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.

July 17, 2019

A tribute to the life and legacy of Maryam Mirzakhani

The second death anniversary of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani has passed quietly early this week. Not many people in Bangladesh are probably familiar with the work of this mathematics genius, but globally, she is held in high regard because of her ground-breaking work. For those who do not know, Maryam Mirzakhani was the only female mathematician to have won a Fields Medal, the most prestigious award in mathematics, often described as the Nobel Prize for this subject. Read More…

July 16, 2019

As the space industry evolves, women are taking on more visible roles

From Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, to Mae Jemison, who became the first African-American woman in space aboard the shuttle Endeavor, the face of the space industry has changed quite a bit since the Apollo 11 launch 50 years ago. But even then, there were women paving the way for others before and during the Apollo program. Today, women and minorities play prominent roles in major space operations at NASA and in private and public space companies. Standing in the Kennedy Space Center firing room, where hundreds managed the launch of Saturn V and Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969, Charlie Blackwell-Thompson stood next to a picture of launch control at the day Apollo 11 launched 50 years ago. “That’s JoAnn Morgan,” Blackwell-Thompson said, pointing to the lone woman in the photo. “She is a kind of a local hero to many of us and really was instrumental in laying the groundwork for other women that would follow.” Read More…

July 12, 2019

An Atlanta doctor is now the first black woman president of the American Medical Association

Patrice Harris was one of those kids who always had a quick answer when adults asked what she wanted to be when she grew up: a doctor. Growing up in Bluefield, West Virginia, in the 1960s and ’70s, though, she didn’t see many black women wearing scrubs and stethoscopes. Instead, she found her role model on the small screen: Marcus Welby, M.D. “I never met an African American female doctor until after I started college,” says Harris. “But I liked that the character not only took care of his patients inside the exam room but outside the exam room as well. He cared about the community, not just the treatment. And I still believe that, as a physician, you have a platform to address big issues.” Read More…

July 09, 2019

The woman who mapped the moon: An Arizona geologist and the Apollo 17 lunar landing

Baerbel Lucchitta talked about how luck played a role in her career as a planetary geologist, but hers was a case of someone making their own luck. Lucchitta did just that when she was a young mapmaker working on the Apollo moon missions with the U.S. Geological Survey’s Astrogeology branch in Flagstaff. She was one of the first women to work in that field and forged a remarkable career in science. Read More…

July 05, 2019

How Poppy Northcutt cracked NASA’s boys’ club and became a feminist icon

While NASA was busy making history by getting men ever closer to the moon, a quieter revolution was taking place in its Mission Control’s Planning and Analysis room. There, in a sea of slide rules and Y chromosomes, sat Francis “Poppy” Northcutt, NASA’s first female Mission Control engineer. Starting in 1965, Northcutt conducted trajectory analysis for Apollo missions 8-17, from the first crewed mission to leave Earth’s orbit through the final moonwalk. Read More…

July 03, 2019

The newly crowned Miss Virginia did a science experiment for her talent performance

Instruments are enchanting and singing is sublime but sometimes, to stand out, you gotta make stuff go boom. Camille Schrier was crowned Miss Virginia 2019 at the end of June, and for the talent portion of the competition, the 24-year-old biochemist showed off what she does best: Science. Schrier demonstrated the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, a reaction that occurs when hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with a catalyst like potassium iodide, which Schrier used in her presentation. As she mixed the chemicals, large spouts of colored foam came shooting out of the beakers onstage, delighting the audience and obviously impressing the judges. Read More…

July 03, 2019

The First Black Woman to Earn a Physics PhD From University of Glasgow Just Graduated

It’s 2019, and white men still, largely, hold the power in many areas of society. So when a black woman shatters every glass ceiling in her way, it’s particularly exciting. Monifa Phillips, PhD, did just that when she graduated from University of Glasgow’s School of Physics as the first ever black woman to earn a PhD there. Phillips tweeted out her accomplishment on June 30, showing herself in her academic regalia and holding her thesis. But Phillip’s achievement isn’t special just because it’s a first, it’s particularly sweet because she made it happen for herself. Read More…

July 02, 2019

At 21, Ann Montgomery Became a Lead Engineer at NASA, Managing the Cameras and Other Crucial Gear Used on the Moon

he army of workers who made NASA’s Apollo program possible, sending a human being to the moon for the first time, included hundreds of thousands of people—from the doctors who screened the astronauts to the crawler-transporter drivers who towed the Saturn V rocket to the launch pad. And among the nearly endless tasks that had to be completed for the Apollo lunar landing, one woman spearheaded a critical engineering project: testing all the small gear the astronauts would take with them to the moon. Read More…

July 02, 2019

California’s 1st Surgeon General Spotlights Health Risks Of Childhood Adversity

Not long after she finished her medical residency at Stanford University about a decade ago, Nadine Burke Harris got to work as a pediatrician in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood of San Francisco. She founded and became CEO of a clinic there, focused on addressing health disparities in the community. It was in talking with those children and their families, she says, that she first realized how many of her patients experiencing the worst health outcomes — those with the highest levels of chronic asthma, for example — were also living with significant adversity, such as growing up in a household where a parent was mentally ill, abusive or substance dependent. Read More…

June 26, 2019

The eccentric engineer: the highs and lows of Bessie Coleman, America’s first black female pilot

To say Bessie Coleman was born into deprivation would be an understatement. Her parents were sharecroppers in late 19th-century Texas, picking cotton and taking in laundry to get by, and she was the 12th of 13 children. Bessie’s father was Native American Cherokee while her mother was African American, so almost every door to improvement was closed to them. Not that this put her off. She became the first person of African-American and of Native American descent to be awarded an international pilot licence by the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. Read More…