"I am a mathematician. Mathematicians do exotic research so it's
hard to describe exactly what I do in lay terms.[...]
I am aware of the fact that I am a role model for young women in mathematics, and that's partly what I'm here for. It's hard to be a role model, however, because what you really need to do is show students how imperfect people can be and still succeed. Everyone knows that if people are smart, funny, pretty, or well-dressed they will succeed. But it's also possible to succeed with all of your imperfections. It took me a long time to realize this in my own life. In this respect, being a role model is a very unglamorous position to be in, showing people all your bad sides. I may be a wonderful mathematician and famous because of it, but I'm also very human."
(Karen Uhlenbeck, in S. Ambrose et al. "Journeys of Women in Science and Engineering, No Universal Constants", Temple University Press.)
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