STEM Girls: Jocelyn Bell Burnell

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a Northern Irish astrophysicist who has been credited with one of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the 20th century. She had a tough time at college, being the only woman in a class of 49 men. She said in an interview in the Belfast Telegraph, “…that when a female walked into a lecture theatre all the guys stamped and whistled and called and banged the desk.” As a PhD student she played a key role in the discovery of the first pulsars. Pulsars are the signals released from rapidly spinning neutron stars. Neutron stars are collapsed stars that are too small to...

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28 February 2017: Girls can STEM

When I signed the contract for my PhD project, a thought crossed my mind— should I let my maths teacher know? The one who advised me to pursue a hairdressing career, because girls were, “not made for higher education”? I was 14 at the time, and after that, my passion for anything numbers died a sudden death. I did go on to study art history, because they don’t do hair dressing at university, and never wasted a thought to the matter again. Roughly 10 years later, the number of female STEM researchers in many countries is alarming. Even in leading industrial nations, such as the USA and Japan,...

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STEM Girls: Peggy Whitson

This year Peggy Whitson made history in three different ways. First she became the oldest woman to fly into space. Second, she became the first woman to command the International Space Center twice. And third, she broke the record for the amount of time spent in space by a U.S. astronaut. Peggy earned her bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Iowa Wesleyan College. She then earned her doctorate degree in biochemistry from Rice University. After spending time there as a Postdoctoral fellow, she began working at the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Peggy held a variety of...

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STEM Girls: Margaret Guo

In October, Margaret Guo was named the NCAA Woman of the Year. The award was in recognition of her accomplishments not only in the swimming pool but for her academic work as well. She is the first MIT student to win this award. Margaret graduated with dual degrees in electrical engineering and computer science and biological engineering. While working on her degrees she also competed on the school’s swimming team. Her events were the 200 freestyle relay, 400 freestyle relay, 200 medley relay and the 400 medley relay. Working on dual degrees and competing in athletics was a challenge for...

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STEM Girls: Debyani Chakravarty

Debyani grew up in a family in which education was incredibly important. Her goal initially was to become a doctor but some wise words from her grandmother gave her pause for thought. Her grandmother said to her that “if you’re going to do research, do it so that you can help those who are suffering.” Debyani decided to get her doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology. Debyani is now a cancer biologist at Memorial Sloan Kettering where her role involves her finding the irregularities in human DNA which causes cancer and then propose the drug that can target the cause. As an Indian...

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STEM Girls: Dr. Beth A. Brown

Beth grew up in Virginia, and from a young age had an interest in science, especially in astronomy. She was her class valedictorian when she graduated in 1987 from high school and she went on to study astrophysics at Howard University in Washington DC. She earned her Master’s in Astronomy from the University of Michigan and made history in 1998 when she became the first African-American woman to earn a PhD from the university’s Department of Astronomy. In 2001 Beth held a National Academy of Science and National Research Council Postdoctoral Research Fellowship at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight...

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STEM Girls: Hadiyah-Nicole Green

There are less than 100 black female physicists currently working in the United States. According to data gathered from the United States National Science Foundation from 1973 to 2012, only 66 black women have earned a PhD in physics. Dr. Hadiyah-Nicole Green is one of those 66 women. She is already one of the most successful women in her field but her latest work could cement her legacy for future generations. She had a difficult start in life, her parents both passed away when she was young and she was raised by her aunt and uncle. She went on to earn a degree in physics from the...

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STEM Girls: Maggie Aderin-Pocock

Maggie Aderin-Pocock is a woman living her dream. As a child she saved her money to buy a telescope. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a great quality telescope, but in an attempt to improve it she began attending night school to learn the skills herself. She was the youngest person in the class by some distance. The classes were successful: not only did she improve the telescope which allowed her to explore the sky above us, it also instilled in her an interest in the sciences. This would carry over to her formal education where she earned a degree in physics and a PhD in Mechanical Engineering....

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LEGO Adding More Girls to Science Figures

When I was younger I spent many happy childhood hours constructing all sorts of LEGO wonders with little plastic bricks that gave me the freedom to create anything. Since those glorious days, however, LEGO seems to have become more gender stereotyped with themed sets aimed towards different genders. Times, however, may be changing once more. Maia Weinstock, Deputy Editor of MIT News, made the proposal earlier this year for LEGO to create a themed set to celebrate five incredible women from NASA. The proposal comes after LEGO released the first female lab scientist figure, Professor C. Bodin,...

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Get Ready for Girl Day on February 25th!

Did you know that only 12% of professional engineers are women? 12 percent! And according to the infographic below, that’s just the beginning of it: The U.S. will need more than 1.7 million new engineers and computer scientists over the next ten years, but women and girls are still three times less likely to follow these career paths than their male peers. Here at Girl Museum, we know that needs to change. Two of our exhibitions last year – STEM Girls and STEAM Girls – showcased that girls have always been integral to the development of STEM fields, including inventing things that we often...

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