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CHARLESTOWN â When Janna Eaves was a senior at Chariho High School, she thought sheâd pursue acting as a career, but the encouragement of one teacher changed her life direction.
âI was in drama club, I thought I wanted to be an actress for a while â I was really into acting then. It wasnât until late in my senior year that I thought I should try engineering,â Eaves said.
âIt was Lori Kilmartin and her AP (Advanced Placement) chemistry class. She pushed the idea that I was good at it and I could pursue it as a career, and I should try and go farther with science,â she said.
Eaves, a native of Charlestown, decided to study materials engineering at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she will be a senior in the Fall.
âI wanted to make a change in the world, instead of just studying it, I wanted to do it. I wanted to be involved in making new changes, bringing new products and technology to the table,â she said.
Once immersed in the world of engineering, Eaves quickly became aware of the dearth of women in the field, and that inspired her to find a solution.
âI stumbled across this problem of women in tech â there are so few women in our engineering program. When I went to do internships at aerospace companies, there were very few women. I didnât see them around me and this problem became my passion,â she said.
For more of this story pick up a copy of The Chariho Times.