When I was five years old, I decided to find out whose voice was coming from inside my transistor radio. I carefully took apart all 12 pieces of the small red box, only to discover that I had silenced the nice men and women who lived there. I began to cry and ran to tell my mother the terrible deed I had committed. After a tender hug, a good laugh, and more than a few Oreos, I learned my first scientific lesson: always find out who (or what) is inside the box before you dismantle it.
I proceeded to spend most of my childhood reminding myself of that lesson. From that first ill-fated attempt with the radio to my more recent efforts to fix my own transmission, I've gained a reputation as the "girl who runs with mechanics". Not exactly what my parents had in mind when they decorated my childhood bedroom with pink balllerinas and tea sets.
I 've always been an inquisitive child, especially where science and machinery are concerned. When I was in the second grade, my teacher Mrs. Tims cautiously warned my dad that I was smart, but a handful. I asked questions she couldn't answer and usually completed the science projects before she could finish giving the instructions. My parents were intrigued. They thought I only dismantled appliances at home.
Over the years, my entire family, including my athletic brother Ben, have grown to accept and nurture my constant desire to tinker. When I was 10 years old, my parents scraped together the money to buy the entire set of Encylopedia Brittanica. I was awestruck my the world it opened up to me. Within two weeks, I learned how to fix our outdated four-slice toaster. During the summer, I helped my dad and Ben rebuild...