Five questions for Wright State University’s new president.
A native of Illinois where her father was a small-town minister, Schrader earned a bachelor’s degree in electric engineering from Valparaiso University and her master’s and doctorate in electrical engineering from the University of Notre Dame before working at Boise State University and the University of Texas at San Antonio.
What are your thoughts about being the first woman to lead Wright State?
When I joined Missouri S&T in 2012 I was the first woman to lead the institution in its nearly 150-year history. The way I see it Wright State is ahead of the game. Really, I’m very much looking forward to working with the board of trustees, faculty staff and the students to move Wright State forward.
There aren’t a lot of women in electrical engineering either. What led you to that field?
I grew up in an era where the only two career opportunities open to me as a woman were nursing and teaching. So I thought I was going to push the boundaries in nursing or teaching and I declared I was going to be a math teacher. But my father encouraged me to think more broadly. He suggested I study engineering. He was the kind of person who encouraged my siblings and me to follow our passions and dreams. He didn’t let convention get in the way.
What made Wright State attractive to you?
Wright State has been building up potential over the last decade. I see it poised to move to the next level as a premier research university. I look forward to being part of an exciting future for Wright State as it shapes what it will look like over its next 50 years.
What will be your priorities as president?
My top priority is bringing people together to chart a course over the next few years. People are ready and eager to engage in those conversations. As you might know, it has been a few tumultuous years at Wright State so in the first year my priorities are assuring financial stability, administrative transparency and expanding campus conversation. I want to spend more time with the people of Wright State to understand what their abilities are, what their dreams are, what their passions are and have the opportunity to set a path for the future.
What’s something about yourself that the Wright State community might be surprised to know?
A couple years ago I was actually invited by the Navy to a floating aircraft carrier to talk about STEM needs and bringing more women and under-represented minorities into those areas. We flew out to the carrier and made an arrested landing using the tail hook and were catapulted off the next day. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. It demonstrates I’ll go to almost any lengths to talk about bringing more opportunity to more people.
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