University of Wisconsin-Madison Crest
Wisconsin Energy Institute

Turning point: Tracey Holloway

By: 

Virginia Gewin

Source: 

Nature

April 09, 2014

More than ten years ago, Tracey Holloway and her colleagues started what has become the 1,700-member Earth Science Women's Network. Now an air-quality and energy researcher at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Holloway is helping to turn the network into a non-profit organization.

Did you have early intentions to pursue a science career?

No. In fact, a school friend who believed that women self-select out of science made me realize that I may have been doing that. I kept an open mind and found that I liked chemistry and maths as an undergraduate more than I had as a high-school student. After my first year, I spent a summer internship at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, and realized that I could use fluid dynamics to look at hurricanes, global warming and air pollution. That put me on track for a graduate degree in atmospheric sciences at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Describe the gender dynamics during your graduate experience.

When I started, there were only ten graduate students across all years. There were a couple of women in my first year, but for a while after that I was the only woman. The faculty were all men.

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