MORE ON BARBARA OAKLEY, PhD:
A little bit more about my background. She has been married for thirty-three years to Philip Oakley. They met when they were both working together at the South Pole Station in Antarctica. They have two daughters as well as two adopted sons who are originally from Kosovo. Barbara started studying engineering much later than many engineering students, because my original intention had been to become a linguist. She enlisted in the U.S. Army right after high school and spent a year studying Russian at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. The Army eventually sent me to the University of Washington, where she received my first degree–a B.A. in Slavic Languages and Literature. Eventually, she served four years in Germany as a Signal Officer, and rose to become a Captain. After my commitment ended, she decided to leave the Army and study engineering so that she could better understand the communications equipment she had been working with.
Five years later she received a second degree: a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. In the meantime, she worked several fishing seasons as a Russian translator on Soviet trawlers up in the Bering Sea. Barbara wrote a book about that experience–Hair of the Dog: Tales from a Russian Trawler. As one of my captains used to enjoy reminding me: “You know too much, it’s time to kill you.” (It rhymes in Russian.)
Barbara also spent a season as the radio operator at the South Pole Station in Antarctica, where she met her husband, Philip. (They were married as soon as they got ‘off the ice,’ in New Zealand.) With the electrical engineering degree in hand she settled down and spent three years working as a instrumentation and controls engineer at a laser research and development firm near Seattle. She and her husband moved to the Detroit area in 1989. She worked for Ford briefly, and then began doing consulting and attending Oakland University part time while our children were small. She received a M.S. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 1995, and a Ph.D. in Systems Engineering in 1998. She was hired after her graduation to continue on as a professor at Oakland University.
Her work focuses on the complex relationship between neuroscience and social behavior. She’s published in outlets as varied as the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times. Barbara’s research has been described as “revolutionary” in the Wall Street Journal.
Barbara Oakley, PhD Online: Website | Facebook | Twitter
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- To find out more go to: BarbaraOakley.com
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