In honor of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science
February 11 was International Day of Women and Girls in Science. During the past 6 years, the acronym STEM has morphed into STEAM, an acronym acknowledging that art and design have always been integral to the fields of science and technology. This month, I went on a journey to identify some gifted women in the field of science. In learning more about their lives and accomplishments, I learned how each was inspired into their field by their connection to art. I learned from these women that there truly is an art to science and a science to their art. Here are three women in science (and the arts) that I plan to incorporate into my son’s world. If you do not know of them already, they are a great place to start.
Ele Willoughby is a marine geophysicist. She is also a highly accomplished printmaker who creates screen prints, etchings and linocut prints of science in nature. "I'm rather passionate about the history of science, particularly physics and geophysics," Willoughby says. "I am more than happy to be sharing it through art—especially underappreciated female superstars.” I highly recommend taking just a few minutes to dive into the mind of a true hybrid scientist/artist and feast your eyes upon Ele’s art on her official blog.
Mae Jemison was the first African-American astronaut and the first African-American woman in space. She entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship and was very involved in extracurricular activities at Stanford, including dance and theatre productions, and served as head of the Black Student Union. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the university in 1977. She spent two and a half years as a Peace Corps doctor in Africa and she fulfilled a dream of hers by playing a role on Star Trek: The Next Generation. She went on to write her first book in 2001, Find Where the Wind Goes, which was a children's book about her life. Currently, Jemison is leading the 100 Year Starship project through the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. She is an inspiration to many women and little girls. Not only because of her accomplishments with NASA but because she has, in her years after space, excelled as a highly successful tech developer, businesswoman, and role model. You can read more about Mae Jamison on the National Women’s History Museum’s website.
Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya received her master’s degree from The Pratt Institute in NYC in communication and design. This followed her prior studies at Columbia where she studied to be a neuroscientist and worked in an Alzheimer’s lab. Her accomplishments include becoming a TED talk main-stage speaker, professor and award-winning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) advocate. In addition, she founded a few companies including The Murdomo Institute, which combines STEM and design to empower young women and Atomic By Design, an after-school science club and space for girls to create. Learn more about Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya in this NBC interview which links to an engaging YouTube video to watch with your student.
Sources to Read more:
Puffles and Honey Adventures
National Women’s History Museum