31 Days of Revolutionary Women, #19: Temple Grandin

In honor of Women’s History Month, we present 31 Days of Revolutionary Women; a series of daily essays by local authors documenting, honoring and celebrating powerful women who inspire us in South Seattle and beyond.


by Victoria Rosales

When it comes to subconsciously picking out our role-model, we tend to choose the ones we aspire to be like the most; the ones we see ourselves in – or maybe the ones who we simply admire through television screens or their bravery.

Usually, our role models share one popular trait: determination. Whether it be walking through muddling situations, or trying for the fifteenth time until they get what they want, it’s a point in their lives that feels like an era when a block of adversity comes by.
 
On August 29, 1947, Temple Grandin, an animal expert, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and soon followed the trajectory of psychology and animal sciences that she felt bonded with her the most. Temple Grandin earned a degree in psychology from Franklin Pierce College in 1970, a master’s in animal sciences from Arizona State University and a doctoral degree in animal sciences from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Working as a consultant for animal slaughterhouse companies, she had ideas on a more quality life for the cattle. Temple Grandin wrote many books, including “Animals Make Us Human” and “Thinking in Pictures” which gained popularity.
 
Grandin was, and still is, very passionate about the education of children with autism. She has made many books about the perspective of people with autism, including her first book, “Emergence: Labeled Autistic”, and “The Autistic Brain”. Since then, she has received many awards – not just for advocacy for autistic children, but for animal rights as well. Grandin earned the “James Beard Foundation Award for Who’s Who of Food and Beverage in America”on May 2, 2016 and “Goodreads Choice Awards Best Nonfiction”, which Grandin earned on 2013.
 
Temple Grandin is a woman with admirable intelligence, but it isn’t necessarily the traits they’re born with that we look up to – it’s what they do with them.
 
Temple Grandin was raised in a time where women were nothing but the origin of fertility. Born with autism, she did not stop that from achieving her goals either – and being a woman only made that harder. In fact, she used autism to her advantage.
 
When I see a leader, I expect a few things typically anybody would consider a role model. Some would say they hit the jackpot when a leader faces the extremity of determination and bravery, or maybe a fervency for justice. When I see Temple Grandin, I see a woman who used what many would call a disorder or a curse – autism – to create something amazing.
 

Temple Grandin has the gift of impressive animal communications and a mind that created an objective scoring system to handle farm animals. Despite working in a male-dominated animal production industry, she was able to achieve things that most women couldn’t in an age of male chauvinism.


  Victoria head shot
 Victoria Rosales is fourteen years old and attends Kent Meridian High School. “I am passionate about many things, including: writing, drawing, and astronomy. I find that writing is an easier form of communication, and when I write, it empties the bottle inside me that has been overfilling. This is the same circumstance with drawing. And astronomy has been something that I have been interested in for many years. Right now, I have the opportunity to be a part of the Youth Curator Program at NAAM museum.” 

featured image, by Steve Jurvetson from Menlo Park, USA (Rain Man’s Rainbow) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
 

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