Posted on March 08, 2023

Women Who Are Making a Difference in STEM

John Joyce
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John Joyce

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Occupations in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields are more accessible to women than ever before.  Not too long ago, the STEM fields looked vastly different. Women were frequently passed over for jobs and were denied the same respect as their male contemporaries and research partners. 

To celebrate International Women’s Day, here are five trailblazing women in STEM who persevered to follow their passion for the field:

#1 - At MIT, Dr. Cynthia Breazeal teaches media arts and sciences as an associate professor. She is a leader in social robots and the director of MIT's Personal Robotics Group. She created Kismet, an expressive humanoid robot capable of intuitive interactions with people, as part of her doctoral research. Her study focuses on creating socially intelligent personal robots that can converse, collaborate and pick up knowledge from people.

#2 - Pooja Chandrashekar is presently enrolled in Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School to pursue her MD/MBA. She started ProjectCSGIRLS, a competition for middle school girls in computer science and technology, when she was a senior in high school. Since the program's beginning, thousands of girls from 40 states and five other countries have participated, making ProjectCSGIRLS an international endeavor.

#3 - Grace Hopper, a computer scientist from the United States and Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, created the first programming language to employ words from the English language. She is credited with being a fundamental inventor of the popular computer language COBOL, which stands for Common Business-Oriented Language. She received a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics with honors from Vassar College in 1928. And in 1930, she graduated from Yale University with her master's degree.

Hopper's coworkers found a moth messing with the Mark II Computer while she was working for the navy after the war. She came up with the term "debugging.” She then joined the UNIVAC team and became a pioneer in using computers for tasks beyond simple math.

#4 - Marie Curie is a well-known woman in the history of STEM professions. She is the only woman in science to date to have won the Nobel Prize in physics and chemistry. Moreover, she was the first female scientist to ever get a Nobel Prize in her day.

Curie invented transportable radiography devices using the principle of radioactivity, which she developed and named. She was, after that, able to assist in easing the suffering of French soldiers during World War I, thanks to these units. Coupled with her husband's radioactivity-based research, Curie discovered the elements polonium and radium.

#5 - Before starting her career in computer programming at the MITRE Corporation, Barbara Liskov completed mathematics studies at Berkley and Princeton. Stanford accepted her after submitting applications to several prestigious universities, where she became the first woman in the U.S. to receive a Ph.D. in computer science.

Liskov created several programming languages during her lengthy career. She founded CLU at MIT with the help of her students in the 1970s. Although it may not be used as much now, this programming language was crucial in the eventual rise of object-oriented programming. Later, she worked with many specialists to create Argus, a CLU extension.

This impressive list of female STEM professionals is just the tip of a very long list of women whose significant contributions have fundamentally altered the path of human history.



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