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OPEN GATES, CLOSED DOORS

Melinda Gates: The next Bill Gates won’t look like the last one

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AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews
"Somewhere along the way, a lot of us got it in our heads that the next Bill Gates was going to look a lot like the last one."
  • Melinda Gates
By Melinda Gates

Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Published Last updated on This article is more than 2 years old.

When I think about the people who have made the biggest difference in my life, Susan Bauer tops the list. Mrs. Bauer taught math at the girls’ school I attended in Dallas in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and she forged the path that led me to my career in technology—and my life as I know it.

Back in 1980, Mrs. Bauer saw a demo of the Apple II, one of the first personal computers, at a conference. She was captivated by what they could do (even though back then they were thousands of times less powerful than your cell phone).

She decided that her students needed to have them and talked the nuns who ran the school into making an investment. Then, because nobody knew how to use these new computers, Mrs. Bauer got a master’s degree in computer science and created a one-woman computer science department. I didn’t grow up knowing a lot of women who worked outside the home, so Mrs. Bauer is a big part of the reason I was able to imagine a career in tech for myself and pursue it with all I had.

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