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Women in Science Project
6243 Parker House, 2nd floor
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Hanover, NH
03755-3529
Phone: (603) 646-3690
Email: WISP@Dartmouth.EDU
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Timmeko Moore ’96

An interview by Jane Viner '05, April 5, 2004

Today, as Dartmouth women in science, we are fortunate to have examples of courageous, motivated, brilliant women pioneers who paved the way in the fields of science and mathematics to look to as role models. I recently had the good fortune of corresponding with Timmeko Moore ’96. Timmeko is an amazing Dartmouth Alumna who was the first African-American woman to graduate from Dartmouth with a degree in physics. Read on to learn about Timmeko’s path through Dartmouth and beyond — how she overcame uncertainty about her specific career, stayed dedicated and motivated to her passion for technology, and is now working to realize her goal of becoming a venture capitalist. Timmeko serves as an outstanding role model and gives invaluable advice about remaining passionate, driven, and true to your goals.

Discovering Science

When Did Science First Spark Your Interest?

In High School in the 11th grade, I took college preparatory courses and did not have a particular interest in science until I took physics. It was a totally different way of looking at the world and that appealed to me.

Educational Background — The College Years

What Were Your Academic Major(s)/Minor(s) in College?

Major in Physics, Minor in AAAS. I enjoyed physics since high school and I knew that it would provide me with a broad problem solving background so I decided to do the major, although I was undecided about my career at the time. I wanted to develop strong skills that could be applied to several disciplines.

What Science-related Activities Did You Participate In, If Any?

I was also an E.E. Just Fellow, President of the National Society of Black Engineers during my senior year, participated in the New England Board of Higher Education's minorities in science conferences and was a member of the National Society of Black Physicists. The organizations were important because they provided me with early exposure to research experiences, faculty and graduate student mentors and a network of peers who provided support during my academic career.

What Made You Decide to Pursue Science As Your Career?

I was most passionate about a career in technology and wanted to leverage my technical background. I also knew that I would need to continue to develop my technical skills to realize my future goal of becoming a venture capitalist.

The Next Steps — Out Into the Real World

During College, Did You Have an Idea of What You Wanted to Do After Graduation?

A Ph.D. in physics and do industry research. I also started thinking about venture capital during my senior spring. Once I received my Masters degree in engineering physics, I decided to stop there because I did not have the analytical mind to become a theoretical physicist and I was more interested in business, technology and practical applications of science.

Did You Follow This Path? What Were Your Jobs After Graduation?

Undergraduate Research Assistant, National High Magnet Field Laboratory GEM Fellow and Intern, Corning Incorporated Research and Development Research Engineer, Motorola Inc, R&D Product Manager, Cooper Electronic Technologies Product Marketing Manger, Integrated Device Technology I remained technical but made the progression from research to engineer to technical marketer, with the end goal of becoming a high technology venture capitalist.

Today — Developing Careers

What Are You Currently Involved In?

Product Marketing Manager at a semiconductor company.

Are You Still Involved in the Sciences?

Somewhat, I do some electronic engineering to train my sales force and provide them with technical assistance.

What's the Most Rewarding Component of Your Current Work?

Learning the market place and understanding how a semiconductor enterprise runs from an operations standpoint. This is a valuable perspective that will help me coach technology startups in the future.

What Do You Find Less Fulfilling?

My work is not very challenging and my diverse skill set is being undervalued.

Where Do You Expect and Hope That This Work May Take You?

I will probably have one more position in technology, going back to work for an OEM before becoming a venture capitalist.

Finding a Balance

What Are Your Top Priorities Today? Have These Changed from When You First Graduated?

Not much has changed but I have a little bit more balance. I do a lot more community service as an outlet and means of giving back but I am still very career centered as I not established in my career.

What Else Do YOu Do Outside of Your Work?

Active in professional clubs such as the Churchill Club and Venture Capital Task Force, Active in the community, Santa Cruz Community Action Board Youth Program Director, Active in a service sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Attend church services regularly.

Helpful Resources Along the Way

Did You Have Any Mentors That Encouraged You or Any Individuals That Discouraged You?

The National Society of Black Physicists provided me with several early mentors and was a great resource but I would not have known about the organization if I had not received exposure through the E.E. Just Program and Professor George Langford. When I attended business school I was awarded the Robert Toigo Foundation Fellowship for minorities with interests in finance. This organization has provided me with mentors in venture capital.

Early in my career when I was struggling with self-doubt and I needed mentors to serve as role models. I was primarily concerned with finding mentors who were also African-American so I would have an example of success. More recently I have been focusing on getting access to venture capitalists who a part of a close-knit, homogeneous community. I have been extremely flexible and have interacted with anyone who is supportive and willing to share resources.

Tending to Your Emotional and Spiritual Well-being

Did You Ever Doubt Your Capabilities and/or Knowledge in Your Major/Career?

No, although others doubted me it just made me more determined to prove them wrong; that’s how I ended up being the first African-American woman to graduate from Dartmouth with a degree in physics.

How Do You/Did You Overcome Those Self-doubts?

Whenever I doubted myself, I honestly prayed about it to see if I was misinterpreting my talents, and if there was another career path that I was supposed to pursue. But all roads kept pointing back to physics. Once I assured myself that physics was the right thing I just surrounded myself with supportive people and became extremely aggressive seeking making sure I had access to critical resources such as internship experiences and graduate school preparation.

Advice to Share

If You Could Change Anything About Your Career Path, What Would It Be and Why?

I would have liked a more direct path into venture capital but I am convinced that all of my industry experience will pay off. I would not change a thing about my academic preparation; the combination of business and technical skills is just what I need for my ultimate career goal.

One thing to keep in mind is that when you decided on a career goal, it should incorporate all of your talents, and training. I believe that everything happens for a reason and there is value in all experiences. When I decided on a career in venture capital, I kept that in mind. Although I was technical I also had strong communication skills and a passion for business and technology. I wanted a career that would integrate all of those facets.

What Advice Do You Have for Current Students Who May Be Interested in the Sciences?

Know your motivation — I think that passion is the only thing that will sustain you in tough times (and there will be plenty e.g. all nighters, exams, etc.) Also there is much to be said for determination. I know that if I would have listened to my peers and professors who constantly doubted me, then I never would have completed my bachelors and advanced degrees in physics. As minorities in science (including women) you have to be extremely determined because we are still underrepresented and there is still a negative presence in the community that feels that we are not qualified to participate.

If you are interested in talking to Timmeko about her Dartmouth experience, or her medical school experiences, you can contact her via e-mail (Timmeko@alum.dartmouth.org). Take advantage of wonderful Dartmouth resources such as successful alumni who have been through it and are there to help!

Last Updated: 10/20/10