim low (relative to most men

This same thought crossed my mind as I read the earlier posting about 
boys generally rating themselves better in science than girls rate 
themselves. A particularly thought-provoking experience I had a few 
months before I began my doctoral program (I'm in my 2nd year now) is as 

I met one of my fellow entering graduate students when he was in town 
briefly to find a place to live. During our conversation about 
neighborhoods and rents, we talked a bit about where each of us were 
coming from academically--sparring a bit, in a gentle way, if you know 
what I mean.  My undergraduate institution had a far bigger name than 
his, my GREs clearly topped his by a wide margin, I'd engaged in 
independent research and had a paper published whereas he had not. Still, 
this guy was full of self-confidence to the point of aggrandizement--and 
here I was, *amazed* that I'd been admitted to school at all!!! To top it 
off, when I asked him what he was thinking about doing after he got out, 
he said he wanted to get rich by starting his own biotech firm--but, he 
said "I'd take a faculty position if they offered me one." ?!?!

Suffice it to say that I've learned from this experience, and have got to 
be a great deal more confident in my own ability. And it makes me a lot 
more likely to offer what I hope are self-confidence-provoking comments 
to the young women in the undergraduate biochemistry class I TA. 

Angie Kantola

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