This month at Jersey Cares we are celebrating Women’s History Month by inviting some of our friends to share their thoughts and experiences on the women who have inspired them. Today we feature a piece by Samantha Castagna, Jersey Cares Corporate Service Manager.
For Women’s History Month, a handful of women who have inspired me popped into my head, including Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie, and Henrietta Lacks. But the more I thought about them and the deeper I dug into the reasons they inspired me, I realized that my true inspiration is my mom.
Yes, it is a cliché and a stereotype, but she has been my constant – providing me with my roots (my foundation as a person) and wings (the curiosity and motivation to move forward), that without, I would not have even learned of these women who helped make great strides in science.
I won’t get into details of her childhood in poverty, or how she went a night or two without eating to provide for me as a child. But I will tell you that she read to me constantly and never denied me a book because she felt education was so important. She sacrificed time and money for my love of music and (marching) band, curiosity about the world, and the pursuit of higher education. She pushed me to follow my aspirations – even when I wanted to make the “big money” and work in pharmaceuticals only to change my mind completely and become an AmeriCorps member. I will tell you that whatever moments she has been met with an obstacle, stumbled, or second guessed herself, she has rose to the occasion with humility, grace, and civility. And in spite of the financial, physical, and emotional toll of raising a child, she has not faltered in her own pursuit of a rewarding and prosperous life.
When it really comes down to it, no matter what else I aspire to do, my real goal is to embody those qualities within my mother that has made her such an inspiration to me. As underappreciated women of science, I’m sure Rosalind Franklin, Marie Curie, and Henrietta Lacks (and her family) could get behind that.