STEM Girls

When we began researching girls and women for this exhibition, we were happily surprised at the sheer number of amazing gals who’ve been involved in STEM fields throughout history. Because there are so many of them, we’ve been unable to include them all in the exhibition itself, but through our blog and Tumblr we’ve been able to feature more STEM Girls. Below we’ve collected the girls and women featured on our blog for Women’s History Month 2015.

STEM Girls: Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson was born in 1918 in West Virginia. She loved mathematics as a child, and her family moved 125 miles so that she could attend school. She graduated from high school at the age of 14, and a year later enrolled at West Virginia State University. At 18,...

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STEM Girls: Ada E. Yonath

Ada E. Yonath was born in Jerusalem in 1939 to a poor family. As a child, she actively investigated the world around her and took an interest in her father’s medical conditions. Her parents enabled her to obtain a formal education at prestigious secular grammar...

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STEM Girls: Valentina Tereshkova

Valentina Tereshkova was born in the Yaroslavi region of Russia on March 6, 1937. She left school at the age of 16 to begin working at a textile factory, but continued her education by correspondence courses. Her favorite hobby was parachute jumping. It was this hobby...

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STEM Girls: Sara Volz

17-year-old Sara Volz is a young scientist making the next generation of biofuel! She has invented a process that increases the amount of biofuel produced by algae–all from her bedroom! How? Her project uses artificial selection to pinpoint which organisms are...

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STEM Girls: Emmy Noether

  It was Emmy Noether's intent to teach French and English, but instead she chose to audit math classes at the University of Erlangen in Germany (where her father was a mathematics professor). She earned her Ph.D in 1907, and spent the next seven years teaching at the...

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STEM Girl Spotlight: Kaitlyn Reed Bunker, Electrical Engineer

Kaitlyn Reed Bunker has recently earned her PhD in Electrical Engineering and now works at Rocky Mountain Institute. I recently had the opportunity to talk with her and learn all about her background in STEM. Here is our conversation: Hillary: Why did you decide to...

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STEM Girls: Nettie Stevens

People understood the difference between male and female before Nettie Stevens, but it was because of her work in genetics that we understand how that difference comes about. Born in 1861, Nettie was an exceptionally bright student, and, after teaching for a few...

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STEM Girls: Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming

The road to Williamina Paton Stevens Fleming's discovery of the Horsehead Nebula in 1888 was a winding one. Born in Scotland in 1857, she worked as a teacher before marrying James Fleming in 1877 and moving to Boston with him. James deserted Williamina and their...

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STEM Girls: Sofia Kovalevskaya

Sofia Kovalevskaya made a variety of original contributions to the field of mathematics. She was the first important Russian female mathematician, the first woman to receive a full professorship in Northern Europe, and one of the first women to be an editor at a...

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STEM Girls: Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards

Today, Home Economics classes are generally considered dreary and outdated, but they might not exist at all without Ellen Henrietta Swallow Richards. Born in 1842, Ellen was the first woman to be admitted to MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), and also...

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STEM Girls: Margaret E. Knight

Margaret E. Knight was one of the first women to be awarded a U.S. patent, but if she hadn't been a fighter, that never would have happened. Born in 1838, Margaret received little schooling, and went to work in the textile mills of New England at the age of 12. While...

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STEM Girls: Johanna Mestorf

Born in 1828 in Germany, Johanna Mestorf taught herself to become an archaeologist. After serving as a governess in Sweden at the age of 21–where she studied Scandinavian languages–she spent several years as a traveling companion, going to Italy and France on...

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STEM Girls: Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale is best known for her contributions to medicine and nursing: the pledge taking by newly qualified nurses was named for her, and her nickname "Lady with the Lamp" conjures images of a gentle, compassionate carer for the sick and wounded even today....

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STEM Girls: Eliza Lucas Pinckney

As a teen, Eliza Lucas Pinckney was a model English lady in many ways. She spoke French, played music, and had a garden, but she was also a determined young woman who sought to pull her family's plantation out of debt nearly singlehandedly. Born in 1722 in Antigua,...

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STEM Girls: Maria Gaetana Agnesi

Born in Milan in 1718, Maria Gaetana Agnesi was recognized for her intelligence from a very early age. By the time she was 11, she could speak seven languages: Italian, French, Greek, Hebrew, Spanish, German, and Latin, the last of which she used to give a speech (at...

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STEM Girls: Anna Morandi Manzolini

Anna Morandi Manzolini had an untraditional life, even if she was born into a home that believed in the more traditional roles for women: marriage and motherhood. She did marry and have children, but she also created anatomical wax models for scientific purposes, and...

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STEM Girls: Agnodice

Although some research suggests that Agnodice might have been a mythical figure, there's no denying her influence on women in medicine, both modern and ancient. Born in the 4th Century BCE, she was the first female doctor from Athens. Her drive to become a doctor...

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