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.

September 08, 2019

Bharwani: This 14-Year-Old Just Published Her First Alexa Skill. She Used to Think She Wasn’t Good Enough. Now She Knows She Is Exceptional

Suguey Carmona, a ninth-grade Latina student at KIPP Brave High School in Austin, Texas, published her first Alexa Skill in the Amazon Appstore this year. This was a notable achievement, but if you don’t know what it means, you are not alone. Alexa is a virtual assistant developed by Amazon that responds to users’ questions. If you want to ask Alexa to do specific things, such as power up your Xbox or order a pizza, your Alexa has to have that skill. Suguey identified a skill that had not yet been created, so she decided to program it herself. She created an Alexa Skill that allows English- and Spanish-speaking immigrants to get answers to questions related to their rights. For example, users may ask Alexa, “Am I allowed to get my driver’s license?” or “How long does it take to get a visa?” Read More…

September 06, 2019

Indian women scientists’ lunar mission a ‘giant leap for womankind’

The Indian Space Research Organization is speeding toward history on Friday as its second lunar mission, Chandrayaan-2, is expected to touch down near the moon’s south pole. If successful, Chandrayaan-2’s landing site would be the southernmost spot on the moon to be visited by any spacecraft, and make India the fourth country to complete a landing on the moon. Regardless of the outcome in space — according to the ISRO, the success rate for soft landings on the moon is 52% — India’s unmanned lunar mission has already made history: It’s the first space mission led by two female scientists from the ISRO. Read More…

September 05, 2019

The Work Diary of Parisa Tabriz, Google’s ‘Security Princess’

Parisa Tabriz used to be a hacker. Now she is a princess. Ms. Tabriz, 36, is a director of engineering at Google, where she oversees its Chrome web browser and a team of security investigators called Project Zero. Several years ago, when Google required her to get business cards, she picked the title “security princess” because it seemed less boring than “information security engineer,” her actual title at the time. As Ms. Tabriz climbed the ranks, the designation stuck — and reminded men in the cybersecurity field that women belonged there, too. “I want them to know that princesses can do engineering and STEM,” Ms. Tabriz said. Read More…

September 05, 2019

A Creative Force in Understanding Genes

This is the first article in a new series on Visionaries. The New York Times selected people from all over the world who are pushing the boundaries of their fields, from science and technology to culture and sports. Twice in her life, Edith Heard has transformed scientific understanding. Professor Heard studies epigenetics — changes to genetic activity that can be passed down to daughter cells without affecting the underlying genetic code. Among bees, for example, a simple difference in food supply means that a larva becomes either a worker or a queen. Professor Heard’s first major advance was showing that these kinds of epigenetic changes can be incredibly dynamic, particularly as an embryo forms and matures. In her second, she revealed important information about how parts of the genome fold in space, allowing some genes to be activated and others silenced. Read More…

September 05, 2019

All-female robotics team wins major awards while slashing stereotypes of women, Latinos in STEM

An all-female team of American college students is taking the robotics competition circuit by storm. The Arizona State University team, Desert WAVE (Women in Autonomous Vehicle Engineering), was formed last August and they say they are one of just two all-female robotics teams competing in the world, along with a team at Texas A&M University. The approximately one dozen teammates collaborated to build Phoenix, a robotic submarine, and Desert WAVE recently took the top prize in a national competition of college teams and then won third place last month at the RoboSub international competition in San Diego, placing behind teams from China and Russia. Read More…

September 03, 2019

10 of the Coolest Tech-Genius Women in Comics

To celebrate all the awesome women characters in comic books today, I’ve put together a list of ten women who are obsessed with technology in comic books. Some of these women are superheroes who use technology to facilitate fighting the bad guys, while others are mechanical whizzes and still others really dig computer science. I’ve included the first issue of the solo series for the superheroes. Read More…

July 31, 2019

The Pioneering Female Botanist Who Sweetened a Nation and Saved a Valley

In 1970, the Indian government planned to flood 8.3 square kilometers of pristine evergreen tropical forest by building a hydroelectric plant to provide power and jobs to the state of Kerala. And they would have succeeded—if it weren’t for a burgeoning people’s science movement, buttressed by a pioneering female botanist. At 80 years old, Janaki Ammal used her status as a valued national scientist to call for the preservation of this rich hub of biodiversity. Today Silent Valley National Park in Kerala, India, stands as one of the last undisturbed swaths of forest in the country, bursting with lion-tailed macaques, endangered orchids and nearly 1,000 species of endemic flowering plants. Sometimes called “the first Indian woman botanist,” Ammal leaves her mark in the pages of history as a talented plant scientist who developed several hybrid crop species still grown today, including varieties of sweet sugarcane that India could grow on its own lands instead of importing from abroad. Read More…

July 20, 2019

Meet Morgan Beller, the 26-year-old woman behind Facebook’s plan to make its own currency

On February 12, 2018, Silicon Valley investor and cryptocurrency technologist Howard Wu was invited to Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park to discuss the implications, opportunities and risks of introducing more than 2 billion online users to blockchain technology. The invitation didn’t come from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, or Vice President and former PayPal executive David Marcus, the current leader of Facebook’s Libra cryptocurrency proposal and Calibra wallet. Instead, he met with Morgan Beller, a rather new employee in Facebook’s corporate development unit who treated him to a cup of joe from the Philz Coffee on the company’s campus. Read More…

July 18, 2019

Edith Irby Jones, trailblazer for African American doctors, dies at 91

Edith Irby Jones, who would grow up to be a pioneering African American doctor, was a young girl in rural Arkansas when she lost a sister to typhoid fever in the 1930s. “The children who were able to have medical care would live,” Dr. Jones told an interviewer years later. “I saw the doctor going in and out of their homes. Although it may not be true, I felt that if I had been a physician, or if there had been physicians available, or we had adequate money, that a physician would have come to us.” Amid the tragedy of her sister’s death, and perhaps unaware of the obstacles she would face, she vowed to become a doctor — but a “different kind of doctor,” she said. “Money wasn’t going to make any difference with me,” Dr. Jones told an oral historian with the University of Arkansas Libraries. “And so I have spent my lifetime trying to live out a childhood dream.” Read More…

July 17, 2019

The Woman Who Discovered the Cause of Global Warming Was Long Overlooked. Her Story Is a Reminder to Champion All Women Leading on Climate

Eunice Newton Foote rarely gets the credit she’s due. The American scientist, who was born exactly 200 years ago on Wednesday, was the first woman in climate science. It was back in 1856 that Foote theorized that changes in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere could affect the Earth’s temperature. She broke scientific ground that remains more relevant than ever in 2019, but history overlooked her until just a few years ago. Foote arrived at her breakthrough idea through experimentation. Read More…