I don’t know where to start.

On Monday, one of the fiercest champions of women in science died of breast cancer. I knew Susan more with her work on women in science. Rather, I connected with her around our shared work rather than our shared motherhood. I remember introducing her to my best friend at Blogher 2009, “This is Susan, she’s a rocket scientist. Really!” I’ve rarely ever been so proud of a friend as a colleague and a person.

We shared a student a few years ago. One of the women in my program spent her internship under Susan’s wing. Once I realized this, Susan and I exchanged a flurry of emails about how amazing this young woman is. That student was lucky to have had time to share with Susan. All the students, women and men, who interned with Susan were lucky.

When I say Susan was fierce, let me offer this as an example:

I tried to be nice.

I tried to be quiet.

I tried to keep this site a supportive, welcoming place where e-mentoring could be had for the price of a click.

But really.  REALLY?  When the long-awaited first images of Stardust’s encounter of Tempel 1 were released today, THIS is the headline NASA chose?

NASA Releases Images Of Man-Made Crater On Comet

MAN-Made?  What about the names LucyJessica, and Karen confused you?  Were none of the hundreds of scientists and engineers who worked on Deep Impact women?


You know better than this.

You know that language matters, and that women matter to the future of the space agency.

Or, at least, you did.

What happened?

Yup, even as sick as Susan was, she didn’t hesitate to rip NASA for their biased language. That’s why I loved her so.

I’m going to miss my partner in crime.

But when I think of Susan’s fight against breast cancer, she did not just fight for herself, she fought for all of us. She would rant about the lack of funding and research. It wasn’t until the 1990s that women were even expected to be included in breast cancer research (in fact, in any medical trial). There’s a lot of catching up to do and we’re going to need all hands on deck. Men and women.

In Susan’s husband’s post telling us of her passing, he said, “In lieu of flowers, please consider furthering Susan’s legacy through a contribution to the Inflammatory Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Or please choose to make a difference somewhere, anywhere, to anyone.

So there we have it. Our marching orders. Come on everyone, our Warrior Princess has spoken.