Women in STEM News

“If women and girls don’t see themselves on screen as STEM professionals, they’re less likely to pursue those career paths.”

-Geena Davis

Here's the latest on the Women in STEM.

November 07, 2019

Meet Pae Natwilai, The Under 30 Honoree Changing The Game For Drone Data

While growing up in Thailand, Pae Natwilai’s top priorities in selecting a career were good work-life balance and a decent salary. As was customary in Thai culture, she was encouraged to specialize in one field early on rather than pursuing a multidisciplinary education. Having excelled at science and mathematics as a child, she decided to become an engineer, although she was not yet sure what she wanted to build. Read More…

November 06, 2019

The women who cracked science’s glass ceiling

Scientific career opportunities saw a boost during the First World War as a result of the realignment of science to the military. For the first time, scientists worked on problems ranging from aviation and submarine detection to chemical warfare. After the war, this expansion continued, particularly in industry. Biochemist Kathleen Culhane Lathbury was one female scientist who benefited from that. During the 1920s and early 1930s, she worked for British Drug Houses, one of the leading pharmaceutical firms in the United Kingdom, which I focus on here. In her post, Lathbury oversaw insulin manufacturing. Read More…

November 04, 2019

Meet Maria Sibylla Merian, the naturalist who painted insects in living color

Maria Sibylla Merian was a leader in natural science, an ecologist and an entomologist before those terms existed. Merian looked at the world differently from other naturalists. While men such as Carl Linnaeus worked hard to classify and categorize isolated dead specimens of animals and insects, Merian chose to study them as living creatures. As a result, she witnessed behaviors, changes, and interactions that others could never have seen. Read More…

November 01, 2019

A Young Engineer Steps Into the Light

In high school, Janelle Wellons excelled in her classes, especially math, and quickly climbed to the top of her class. By the spring of her senior year, she had an acceptance letter in hand from her dream school, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But while that should have been a joyous time, an incident with a high school classmate cast a long shadow. “One of my classmates approached me in front of a group of friends and said, ‘We all know the reason you got accepted into MIT is because you’re black,'” Wellons recalled. “No one standing there said anything, and the fact that no one stood up for me spoke volumes.” Read More…

October 24, 2019

8 Women In Tech Explain How They Broke Into The Industry

It’s no secret that women are underrepresented in tech. According to statistics from the National Girls Collaborative Project, women make up half of the overall workforce, and yet hold just 28 percent of STEM-related jobs in the U.S. And according to Code.org, only roughly 18 percent of computer science degrees go to women. The road to gender parity is a slow-moving and bumpy one, especially in tech — but one such barrier to entry is the idea that you have to have majored in a STEM field to go on to work in the industry, which is becoming more and more untrue. Read More…

October 23, 2019

The Woman Who Founded Industrial Medicine

In the 21st century climate of preventive medicine, we count on government agencies around the world to warn us about medical hazards in our lives. Yet, few people know that American national safety standards were pioneered by a 19th century female scientist, a pathologist who disliked conflict but used her fastidious research to challenge U.S. manufacturers on the issues of lead, explosives, coal and noxious dyes. Indeed, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) hails Alice Hamilton (1869–1970) as the founder of industrial medicine in America. Read More…

October 11, 2019

All-women Delta crew flies 120 girls to NASA to encourage female aviators

A recent Delta flight from Salt Lake City to Houston was a bit out of the ordinary. A plane operated entirely by women flew 120 young girls to NASA’s headquarters to celebrate International Girls in Aviation Day. The passengers on Delta’s fifth-annual WING flight — “Woman Inspiring our Next Generation” — ranged in age from 12 to 18. The aim of the program is to expose young girls to STEM careers and work towards gender equality in the aviation industry. Read More…

September 27, 2019

13 Amazing Facts About the Women of NASA

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration—better known as NASA—is primarily thought of as a boy’s club, and in many ways, it has been. But over the course of its history, women have made some extraordinary contributions to NASA and the aerospace profession in general. The 2017 film Hidden Figures shone a much-needed light on three African-American women who worked for NASA as human computers in the 1960s, but there is so much more to each of their stories. For example, Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson in the movie) graduated from high school at the age of 14 and graduated summa cum laude from college at the age of 18, with bachelor’s degrees in mathematics and French, according to Essence. Read More…

September 26, 2019

Cactus juice is the new…plastic? Female scientist discovers biodegradable plastic alternative

Plastic is everywhere — the average American consumes 70,000 pieces of plastic per year, according to the American Chemical Society. The reality is that most plastic doesn’t wind up getting recycled. Much of it ends up in landfills, or worse the ocean, National Geographic reports. One researcher from Mexico says she has a green solution — literally. Sandra Pascoe Ortiz, a chemical engineering professor at the University of the Valley of Atemajac in in Zapopan, Mexico, has developed a plastic made from cactus juice. Read More…

September 26, 2019

Harvard’s Forgotten Female Astronomers

When a 23-year-old single mother started working as a maid for Harvard professor Edward C. Pickering, class of 1865, he didn’t expect her to change our understanding of the stars. It was 1879 and Williamina P. S. Fleming needed work: She had immigrated to Boston a year earlier, only to be abandoned by her husband shortly thereafter. Back in Scotland, Fleming had been a schoolteacher — she was a quick learner, and she began teaching when she was just 14. Pickering hired Fleming shortly after he became the director of the Harvard College Observatory. Pickering wanted to gather information about all the stars that are visible from Earth and organize it in a massive catalog. He started taking thousands of glass plate photographs through his telescope. But to process all the data, he needed a team of scientists to examine each photo, correct the image for the distorting effect of Earth’s atmosphere, and then record the properties of the stars in spreadsheets. Read More…