Last month, in honor of Black History Month, I decided to recognize a few of the fantastic African American women who have worked fearlessly to impact STEM fields. This month, I would like to do something similar in honor of National Women’s History Month. As a woman who is deeply involved in STEM fields, I understand the wage and gender gap and experience it first hand. That is precisely why I feel that it is crucial that women in STEM should voice their opinions and make themselves heard. With that being said, here are a few women in history who have done just that.
Whoever claims that today’s youth cannot offer much to STEM fields has clearly never met Brittany Wenger. After her cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer, at the age of 15, Ms. Wenger lept into action to do something about it. Two years later, she was able to create an artificial brain that could detect early stages of breast cancer; the project was so impressive that Wenger took home first place at the 2012 Google Science Fair. Pursuing her passion for computer science, Ms. Wenger now studies the subject at Duke University and has her breast cancer detection software in beta programs at two cancer centers.
Ms. Bialik is well-known for her portrayal of Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler on the hit sitcom The Big Bang Theory, but not many people know that Ms. Bialik is also a neuroscientist in reality. After studying the subject and earning her degree at UCLA, Ms. Bialik has been teaching it and giving public lectures on the subject for years. She also promotes awareness of the importance of STEM subjects and funding for its programs. Interestingly enough, Ms. Bialik was not initially interested in STEM fields at first, as she thought it was something for boys. However, she eventually learned that that was simply not true, and she was able to study computer science and make her mark in both Hollywood and the STEM industry.
Founded by molecular biologist, Jennifer Lopez, NASA’s group of datanauts are a collection of women looking to improve our understanding of information as it relates to outer space. The datanauts take the copious amounts of data at NASA’s disposal, and utilize it so that we better understand the cosmos and prepare ourselves for space-related missions.
Women continue to make outstanding breakthroughs in STEM-related fields every day. It is imperative that we highlight those achievements regularly. This is only a handful of women who have helped to make a difference in the industry. There are undoubtedly much more that deserve recognition, and I have no doubt in my mind, that the future will bring even bigger and brighter stars.