In 1969, as we successfully landed the first men on the moon, Cynthia Peterson was a woman making historic strides of her own on earth. It was the year she joined the UConn faculty as its first female professor in the physics department. After teaching more than 9,000 UConn undergraduates, she’s now celebrating her 45th year at the University.

For her first 35 years at UConn, Peterson was the only woman on the physics faculty, and she remained the only female physics professor with tenure for an additional five years. In that time, compliments of her “stick-to-it-iveness”, she was successful in pursuing the installation of a new off-campus observatory.

UConn Today reports that Cynthia, “is grateful to the late Professor Paul Klemens, former physics department head, who not only hired her but continued to mentor her during her early years.”

In January 2014, a woman was appointed to lead the physics department, laser physicist Nora Berrah. What does Cynthia think about that? She said, “It’s about time.”

The question is often asked, “Where are the female role models in STEM?” Well here’s a shining example and she is most certainly a Woman You Should Know.

Lead photo credit: Sean Flynn/UConn Photo