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CHARLESTOWN â€” When Janna Eaves was a senior at Chariho High School, she thought sheâ€™d pursue acting as a career, but the encouragement of one teacher changed her life direction.
â€śI was in drama club, I thought I wanted to be an actress for a while â€“ I was really into acting then. It wasnâ€™t until late in my senior year that I thought I should try engineering,â€ť Eaves said.
â€śIt 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€ť 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.
â€śI 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€ť 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.
â€śI 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 didnâ€™t see them around me and this problem became my passion,â€ť she said.
For more of this story pick up a copy of The Chariho Times.