Originally from Baltimore, I have lived in upstate New York for most of my adult life (except for brief stints in Denver, Las Vegas, and Rijeka, Croatia). I enjoy spending time with my family—including teenage and tweenage daughters—and friends, travelling, and running.
University of Rochester
My research and writings focus on the history of women, gender, and the medical, scientific, and technological professions in the United States, reflecting my professional and political concerns about the state of American health care, women’s health, and women in technology and science today. I am also a specialist in the methodology of oral history. I believe that history matters—that learning about the past helps us to understand current challenges and to make more informed decisions about the future.
My book, Nurse-Midwifery: The Birth of a New American Profession (Ohio State University Press), which was named an Outstanding Academic Title by Choice, examined the emergence of American nurse-midwifery, an occupation that developed in the 1920s and involved nurses who took advanced training in midwifery. I argue that nurse-midwives challenged what scholars have called the “male medical model” of childbirth, but the cost of the compromises they made to survive was that nurse-midwifery did not become the kind of independent, autonomous profession it might have been.
My current research, inspired by my teaching at a technological university and funded by the National Science Foundation, investigates the careers and lives of a varied group of American women engineers who graduated from college in the 1970s, a time when a small but growing cohort of women entered the profession. My research will explain why these pioneering women engineers have made the choices they have and how their choices have been constrained structurally and culturally. My hope is that this research will contribute to our understanding of how individual women might negotiate the constraints and how institutions might work to eliminate them. My book on this subject is tentatively titled Breaking Ground: American Women Engineers from the Baby Boom Generation.