Feb 20, 2009 - Claremont, Calif. -
A Canadian citizen, Klawe worked in the U.S. with a green card (non-continuously) for a total of 15 years, beginning in 1977. She had hoped to be able to become a citizen in order to vote in the U.S. presidential election, but was scheduled for her interview the day afterward.
“Getting a green card was harder,” Klawe said of the preparation for the examination, which included providing massive amounts of documentation about her travels to and from the U.S. over the years.
There are 50 questions about the United States and its history that prospective citizens need to know the answers to. During the actual exam, they are asked 10 of those questions and are required to get eight correct in order to pass. Klawe got all 10 correct.
Klawe decided to become a citizen because she feels that as HMC president she should be a full participant in the United States. For example, recently she was unable to participate in a National Security Agency workshop about women in mathematics because of her foreign citizenship.
She was accompanied at the ceremony by Jacqueline El-Sayed, visiting fellow from the American Council on Education, who said of the ceremony: “I really enjoyed seeing all the people who came out, all ages and ethnicities.”
Klawe was particularly impressed by the Burmese man she sat next to on the floor of the convention center.
“He moved to this country 20 years ago, and his wife and kids were citizens,” she recalled. “He came from his native country (now Myanmar) as a chemist, but could not get work and ended up becoming a truck driver. Still, he and his wife put four children through college and they became an M.D., Ph.D., nurse and chemist.”
Why did he wait so long to become a citizen? “He was recently retired and wanted to proudly return with a U.S. passport to his native country to offer to help its many citizens in need,” Klawe explained.