The Oakwood Alumni Association has the honor of celebrating Oakwood's outstanding alumni community and connecting the proud tradition of Oakwood Schools from past to present. As we welcome back our graduates to reconnect with us at reunions, we congratulate the students who are looking forward to new journeys.
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Every week, the Oakwood Alumni Association will feature an alumni who is keeping the spirit of our schools alive. Learn more about our outstanding alumni!
As a Professor of Materials Science and Engineering as well as Chemical and Biological Engineering, what experiences in your youth led you to this field of study and career?
Of course the foundation years from which ones career arc starts include a huge number of formative experiences. By all means my parents, Bette and Howard Carr, were the most important. All the activities they encouraged, church, sports, Dayton Boys Choir, and a love for the outdoors, come to mind right away. Being a student working through the public schools, Smith and then OHS, provided learning and high performance standards that served me well. Not only do I say that in regard to academic subjects (chemistry and physics were great; Greek mythology and poetry -- not so great), but also I learned to write well. And somehow, through it all, I acquired some sense of my own self.
Beyond these factors was the context of Dayton at the mid-point of the 20th century. So many companies had become successful because they were based on advanced technologies. It was a part of the fabric of Oakwood to have had casual encounters with Orville Wright (trick or treating in 1946 and ’47) and Charles Kettering (pushing a grocery cart around Dorothy Lane Market). Seeing airplanes fly overhead that preceded the roar of their engines by quite a distance was simply awe-inspiring. On civilian visitation days at Wright Field my Aunt Louise Linard would take us through public and not-so-public areas, allowing me an insider’s view of all the new things the Air Force was developing. I was totally captivated. Interestingly, the labs that she really pushed to visit were the ones dealing with materials. Little did I know then that I would ultimately have a 60-year career in materials science and engineering.
What I have done with my career stems from all that was just outlined. Starting in 1970 as a faculty member at Northwestern, my first 25 years were dedicated to research that advanced our understanding of polymeric materials and to teaching subjects that were embraced by this area. This was followed by my becoming the undergraduate dean, which afforded me a platform for promoting the true value of engineering. Engineering is a way of thinking: creating new things to improve peoples’ lives. In short order (on the time scale of academics, anyway) we made major changes to the curriculum and its accompanying pedagogy, and by many measures this educational conversion was successful, much to the benefit of a research-intensive university like Northwestern.
Amy Borgert Martin (OHS '98)
Alumni Assoc. Director
Oakwood Alumni Association
20 Rubicon Road
Oakwood, OH 45409
ALUMNI ADVISORY BOARD
Rene' Arnold Anderson, '71
Cate DaPrato Berger, '00
Jane Brennan, '57
Ruth Carey Deddens,'64
Mike Ditmer, '71
Pattie Bieser Edmonson, '58
Rachel Villarreal Keyes, '95
David Williams, '80
Michael Whalen, '04
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