Take a quick quiz to figure out what STEM field might be best suited for you!
The world of rapid technological advancement that we live in today is primarily male dominated, especially in the various fields of STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math). These are the estimated percentages of women in the STEM workforce from 2017:
- 35% of chemists are women
- 11% of physicists and astronomers are women
- 33% of environmental engineers are women
- 22% of chemical engineers are women
- 17% of civil, architectural, and sanitary engineers are women
- 17% of industrial engineers are women
- 10% of electrical or computer hardware engineers are women
- 7% of mechanical engineers are women
These statistics should not be taken negatively. They do not indicate that women should stay away from a STEM career path, but instead present an amazing opportunity to influence your field (and the world) with your contributions! Gender disparity in STEM is shrinking every year as more and more women decide to follow their passions in these fields and make a difference. Allow me to show you a selection of these influential women, their stories, and how they have made an impact.
Dr. Allen is an American computer scientist and the first woman to be awarded the A.M.Turing Award–an award regarded as the computer science equivalent of the Nobel Prize. Allen also received the 2002 Augusta Ada Lovelace Award from the Association of Women in Computing.
Rometty is the current CEO of IBM. She has degrees in both computer science and electrical engineering and began her work at IBM as a systems engineer, working her way up the chain (and various positions) before moving into the world of leadership and business. She has helped focus the company’s efforts on several important projects and goals, such as cloud computing, analytics businesses, and the stunning “Watson” computer. The Watson computer is a great technological advancement in the area of Artificial Intelligence; this computer can answer questions asked by people in common speech.
Mayer is the CEO of Yahoo! She graduated in 1999 from Stanford University with a Masters in Computer Science and with 14 job offers waiting for her. She chose to work for Google first, working as a developer and overseeing small engineering teams. She worked up the chain at Google and pushed herself into a good enough standing to be chosen by Yahoo! as CEO. Although there are mixed reviews regarding her performance and results at Yahoo, it’s clear that she possesses great STEM skill sets but might not have done quite as well in the business aspect as CEO. Overall she has still made great accomplishments and hopefully will be remembered for all of the good she has done.
Karaboutis is the Digital Officer at National Grid. She has a B.S. in Computer Science and has worked at the following companies: General Motors, Ford, Dell’s Vice President of IT and Global CIO, and Biogen. She played an integral and influential role at Dell before moving on to Biogen, where she focused the company to advance its use of IT solutions. Specifically, she pushed the company to work on wearable technology to help patients and health-care providers.
Novakovic was a literal undercover CIA agent and is now in the booming position of CEO forGeneral Dynamics – a defense contractor for the government. Under her leadership and direction, the companies stock has risen above its competitors in the past year. She has pushed the company heavily in the field of cybersecurity which has taken the corporation to new heights.
6. Lynn Good
In 2013, Good became the first female CEO of the nation’s largest utility company–Duke Energy. She is driving the direction of the company away from coal and says that over the next 10 years Duke Energy will invest over $10 billion in gas and renewable energy projects. An article published by Duke Energy says, “Under Good’s leadership, Duke Energy is embracing new technologies and forward-thinking strategies that strengthen the company’s environmental stewardship.”
Williams is the CEO and President of PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric Company). She has nearly 4 decades of experience in the energy industry. She earned her bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Miami and has held many positions in the energy field, such as: director at the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations (INPO) and Edison Electric Institute (EEI), CEO co-Chair of the Customer Energy Solutions Policy Committee, and she is on the board of the Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD). PG&E published an article about Williams saying, “During her tenure at PG&E, the company has become a leader in renewables integration, grid modernization and smart grid technologies, while also achieving the best electric reliability in company history.”
8. Debra Reed
Reed is President, CEO, and Chairman of the board of directors for Sempra Energy. Sempra is a Fortune 500 company based in San Diego that provides natural gas, electricity, and value-added products and services. It is a large corporation with more than 16,000 employees and an international consumer base of approximately 32 million. Reed graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Southern California. As detailed in an article by Sempra Energy, “In 2014, the U.S. Secretary of Energy appointed Reed to the National Petroleum Council, a privately funded, federally chartered industry advisory board to the federal government on matters pertaining to oil and natural gas industries.”
Wenger’s cousin was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was only fifteen. But, two years later, Wenger used her skills in computer science to design an artificial brain to detect indicators of this disease. This innovative project won her first prize in the Google Science Fair and she is now a computer science major at Duke University. Her breast cancer test is now being beta tested by two cancer research centers.
10. Ellen Kendall
Kendall is the “Steminist” student profile of their most recent post. Steminist focuses on announcing the important work women are currently making today in STEM fields and research. Kendall worked throughout high school to develop an inexpensive and renewable water filter that removes heavy metals from polluted water. The filter is intelligently made out of a chemical derived from seaweed and it can be used to stop heavy metal pollution in the environment and in drinking water worldwide.
As you can see from this extremely short list of influential women in STEM, if you have passion for a STEM-related project or goal, you can make it happen! Almost all of the women on this list are known for their astounding accomplishments and lasting footprints in their respective fields. They certainly had obstacles along the way, but let them be a demonstration to you that you can overcome anything. The last two are prime examples of female students your age doing incredible things. You could be on a list like this too if you work to follow through with your passions in STEM!
HINT: This information can be found in ‘My Top 10 Women in STEM’ so read CLOSELY
To complete the puzzle online on your device, visit this link! OR Click the download link below to download the PDF!Download Crossword
1. Last name of the first female CEO for Duke Energy
5. Phebe Novakovic worked for this branch of the government
6. This is the nation’s largest utility company
7. Sempra Energy is based in this city
11. Popular acronym for fields related to math, science, technology, and engineering
12. Nobel Prize equivalent of Computer Science
13. Last name of CEO for IBM
16. Adriana Karaboutis holds this position at National Grid
19. Women make up 22% of this specific engineering field
2. General Dynamics is this kind of federal contractor
3. Marissa Mayer was given this many job offers after graduating from Stanford University
4. Marissa Mayer is the CEO of this major company
5. Novakovic pushed General Dynamics into the direction of this type of security
8. Brittany Wenger was this age when she designed her Artificial Brain to help detect breast cancer
9. The name of the computer that IBM created
10. Rometty has degrees in both computer science and this type of engineering
14. First company Marissa Mayer chose to work for
15. First word of the abbreviated company title PG&E
17. This natural vegetation supplied a useful chemical for Ellen Kendall’s water filter
18. The name of the company that worked with wearable technology to help patients and health-care providers
To view the solution, follow one of these two options!
- Download the Solution as a PDF: Download Solution
- Follow this link, and simply click ‘Continue’ (the password should be left empty)
Apparently, the term “visitor” often refers to any woman walking around Georgia Tech’s campus. It is meant to make fun of the university’s highly skewed gender ratio.
As a female student at Georgia Tech, I had hoped this term was also a joke about stereotypes in the tech industry overall. Sadly, statistics say that it may be true that women on Georgia Tech’s campus are more likely to be visitors rather than students. The data indicates that out of 29,367 students, only 9,076 are women.That is a mere 30% of the total. And though there is good news in that the number of incoming female students is increasing, it still shows that Georgia Institute of Technology lacks a sufficient number of women in its student body. We still have a long way to go, and for many women on campus, the skewed gender distribution is an issue at the front of their mind.
In an interview with Sally Park, a junior at Georgia Tech majoring in Computer Science, she shared her personal experience with gender disparity on campus: “Sometimes I count how many girls are in my lecture hall just because I am curious. There are certainly some girls, but it is always a lot more guys than girls. The number drops even lower when I count girls of color.” Park says there have been many times when she was the only woman working on group projects and attending lectures.
“Working in teams dominated by boys sometimes made me feel really lonely,” Park continued; “I often felt disconnected from other students and the school. In my three years as a student at Georgia Tech, I have only had three female professors. If I had different questions regarding my career options, it is really hard to find female role models or graduates that I could go to for help.” Park emphasized that the imbalance of genders in the student body and faculty is one of the biggest issues that should be addressed at Georgia Tech.
Annie Antón, former chair of Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, also sees a lack of representation for women in the faculty and insists that steps towards gender equality are needed. “I have observed gender inequities that continually appear to disenfranchise the outstanding women on our faculty. I’ve worked hard to try to help them feel valued by, for example, seeking out opportunities for them, nominating them, and doing what I can to ensure their salaries are fair. Men are frequently nominated for awards and chaired positions by male-dominated committee … Among the nine in the College of Computing’s Dean’s cabinet, I am the only woman.”
Both Antón’s and Park’s candid remarks on their lives mean a lot to me as a young female student. We should cultivate and encourage a Georgia Tech environment in which female scientists and students feel valued. It is important that we address this issue clearly and blatantly. In the technology field so dominated by men, it can be easy for women to become numb to gender issues and equity. I, too, have become comfortable being completely surrounded by men at Georgia Tech because it happens so frequently. However, I realized that perhaps I have become desensitized to gender disparity. I think I have begun to accept it and ignore the circumstance as if it is completely normal that men dominate the field.
This happens subtly and gradually. It makes me fear that younger women with an interest in STEM fields may hold themselves back and doubt that women are suitable for such an undertaking. Technology is not “too geeky for girls,” and the idea that women are less capable of technological accomplishments than men is absolutely false.
The skewed gender ratio and differences in women’s experiences may seem daunting and discouraging for young women interested in STEM fields. However, when I really look around campus, I see many women who are academically driven. Those women dispel those doubts and develop a strong belief in themselves. Female students are not alienated from the rest of the male-dominated campus, and many of us are confident. The percentage of female computer science students has gradually increased from 14% to 23% over the last nine years. Additionally, according to the American Society for Engineering Education, Georgia Institute of Technology has the highest number of bachelor’s degrees awarded to women among 352 colleges between 2014 and 2015. Those results could not have been achieved if Georgia Tech had no support for women.
Georgia Tech has made a concerted effort to attract more women to STEM fields. Students can find a list of offices and programs that provide academic information and professional training to female students, such as Women in Engineering, the Women’s Resource Center, the M&M mentoring program, Women@Tech, and so on. There are numerous resources available, and women are urged to thrive in the technology industry by Georgia Tech. Yes, Georgia Tech wants to see women succeed! We may be the minority in each STEM field, but we are also encouraged to flourish!
I strongly encourage young women who are interested in STEM fields to remain confident in their abilities. These fields will not stay male-dominated if we challenge the existing system. If we have more women contributing to the sciences, more assistance to women scientists will develop, and STEM fields will become fairer and more inclusive for women. According to Frederick Pearsall, a senior lecturer in Georgia Tech’s School of Architecture, East architecture building didn’t even have female restrooms when it was built. But, today we have more female architecture major students than male. We can bring a change like this. I feel driven to encourage female students to leave behind their hesitation and move forward.
Women, aim high and do not let anything deter you for entering this world.