Temple Grandin, Ph.D., a Colorado State University professor of animal sciences and renowned autism advocate on the autism spectrum, is one of 10 women in 2017 to be named to the National Women’s Hall of Fame. “Oh, I was really excited. I couldn’t believe it,” Grandin shared during her sit-down interview with Next. Grandin has been a professor of animal sciences for more than 20 years, and her contributions to the livestock industry include methods of humane slaughter that are now industry standard. Her work started in the cattle industry back in the 1970s.
The organization describes the inductees’ work as having changed the course of human history. “Her autism allows her to think in pictures, and that ability has made her a visionary in her field,” according to the Hall of Fame. “Her insights into animal behavior shaped innovative approaches to livestock handling, including methods and designs for humane slaughter that have become the industry standard.” When Grandin began working with livestock, she observed the way cattle behaved specifically based on what they see — like a shadow, for example.
“Honoring Dr. Temple Grandin in this esteemed group of women not only speaks to the power of her research and advocacy, but also her impact as a role model for young women everywhere,” said Colorado State Univ. President Tony Frank. “Early in her career, her determination helped her break into what was a largely male-dominated animal production industry, and she continues to serve as an advocate for women in the sciences, for young people with autism, and for anyone unwilling to let artificial boundaries stand in the way of their personal and professional success.”
The National Women’s Hall of Fame was founded in 1969 and women named to it must be citizens of the U.S., through either birth or naturalization, and they must have made a contribution “of national or global importance and of enduring value.” Previous inductees to the Hall include Madeleine Albright, Louisa May Alcott, Maya Angelou, Susan B. Anthony, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Sylvia Earle, Ella Fitzgerald, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Georgia O’Keefe, Rosa Parks, Sally Ride, Eleanor Roosevelt and Oprah Winfrey.
Not only has Grandin acted as an innovative force within the livestock community, she displays as a symbol of hope as an advocate within the autism community. As not only a woman in the 1970s, but a woman struggling to overcome the social implications associated with her development disorder, Gradin acts as a unarguable role model for individuals with autism. Grandin openly discusses her experiences as an individual on the autism spectrum, and has most notably been associated with advocating for accepting differences for what they are, rather than for less.
Congratulations Dr. Grandin!