Open Thread: Women’s History 365

March 31, 2009

For the past several weeks we have shared stories of women who have and are still breaking through barriers in their chosen professions. As Women’s History Month comes to a close, it occurs to me that, although we have featured women we admire and recognize from engineers, to educators, to scientists, there are still thousands, maybe even millions, of women who are breaking through their own barriers every day to improve opportunities for other women and girls. Let’s continue to celebrate the achievements of women — famous and not — every day of the year. So what’s your story?

This post is (hopefully not) the final part of a special Women’s History Month series.

Claudia Richards By:   |   March 31, 2009


  1. Avatar clarkp says:

    Check out women breaking through the Twitterverse every Wednesday at #womentofollow.

  2. Avatar Cathy L. Shaffer says:

    I have a long history that has led to the success of accomplishing my PhD.

    I hope you will enjoy reading about some portions of my life. And, I hope my words will inspire another to achieve great heights; they may have doubted of themselves; at one point in their life.

    I remember my father and mother rearing me and my three other sibling in a two-room home. There was an outdoors toilet (outdoors from our kitchen area) that we had to use. I, also, remember the water rising extremely high at our back door. So, perhaps, we lived on what was once a swamp area. Although, we did live in the city. I was born in Dyersburg, Tennessee in November of 1957. Even though, paradoxically, I am, still, young in age.

    To say the least, times have not only been challenging/difficult for African-Americans in our country. Every minority group that has entered the borders of our country has been “tried by the fire.”

    Needless, to say, my mother and father did the best for me (and my siblings) they were able to afford. My parents had not a high school education. But, they made sure we had a better chance than they were afforded. I am, eternally, grateful; for the love and shelter my parents provided for me.

    Even with the separation of my parents, my mother made sure I attended school (everyday). I found learning fun and rewarding. As a matter of fact, some of my teachers were my best friends. I saw the benefit of learning from them. So, I excelled in learning; graduating with Honors my sophomore, junior, and senior year of high school; Miss Personality, and as a Debutante. Fortunately, I received a scholarship to attend college.

    Even going through an abusive relationship with my children’s fathers, I managed to graduate from the University of Illinois at Chicago with Honors; I graduated cum laude. I went on to complete graduate school with Honors; cum laude. Now, I am completing my PhD in education with a Magna Cum Laude standing.

    I am honored to have overcome many challenges in my journey to attain my PhD. I have adopted the mantra, “There are no obstacles in my life; only opportunities to grow.” Also, “The only limitations in our lives, are those which are self-imposed.” I refuse to impose any limitations upon myself. However, I know that it is by the grace of the Universe that I am who I am today.

    Again, I cannot be more grateful for the paths of this life that I have been afforded.


    Cathy L. Shaffer, B.A., M.A.
    Doctoral Learner
    Capella University
    School of Education
    Professional Studies in Education

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