Dr. Frances Kelsey was a Canadian-American pharmacologist who worked as a reviewer for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) after an impressive career as a faculty member at the University of Chicago and University of South Dakota.
At the FDA, Dr. Kelsey was a member of a very small team whose responsibility it was to review drug applications from pharmaceutical companies, placing a much needed emphasis on evidence-based data. During this time, Dr. Kelsey repeatedly blocked the application for a drug called thalidomide, which was already widely used in Europe. Drawing on her past research of finding evidence of certain drugs that crossed the placental barrier, she was not convinced that thalidomide was safe for pregnant women, especially with the data (or lack of) that was being presented. Despite growing pressure to ram the drug application through (drug company’s bottom line $ of course being their most important worry), Dr. Kelsey and her team stuck to their guns and refused to let a drug with possible serious side-effects into the U.S. market. In the 1960s, births of many deformed infants in Europe started to be linked to thalidomide, and it became widely known that Dr. Kelsey prevented a disastrous medical crisis in the U.S.
In 1962, she became the second woman to be presented the President’s Award for Distinguished Federal Civilian Service by President John F. Kennedy. Dr. Kelsey retired from the FDA in 2005 after 45 years of service.
Thank you to Sarah (a current #WCW in STEM) for sharing the below video and putting Dr. Kelsey on my radar!
REALLY cool story about how an Illustrator working on a children’s book took to Twitter to help identify the only woman at the 1971 International Conference on the Biology of Whales (who happened to also be the only person “not identified”)
Spoiler Alert – the woman (Sheila Minor Huff), ended up being really dope.
Luciana Vega is American Girls’s 2018 Girl of the Year, inspiring young girls to aim for the stars and pursue STEM. A Chilean-American girl, Luciana’s story has her going to Space Camp and hoping to one day make it to Mars with NASA.
To get things just right, American Doll collaborated with some stellar badasses of the industry:
- Megan McArthur Behnken (astronaut)
- Ellen Stofan (former NASA chief scientist)
- Deborah Barnhart (US Space and Rocket Center CEO and Executive Director)
- Maureen O’Brien (manager of strategic alliances at NASA)
“I think a lot of girls are sometimes intimidated by STEM careers because they think they have to be perfect in math or the top of their class. But what you really need to have is determination, the spirit to pick yourself up when you make a mistake and keep going. I really think it’s that determination, that will, the ability to come back from failure, that are the most important characteristics. I hope that girls who read these books are inspired by these tales of failure but persistence.” -Ellen Stofan
Cards Against Humanity (yeah, them) have funded a full-tuition scholarship for women pursuing an undergraduate STEM degree. The deadline for submissions is quickly approaching (December 11th), so spread the word to your favorite Women “Crushin’ it in STEM” Wednesday friends and family! Link below:
Fan of Card’s Against Humanity but don’t know any baddass women pursuing a STEM degree? The scholarship is paid for by their Science Pack Expansion (available here)
Are you someone of high taste and think CAH is a terrible, terrible game whose makers and players should be ashamed of themselves and would never buy the game, let alone an expansion? Maybe instead look into DonorsChoose.org, who CAH and the Scholarship Fund donated $5,000 dollars this year to help fund STEM projects and field trips for classrooms across the country.