“My sister and I were the embodiment of my mother’s feminist dreams,” said Jill Stein Tietjen (Engineering ’76). “We did what she couldn’t do.”
Bernice “Bee” Stein was college educated, but in the 1950s, her career options were limited. She wanted more for her two daughters. She wanted her daughters as well as her sons to be free to choose any career.
Tietjen was inspired to study engineering by her late father, Manuel Stein, an aeronautical engineer (Engineering ’51) at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Tietjen graduated from U.Va.’s School of Engineering and Applied Science with a major in applied math and a minor in electrical engineering. Her sister, Laura Stein Privalle, studied biochemistry and her two brothers, including Jeff Stein (Engineering ’80), both became engineers.
She has been a registered professional engineer in the electric utility industry for more than 30 years. Tietjen served as national president of the Society of Women Engineers, co-authored an award-winning book, Her Story: A Timeline of the Women Who Changed America, and is a motivational speaker. “I’ve made it my life’s work to encourage women to pursue STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) careers,” she said.
Tietjen has given back to the University in significant ways, including gifts to the Women’s Center, the Raven Society and, as a former Lawn resident (50 East Lawn), historic preservation. She is a trustee for the University’s Engineering School and received the 2007 Distinguished Alumna Award from U.Va.’s Women’s Center.
In November 2000, Tietjen arranged to fund a scholarship at the Engineering School. With gains in her financial portfolio the time was right for her to make a major gift, but at the relatively young age of 45, she was not ready to give up the income from her investments. So, she transferred assets to the University through a charitable trust that will provide her with income for the rest of her life.
Ultimately, the Jill Stein Tietjen Charitable Remainder Trust will be dissolved to fund the Jill Stein Tietjen Scholarship. The scholarship will cover tuition and other educational expenses for an undergraduate student at U.Va.’s Engineering School, with preference given to women.
Though Tietjen’s mother passed away in 2004, she lived long enough to see her daughters succeed in their careers and Tietjen go on to help a new generation of women make their own dreams come true.