“Thanks @CarnegieMellon for my science scholarship honoring alum/astronaut Judith Resnik…” Dinah Winnick posted to her Twitter account on the 25th anniversary of the Challenger disaster.
The Carnegie Mellon Judith Resnik Challenger Scholarship for Women in Science is named in honor of Judith Resnik (E’70) who was an engineering major at Carnegie Mellon before becoming only the second woman in space. For Winnick (SHS’05), the scholarship was an instrumental part of her Carnegie Mellon experience – and top of mind that day.
“I’m the fifth of six kids and we had a rule in my family: you worked really hard to get a scholarship, so you could pursue whatever you wanted in college,” said Winnick.
As a freshman, Winnick came to CMU with the intention of studying biology. However, after a semester of biology, chemistry and calculus classes, Winnick was looking for a change of pace.
“Carnegie Mellon has so many paths you can take,” explained Winnick. “I thought I knew what I wanted to do after high school, but I wasn’t aware of the full range of possibilities that are out there.”
She began exploring the social sciences, taking classes in psychology and anthropology. It seemed like a great fit, there was just one catch – she couldn’t afford to continue her education at CMU without the support of her science scholarship.
“The social sciences really piqued my interest,” said Winnick, who received her M.A. in anthropology from the New School for Social Research and is now a communications manager for social sciences at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. “Fortunately, I discovered my scholarship allowed me the flexibility to switch directions and follow my passion.”
The scholarship also enabled her to get by working part-time instead of full-time. Not only was she able to take advantage of CMU’s extracurricular activities, but also make new friends – including her future husband.
Like Winnick, Eli Pousson (A’05) followed several paths while at Carnegie Mellon. He majored in industrial design, with a minor in arts and society. The couple now has a young daughter.
“I’m so grateful I had the opportunity to attend Carnegie Mellon,” said Winnick. “When I’m able, I plan to give back to undergrads, in hopes that I’ll make a Carnegie Mellon education possible for another student.”
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