Why is it mothers are so hard to please?
I have been sending out feelers in the professional communities with which my project could be identified, to see if my research idea is of any interest to people in the field, and have met great results. Everyone I have spoken to has been excited and supportive. One professor in the medical field, for example, has offered to sponsor me for an upcoming conference (more on that in another post). Several professors in human-computer interaction (HCI) and women's issues have been helpful as well. One professor in my department, who is not on my committee, offered to have me over at her house, with my infant, for brainstorming if I like.
Yesterday, my mother and I had the following exchange.
I had just finished telling my mother about the fantastic feedback I have been getting, and how excited people in four different fields are about my research.
"I have these same thoughts about your research as I do about some of my friends' hobbies: I think, 'Who on earth would care?'"
"What if I were working on verifiability of system-on-a-chip designs? Would you have the same attitude about my work then?"
"Well, no! That would be real work."
And so, my complex work (that is, not real -- get it? math joke!) continues. I can only hope my work makes enough of an impact on the world, and on women, that the ones I love notice and appreciate the work.
After all, sometimes, pleasing our parents is the greatest honor of all.