Grandin says, “When the opportunity arises, you got to go for it. |
Temple Grandin, a world-renowned professor of animal sciences at Colorado State University for the last 26 years and outspoken advocate and role model for people with autism, will be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in September. Grandin barged through many barriers in the science world both as a woman and as somebody diagnosed with autism. She is a pioneer in the field of animal welfare, the author of several books and articles, and was portrayed by Claire Danes in the 2010 HBO film, “Temple Grandin.”
On her way to speak to graduate students in Edinburgh, Scotland, Grandin, 69, discussed her work, where she believes the future of education is in “quirky” people like herself.
Q: What was your reaction when you found out you were going to be inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame?
A: I was really excited about that. I found out a couple months ago but they said I couldn’t tell anybody about it until it was official. I didn’t tell anybody but now I’m telling everybody.
Q: What does being in the hall of fame mean to you?
A: I was one of first girls working with cattle and you had to be good at what you did. I was just determined that I could do it and make myself good at what I did. When I started, the only women working in feedyards were the secretaries. I got a reputation for writing good, accurate articles for the farmer’s ranch magazine. I covered cattle meetings, but then I got the opportunity to design something and I wanted to make myself the best at it.
Q: Many consider you an inspiration, especially for women and those who are on the autism spectrum. What do you hope those people take away?
A: You’ve got to work hard I found, especially when I started. Like I said, I had to be twice as good as a man. I’ve been at a site where a man could totally screw up the construction and still have a job. I’m talking a million dollar project. You just had to make yourself really good. I saw that movie, “Hidden Figures,” and they were discriminated against, and it was horrible but they were going to prove they could do it and they were the ones who were going to calculate John Glenn into space. One of things I want to point out is I never went to any protests or marches or participated in that kind of stuff.
Sometimes you have to just go through a door when there’s a door. There was a scabies outbreak in the cattle in Arizona and the way you treated them was by putting the cattle through dipping vat. I was offered to design the vat and I said,”Yes, I will do it.” It took me three weeks just to get the drawings together for it and I had a total of five of those projects. When opportunity arises, you gotta go for it. The thing is, you never know where a door is going to be.