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Part Seven Respect, Collaboration, and Admiration

In addition to her career, Dr. Karen Falconer Al-Hindi is married to Musa Al-Hindi, who emigrated to the U.S. from Beirut.  They met when both she and Musa showed up at a mutual friend’s house to help her move.  After they were married, they had two children (see Figures 3 and 4). Dr. Falconer Al-Hindi takes pride in the fact that her two boys have been raised by her and her partner to respect those who are different. She explains family life as follows:

“Although I respect [the traditional wife] role and am fortunate to have full-time homemakers among my friends, in my life and our family that is not my role.  Musa and I do refer to each other as “my wife” and “my husband,” but it’s more accurate to say that we are spouses or life partners, because how our family runs is not along traditional American husband-wife lines.”  Dr. Falconer Al-Hindi explicates that “as the primarily wage-earner, my paid work takes precedence over his and I am away from home more hours of the day and week. Our sons follow a gluten-free, casein-free diet that requires careful meal planning, shopping, and food preparation, and Musa does most of that. We are working to recover our younger son from autism, which requires research, doctor visits, and a complex regime of nutritional supplements, and I do most of that.”

Because of her son’s Autism diagnosis, Falconer Al-Hindi and her husband are involved in the Autism Society of Nebraska, having most recently participated in the annual fundraising walk.  Of her family life, Falconer Al-Hindi states, “Despite each of us taking the lead in specific areas of family life, each of us is able to step into the other’s place as needed. I believe we are giving our children a more androgynous model of adult life and work that will serve them well.”

When asked to name other women who have influenced her, Falconer Al-Hindi does not recite a specified list.   Instead, she explains, “Often when students speak to me about their role models, they identify women whom they admire and wish to emulate in every respect.  My role models are different.  They are nearly all of the women in my life and, as no one is good at everything, I focus on the best of each.”  Dr. Karen Falconer Al-Hindi clearly emulates the hard work, passion, and dedication of all the women who have influenced and guided her as she negotiates her place in the world.