Putting a Woman’s Touch on Nuclear Energy

blogpic_ashleywMarch was established as Women’s History Month in 1987 as a way to recognize the contributions women have made to improve the lives of people across the world. With that in mind, I’d like to put the spotlight on Yvonne Ferris, a friend and resident at Querencia at Barton Creek. She is a perfect example of a strong woman who opened doors for young girls during her professional career, and continues to be an active participant in her community today.


Yvonne Ferris, 2014′s LeadingAge Texas Outstanding Resident.

Ferris’ first job out of college was with the Dow Chemical Company as a statistician in their nuclear development department. She helped develop the processes and systems used to derive benefits from nuclear energy and radiation, and would spend the next 20 years with the company, working her way up to a supervisory role in the statistical department.

When Ferris left DOW Chemicals she moved to Washington D.C., where she became a consultant with the Department of Energy. Ferris went on to work closely with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, among other organizations.

Ferris continues to lead an active lifestyle as a step-mother to four, a grandmother to ten and a great-grandmother to eight. She exercises regularly and enjoys traveling the world with her husband John Curts, who is an avid photographer. In fact, the two often present a travelogue, sharing their travels around the world with their fellow Querencia residents.

She has called Querencia home for the past seven years. During this time she has lead or been a member of a number of different committees and projects, including chairperson of the Resident Council and member of the wellness committee, welcoming committee and plant operations committee.

Mrs. Ferris is currently a Masterpiece Living Ambassador, a program that utilizes residents to promote the community culture of successful aging. She is also a founding and current member of the Querencia Foundation, which is dedicated to understanding the needs of the greater Austin community as well as the Querencia community and providing assistance through grants, scholarships, donations, and other fundraising efforts.

Mrs. Ferris serves as inspiration to all women by proving you don’t have to live your life by certain gender stereotypes. She chose a career that was and continues to be very male dominated and was extremely successful.

At 80-years-old, she’s defying the stereotypes that come with age by continuing to live an active and healthy lifestyle, and was recently elected 2014 Outstanding Resident of the Year.  As Maya Angelou once said, “How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”

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