"I had a very warm childhood." One impediment was that we did not have a lot of money. "We struggled financially. We were different in that respect" from our surrounding Jewish community that was fairly well off. "We learned to adjust our roles and
Her parents had no specific activism. Her father worked very long hours in the family's furniture business. Her mother was a full-time mom "working very hard raising the children." "So there really wasn't time or opportunity to be involved outside the home."
"My mother was certainly the role model for compassion and caring. She was tremendously open about how she felt and about hearing how we felt. She was an unbelievable listener. She always made time for us. Friends in high school would call her to talk to her because they just knew she was a good listener, and interested in what people were doing. That was around me all the time, that warmth and caring. She taught me a lot of openness. My father did too. My father was a very funny, entertaining, irreverent man... his heart was incredibly warm and he was a wonderful, warm, open man. My parents wanted the most and the best for me, my sister, and my brother. Because of their models, I always felt that all people were equally deserving of love, regardless of anything in their lives."
"A lot of my friends' parents were physicians, but I really never had a [professional] role model. That's been one of the more frustrating parts of my career. I'm always searching for a role model. I really had to define myself over time. I wish I had more of a role model. I was the first woman in my family to go to college, and I went to MIT of all places. I was certainly encouraged by my family, but there was nothing to imitate. I've never followed a previously laid trail. These were all things I really wanted to do. They just came from inside."