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Tag: women in STEM
  • Dr. Kazue Togasaki became one of the first Japanese American women to earn a medical degree in the US.

    In the midst of World War II, as many people of Japanese ancestry were incarcerated in internment camps, a pioneering doctor helped ensure that pregnant women got the best care she could provide. Dr. Kazue Togasaki fought sexism and racism to become one of the first Japanese American women to earn a medical degree in the US. Over the course of her remarkable career, she delivered over 10,000 babies, including 50 during one month at the Tanforan Assembly Center. "In other camps, I know they’d send the pregnant women out to the nearest county hospital to deliver, but I never thought about sending them out from Tanforan," she recalled years later. "I thought it was my duty." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of children's biographies and fiction about girls and women in engineering.

    There are few things as satisfying as making something work — which for many girls and women means a love of engineering! Unfortunately, women are still highly underrepresented in the field and progress has been slow with the percentage of engineering bachelors degrees awarded to women in the U.S. increasing only from 17.8% in 2010 to 22.5% in 2019. Even today, many girls consider engineering a 'male' field or they simply don't know what engineers do. International Women in Engineering Day, which is celebrated annually on June 23, provides a perfect opportunity to introduce girls to the many types of engineering careers available and explore how engineers help to solve real-world challenges. Continue reading Continue reading

  • "Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me."

    You've likely heard doctors or parents talking about a baby's Apgar Score, but did you know that this lifesaving measure is named for its creator, Dr. Virginia Apgar, the pioneering anesthesiologist whose work has helped save countless newborns? The Apgar Score, which is now used in many countries around the world, helps doctors quickly assess the health of newborns to determine if they need medical intervention. Apgar also authored a groundbreaking book called Is My Baby All Right? which provided parents with a reassuring and informative guide to birth defects, which had previously been a taboo topic and a source of shame to many families. Apgar's unflagging determination to provide the best possible care for both women and their babies is perhaps best summed up by her famous quote: "Nobody, but nobody, is going to stop breathing on me." Continue reading Continue reading

  • 'Shark Lady' Eugenie Clark was one of the foremost shark experts of her generation.

    When Eugenie Clark was applying for graduate school at Columbia University, a scientist there told her, "If you do finish, you will probably get married, have a bunch of kids, and never do anything in science after we have invested our time and money in you." Instead, she earned a PhD from New York University, and went on to become known as the "Shark Lady," one of the leading marine biologists of her generation! Clark's pioneering research on sharks, an animal that had enthralled her since she was a child, helped changed attitudes towards these misunderstood creatures and emphasized the importance of caring for our oceans. "I don't get philosophical. Love fish. Love sharks," she once wrote. "Keep the water and their habitats as clean and protected as possible." Continue reading Continue reading

  • A Mighty Girl's top picks of books for children about trailblazing female environmentalists of the past and present.

    With Earth Day comes a special opportunity to teach kids about the people all around the world doing important work to care for our environment and the life within it! In addition to the day-to-day activities that we can all do to reduce our impact on the planet, it's important to recognize the scientists and activists, both past and present, who have encouraged us to see our planet in a new way: not as a set of resources for us to extract when we please, but as a precious and delicate system that sustains all life that we must strive to protect. Continue reading Continue reading

  • This trailblazing mathematician built the geodetic model of the Earth that became the foundation for GPS.

    If you rely on your GPS for directions, you can thank a mathematician whose little-known contributions to the mathematical modeling of the Earth recently earned her one of the U.S. Air Force's highest honors: induction into the Space and Missile Pioneers Hall of Fame! Dr. Gladys West, like the "human computers" at NASA who became famous with the book Hidden Figures, began her career by performing the complex hand calculations required before the computer age. However, her greatest accomplishment was the creation of an extremely detailed geodetic model of the Earth which became the foundation for the Global Positioning System. Although GPS is ubiquitous today, West says that in the moment, she wasn't thinking about the future: "When you’re working every day, you’re not thinking, ‘What impact is this going to have on the world?’" she says. "You’re thinking, ‘I’ve got to get this right.'" Continue reading Continue reading

  • This trailblazing engineer became the first person in history to design a Naval ship using a computer.

    Raye Montague, the groundbreaking engineer and ship designer, smashed both gender and racial barriers to revolutionize Naval ship design and become the U.S. Navy's first female program manager of ships. While Montague was the first person to ever design a ship on a computer, her contributions were little known until Margot Lee Shetterly's book Hidden Figures, which told the story of African American female mathematicians at NASA, generated a new interest in other little-known women who made remarkable contributions with their technical prowess. Montague, who died in late 2018 and whose story has been told in a new picture book, The Girl With A Mind For Math, always credited her mother's insistence on education for giving her the push she needed to reach for her dreams. "You’ll have three strikes against you," she remembered her saying. "You’re female, you’re black and you’ll have a Southern segregated school education. But you can be or do anything you want, provided you’re educated." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Pioneering mathematician Ada Lovelace is now the subject of a variety of books for all ages!

    English mathematician Ada Lovelace is widely considered the world's first computer programmer for her invention of the computer algorithm. Born in 1815 to the poet Lord Byron and Anne Isabella Byron, Lovelace's mathematical talents led to an ongoing collaboration with mathematician Charles Babbage, who called Lovelace the "Enchantress of Numbers." While translating an article by an Italian engineer on Babbage's Analytical Engine, a proposed early version of a mechanical general-purpose computer, Ada added her own extensive set of notes, three times as long as the original article, which contained a tremendous breakthrough — the first computer program or algorithm! Continue reading Continue reading

  • Dr. Patricia Bath was an early pioneer of laser eye surgery whose cataract-removal invention has saved the vision of millions of people around the world.

    A Renaissance woman in the world of vision, the pioneering ophthalmologist Dr. Patricia Bath not only founded the discipline of community ophthalmology to help underserved populations  have better access to vision care, she invented a device that quickly and easily dissolves cataracts, becoming the first African American female physician to receive a medical patent. Her invention of the Laserphaco Probe was recognized by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in 2014 as "one of the most important developments in the field of ophthalmology" for having "helped restore or improve vision to millions of patients worldwide." A trailblazer for both women and African Americans in medicine, Bath always considered the people she helped her greatest accomplishment, asserting that "the ability to restore vision is the ultimate reward." Continue reading Continue reading

  • Mary Golda Ross spent over 30 years at Lockheed, much of it as a member of the top-secret Skunk Works program involved in cutting edge research during the early years of the space race.

    When Mary Golda Ross, the first Native American aerospace engineer, began her career at the aerospace company Lockheed during World War II, women engineers were rare and most companies expected them to leave after the war was over to make room for returning men. Ross was such a phenomenal talent, however, that she not only stayed at Lockheed for over 30 years years, she became an integral member of the top-secret Skunk Works program involved in cutting edge research during the early years of the space race. As one of 40 engineers in Lockheed's Advanced Development Projects division, Ross was the only female engineer on the team and the only Native American. Her research was so secret that, even in 1994, she had to be coy with an interviewer about her work: "I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research," she said. "My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Friden computer." Continue reading Continue reading

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