BRIARCLIFF, N.Y. -- Brigitte Obermeyer knew since her pre-teen years where her career path would lead. Now the Briarcliff HIgh School senior is on a direct flight toward attaining her shoot-for-the-moon goals.
Obermeyer will be honored along with Westchester Community College student Lindsay Peckham at the upcoming Women In Tech Awards Luncheon on Thursday, Oct. 1, at Tappan Hill Mansion. The luncheon is sponsored by the Westchester County Association. Obermeyer and Peckham will be honored for their achievements and passion for science, technology, engineering and math. Five professional women will also be honored at the luncheon for their achievements in technology, health tech and bio tech.
Unquestionably, Obermeyer is a worthy choice. She is a member of the National Honor Society for math, participates in the school’s chemistry and engineering clubs, is taking Advanced Placement physics and worked with elementary school students on engineering lessons.
"I like applying concepts to different situations and experimenting with mathematical formulas to see how to solve a problem. In math and science, there are new innovations every day. Solving problems for people is what moves me.”
She also is in the third and final year of the Briarcliff Science Research project. She was forced to change her focus after a college professor with whom she was working decided to leave after two years. After some disappointment about having to switch gears, Obermeyer is now working with Dr. Patricia Patrick from the Westchester Institute of Human Development and studying data on spinal fusion surgery monitoring.
“I’ve always been interested in engineering,’’ said Obermeyer, who plans to study mechanical or electrical engineering in college. “Math has always been my favorite subject. I can’t see myself doing anything with history. It’s not my forte. I like applying concepts to different situations and experimenting with mathematical formulas to see how to solve a problem. In math and science, there are new innovations every day. Solving problems for people is what moves me.”
Part of Obermeyer’s passion stems from her South African heritage. She moved to New York with her parents, Izel and Werner, in 2000. She visits the country every other summer. The trips reinstall her passion to make technological advances available for everyone.
Obermeyer’s family ties helped steer her slightly toward a passion for science and math. Her father is Deputy to the Executive Director for the, World Health Organization at United Nations. Her mother is a technology director at the Westchester Institute for Human Development. Her brother, Alexander, a junior at Briarcliff, has a passion for biology.
She is keenly aware that she is entering a world that has traditionally been dominated by men. “I’m very aware of the gender difference,’’ Brigitte said. “Last year I was the only girl in an engineering class. This year there are three girls in my physics class and 10 guys. I find guys are easy to communicate with. I don’t mind taking the road less traveled by.”
Armed with her passion for STEM fields and a bright mind, Obermeyer seems destined for a rewarding career when she is finished with her education. Her message to young girls is to be confident in their dreams.
“I think the most important thing I’ve learned is not to doubt myself,’’ she said. “Don’t let anyone tell you something isn’t for you. Gender should not block anyone from doing something they’re passionate about. You have to believe in yourself. The second you start to doubt, you’ll lose all kinds of confidence.”
Click here to purchase tickets for the Women In Tech luncheon.