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Women in STEM

Later than usual post today, but I promise I have a good reason! I wanted to pull one of these #WCW submissions from a new book that I got, Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky. I bought two copies, one for myself and one for my parents to add to their collection of books that their foster kids can pull from and read. I had recently been home visiting and asked their current 10yr old placement what woman from history she looked up to…. she couldn’t think of any. I loaned her a copy of another book I was given (Rad Women Worldwide: Artists and Athletes, Pirates and Punks, and Other Revolutionaries Who Shaped History) and told her to memorize one name: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So anyways, I forgot my book at home so had to wait until I got back to finish this submission. ONWARD TO THE POST!

Unless you’ve been living under tariffed Canadian lumber, you know that on this past Saturday (Earth Day), there were worldwide marches advocating for the importance of science and fact-based decision making. In the spirit of those marches, I decided to do another STEM-heavy post with some kickass trailblazers.

Maryam Mirzakhani


In 2014, Maryam Mirzakhani became the first woman to win the Fields Medal, nicknamed the “Nobel Prize of Mathematics” for her work on Riemann surfaces. She is a professor at Stanford University, and is one of very many examples of immigrants who came to the US to kick ass. Her education in Iran, as told to The Guardian:

“…the education system in Iran is not the way people might imagine here. As a graduate student at Harvard, I had to explain quite a few times that I was allowed to attend a university as a woman in Iran. While it is true that boys and girls go to separate schools up to high school, this does not prevent them from participating say in the Olympiads or the summer camps.

But there are many differences: In Iran you choose your major before going to college, and there is a national entrance exam for universities. Also, at least in my class in college, we were more focused on problem-solving than on taking advanced courses.”

Peggy Whitson


Peggy Whitson is an American biochemist who has officially logged more time in space (534 days as of April 24th) than any American before her. When her current mission is complete, she will have logged a total of 650 days. Her call with President Donald Trump was great (best moment starts at 4:49 when Peggy is describing all the innovations needed to go to Mars, and how water is such a precious resource. Trump’s response is classic).

Sylvia Earle


Sylvia Earle is a marine biologist that is a trailblazer in her field. She was the first woman to dive out of an already submerged submarine via lockout chamber and in 1979 set a women’s untethered depth record of 1,250ft when she walked the ocean floor in her open-ocean JIM suit. She then went on to develop the Deep Rover submarine and became a National Geographic explorer-in-residence in 1998. To this day, Sylvia works to use her expertise to tackle issues such as over-fishing, pollution, effects of oil spills, and oceanic dead zones. She has launched the non-profit Mission Blue in 2009, which aims to help protect and preserve the oceans and their ecosystems.