I have always surrounded myself with strong women. My mother was a Rosie the Riveter during World War II. My wife, Robbie, earned a doctorate in biology, had a 20-year career in flood control and water resource management and taught related courses at Central Washington University before we moved to Bloomsburg. Our daughter, Laura, determinedly pursued a modeling career rather than follow in her parents’ footsteps in academia, and her daughters — our four granddaughters — already show the strength of will inherent in the Soltz women.
My professional life followed a similar pattern at Cal State Los Angeles, where I was a dean reporting to Provost Margaret Hartman and at Central Washington, where I worked for President Jerilyn McIntyre. Here at Bloomsburg, I gain valuable insight from women in leadership positions. Admittedly, mine has been far from a traditional path for a man of my generation.
My life experience is just one reason I am proud to introduce you to the strong women in this issue of Bloomsburg: The University Magazine. A young woman who defied a disability to graduate in the top 10 percent of her class. A 1994 graduate and member of Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education’s Board of Governors whose involvement in politics and nonprofits prepared her for unexpected challenges. And a group of alumnae research scientists who are thriving in what many still see as a man’s career.
Careers in scientific research would have been hard to imagine for most of the young women who attended our forerunner, Bloomsburg Literary Institute, established 175 years ago. But today, with our enrollment at nearly 60 percent female, the sky’s the limit for all of our students — male and female — thanks to dedicated faculty, extracurricular activities and career-building opportunities, such as job shadowing and internships offered through Professional U.
Melinda Hill Einsla ’02, a researcher at Dow Chemical, could have been speaking for young women in every field when she said, “The gender barriers that existed for our mothers and grandmothers are really starting to disappear.” At Bloomsburg, we are doing our part to ensure all of our students are on the path to rewarding career opportunities.