S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader: A Modern Mentor
Cheryl B. Schrader believes in the power of storytelling. And not just because she loves a good tale. Over the past 10 years, Schrader, an electrical engineer specializing in systems and control, has become more interested in the different learning styles of students. Her research in this area has focused on how women and minorities learn, and she has found that a good story can help these students become more confident in their own abilities. That greater self-confidence in turn could motivate more of them to graduate and move on to successful lives beyond college.
These days, Schrader is especially interested in sharing the untold stories of women and minorities who have become successful in the so-called STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
“Everybody knows the story of Alexander Graham Bell and the invention of the telephone,” Schrader says. But similar stories about women inventors are less familiar. “In some academic circles, the impact of women in technological development is becoming clearer,” she says. Beyond the walls of academia, however, “those stories aren’t well-known. They’re not woven into the fabric of our culture.”
Schrader hopes to “bring the contributions of women in engineering and science to light, and to have those contributions become a part of the common knowledge of history.” Ultimately, she would like to create an inspiring first-person monologue theatrical performance that could be presented at colleges and universities across the country.
Schrader’s own story, from her days as an undergraduate student, might fit well into that monologue.