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Joan E. Higginbotham

Let me introduce you to my marvelous family. Mom, a registered nurse and educator, and Dad, a dental technician, always expected the best from me and my siblings (William, Cedric, and Angie). We in turn expected the best from ourselves. William is an orthopedic surgeon, Cedric was a forensics specialist (we lost him in a motorcycle accident at age 25), and Angie is a Speech Language Pathologist. Not too shabby, although Mom was hoping for a concert pianist. It was with the love and support of my family that I am who I am.  Just a side note. My father passed away in 2001 and was not able to physically join the family for launch. But I have no doubt he had one heck of a view! My younger years were pretty normal by all accounts. I loved school, my favorite subjects being math and science, being smart, playing with wires, and hanging out with my friends. It was through Inroads, a pre-engineering program, that I learned what engineers do (not conduct trains) and decided that was the path for me.  As I matured, I developed a diverse set of interests. I was a competitive body builder for several years, placing in every show. My best showing was a 2nd place finish in a Gold’s Gym Bodybuilding show in Hawaii. Don’t be too impressed, there were only two of us in the category. I played the piano and love all genres of music. My music collection ranges from Barry Manilow to Earth, Wind, and Fire, to Joe Sample. Don’t judge me! I also enjoy motivational speaking; always looking to inspire the next generation of STEM-inists.  The love bug bit me late in life and I married the Honorable James E. Mitchell, Jr. in 2012. Opposites do attract, so he is the furthest thing from an engineer. Together, we plan to live happily ever after.

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