By: Kiersten Mannino

Luminita Todor, Esq. uses her Experimental Nuclear Physics Ph.D. from Old Dominion University uniquely as a patent attorney for Patent Portfolio Builders PLLC. "If women refuse to stop in front of the illusory barriers of prejudice and instead value independence and achieving their earning potential, they should develop their math and science knowledge to claim successfully the well-paid STEM jobs," says Todor.

Todor grew up in a mathematical environment which created a passion for physics. Her mother has a Ph.D. in weather forecasting and her father coordinated the building of the first Nuclear power plants in Romania. "Practical applications of math were always an open subject of discussion, from natural phenomena to new technologies, within the realm of information accessible in Romania behind the iron curtain," says Todor. She figured out from an early age that education would be the key to unlocking her potential.

At ODU, Todor pursued a Ph.D. in Physics and had the opportunity to do research at Jefferson Lab in Newport News. Her research included calibrating the equipment in the experimental halls and developing the specific methodology for nuclear experimental data processing.

Todor became more passionate about Physics with the encouragement and support of Dean Gail Dodge. "I might have not had the strength to mentally face up the challenge of adjusting to a new country and finding my way in a male dominated environment, says Todor. "Luminita and I arrived at ODU around the same time, and we became good friends," says Dodge. "She and her family are like members of my family. We are very proud of her success."

She credits the entire Department of Physics faculty with helping her understand theories and calculations that became a part of her thesis.

After 4 years of post-doctoral research, she found another way to use her technical expertise. "Initially, I was a technical adviser and later became a patent attorney by representing inventors in the process of obtaining patents," said Todor.

Todor believes more women should enter the STEM field. "Women are better suited than society has given them credit for solving practical problems that require STEM skills," says Todor. "Nowadays everybody has to have and use technical skills." She believes that especially now many jobs do not require physical strength as much as mental strength. She wants women to embrace the sciences as she did at ODU. "I would recommend women to consider studying at ODU because they are treated with respect and understanding, not belittled but encouraged," says Todor.