Where I Came From: Rosemary Evans-Marcrum

Editor’s note: Where I Came From is a new feature column highlighting specific small town success stories. For some, growing up in a smaller community helped shape them who they are. For others, it was the catalyst that helped them seek bigger and better things. This column will function as a space to tell those stories and the impact of those origin stories.

Rosemary Evans-Marcrum is at the forefront of the future as a professional engineer.

“I get to work with some of the most extraordinary people and projects that I have never done before,” she said. “I get to learn and touch new advanced technology right at my fingertips.”

She works for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in a high clearance position with artificial intelligence and specifically . She said while she cannot say specifics, much of what the world as everyone knows it now will be completely different.

“It’s going to change a lot of how things are done around the world,” she said. “The world in 2030 will never be the same!”

When it comes to her introduction to school, Evans-Marcum credits her desire to learn from her parents. She said she learned a lot from her mother, who worked as a school teacher in the 1950s. She studied at home and learned about math, reading, writing and social studies.

Growing up in Southern Illinois in the 70s, Evans-Marcrum But when she first went to Sandoval Grade School, she was placed in a special education class. When her parents found out that they placed her there without testing, they called to immediately correct the situation.

“They removed me and put me in a much more proper class that I needed,” she said. 

But that wasn’t the first and only time that she felt like she was held back. She said she often felt ostracized by those around her.

“A lot of the teachers were very discriminating against students that didn’t come from families of the area,” Evans-Marcum said. “I grew bitter over time and just decided to get myself out… There were only a couple of teachers that I had respect for and that’s it.” 

Evans-Marcrum left Sandoval in 1985 after her mother passed away and promised not to look back. Moving to St. Louis in hopes of becoming an electrical engineer, she found that college was a breeze, and eventually worked her way to her position at MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory.

The MIT Lincoln Laboratory in Lexington, MA, is federally funded through the US Department of Defense and its purpose is to apply advanced technology to handle national security problems.

Evans-Marcrum is now married to wife Christy Evans and they have a 6-year-old daughter who is already showing signs of being a gifted student.

“I have a beautiful and wonderful family,” she said. “Amelia Rose goes to Carlton Innovation School. She’s advanced in math by one year. She is in first grade but takes a second grade math class. She is starting to advance in reading now as well.” 

Evans-Marcrum is planning on earning her master’s degree in electrical engineering. She is also on the Salem First Church Standing Committee in Salem, MA, a Unitarian Universalist church that welcomes all to come and worship.

Looking back on where she grew up, Evans-Marcrum said she hopes better for those who grow up in small towns and would like to see more resources in science and mathematics.

“I’m still a Midwestern girl!” she said. “The Midwest is our bread and butter. We need to built it back up to standards, otherwise we’ll never have what they have had many years ago.”

Her advice for students who want to pursue a career in technology is to keep pushing and stay on top of what is changing in this world.

“Don’t be afraid to leap into technology,” she said. “Women in technology now have several programs to help them succeed… Technology has changed the way we live now, which all of us should better understand it. To better succeed in understanding is to work with it.”

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