Physics courses—and the lack of physics courses—had a huge impact on my academic career. I attended a high school that transitioned from coed to all girls during my freshman year. With the change, four things disappeared: boys, football, calculus, and physics. Three years later, when I applied to universities, two of my four applications were rejected. I was not qualified to apply, because I had not completed a physics course. As I sat in college Physics 1 on the first day of class, the professor asked us to raise our hands if we had not studied physics in high school. I raised my hand. Suddenly, panic struck me as I realized that not one of the other 400+ mostly male students had raised a hand. In that class I learned that physics teaching means direct lecture, notetaking, and occasional entertaining demonstrations. Not a good fit for a social woman from a very poor family in the East Los Angeles area. Working half time precluded joining study groups, so my struggle to learn physics was difficult and lonely. I succeeded primarily by sheer stubbornness and fear of failure. How I wish I had had fellow travelers on my path.

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