In what ways can we encourage more women to become mentors and advocates for diversity and inclusion in STEM fields, and how can this lead to greater innovation and progress?
The domains of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are traditionally associated with groundbreaking research and innovation that carry significant societal impact. The contributions made by women in these fields have expanded the horizons of STEM research and opened up new opportunities for future generations of women pursuing careers in STEM.
As the only fully-accredited academic institute committed to breaking down barriers and enabling students to pursue their passions, Pioneer Academics takes great pride in empowering 4,801 (2018-2022) female high school scholars to make great contributions in research.
Today we are highlighting the extraordinary achievements of 11 revolutionary women leaders in STEM. These women have been recognized with the highest honors in their respective fields and founded companies that challenge the status quo, thereby proving that women are equally capable of achieving excellence in STEM.
Elizabeth H. Blackburn was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for her groundbreaking work in discovering the molecular nature of telomeres. Telomeres are indicators of long life in the human gene. There was a highly significant relationship between early life telomere length and longevity: individuals that had longer telomeres at 25 d had a significantly longer lifespan.
With this discovery, we are one step closer to understanding how to extend human life with our genetic components as the blueprint.
The brain is the most complex organ we have in the human body. May-Britt Moser wanted to show us exactly how complex by mapping out the network of cells that form the brain’s navigational system. This achievement won her the The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2014.
With her foundational work, we are able to map out the brain and have possible applications in the cure of Alzheimer and other brain related diseases.The human brain contains 100 billion neurons and 10× more glial cells.
With how little space there was for women back in the day, Araceli Venegas-Gomez found her calling by giving those women the opportunity to take control of their career. She is the founder and director of Qureca, a quantum resource and careers startup that wants to create opportunities for people and businesses with quantum technologies globally.
By creating her company, she opened the doors for more people to get training and jobs for quantum computing. In terms of revenue, the global quantum computing market size was valued at around USD 457.9 million in 2021 and is projected to reach USD 5274.9 million, by 2030.
Reaching the stars has always been a dream for humanity. Even back in the days of old, people wondered what the stars might be like. Now that we have set foot into the moon itself, our next goal is to reach other planets and see what they have to offer. Ayanna Howard saw this new horizon and created the Safe Navigation Rover, designed to assess the terrain using human-based logic and choose safe paths accordingly.
By integrating a machine that can learn and adapt to the terrain, she has opened the door for NASA to use more of these in space exploration. There are about 2.7 million industrial robots in use across the globe. Roughly 400,000 new robots enter the market every year. The global market value of the industrial robotics industry is $43.8 billion.
When it comes to engineering, SpaceX (an American space transportation company) is always mentioned. Founded by Gwynne Shotwell, this company has expanded the horizon for telecommunication with the creation of Starlink.
Starlink is a satellite internet constellation operated by SpaceX. Starlink consists of over 3,580 mass-produced small satellites in low Earth orbit. In total, nearly 12,000 satellites are planned to be deployed, with a possible later extension to 42,000. With this creation, we are able to connect the world even more.
During the rise of the pandemic, the search for the vaccine was on. This endeavor helped push Özlem Türeci to create BioNTech with her husband. Together, the company created the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. Currently, 12.7 billion vaccine doses have been administered across 184 countries.
When talking about women in STEM, we have to acknowledge that they are often shafted from the glory they deserve. This applies to Andrea M. Ghez and her discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy. Ghez measured the movement of stars at the galaxy’s core and found evidence that at the center is a supermassive black hole with over three million times the mass of our sun.
She was supposed to get the Nobel Prize but was removed by the winner due to her discovering Pulsars as a grad student. The one who took the award is her professor. This is still being debated as of today. While she wasn’t the recipient, her discovery was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2020.
We often hear the saying that numbers don’t lie. Mathematics seems to embody principles and assumptions which are universally valid. Due to this, discovering something new can be groundbreaking as it ripples across all other fields of sciences. One such discovery is when Maryna Sergiivna Viazovska solved the sphere-packing problem in dimension 8 and, in collaboration with others, the sphere-packing problem in dimension 24.
She created a proof E8 lattice provides the densest packing of identical spheres in 8 dimensions. The E8 lattice is remarkable in that it gives optimal solutions to the sphere packing problem and the kissing number problem in 8 dimensions.
This achievement won her the Fields Medal. The Fields Medal is awarded every four years on the occasion of the International Congress of Mathematicians to recognize outstanding mathematical achievement for existing work and for the promise of future achievement. The Fields Medal is regarded as one of the highest honors a mathematician can receive and considered as the Nobel Prize of Mathematics.
When you think about the 60’s, you don’t often think of women working outside the home. This was not enough for Dame Vera Stephanie “Steve” Shirley. She founded Freelance Programmers,now known as Xansa, that allowed women to work from home.
Freelance Programmers/ Xansa is a software business from her dining table which grew to employ 8,500 people and was ultimately valued at almost $3 billion. By creating this company, she gave opportunities to women to find work and take part in STEM. This created the foundation for women to see the possibilities of being in that field.
When you think of how much excess we now have in society, you might be surprised to find out that world hunger is on the rise. After steadily declining for a decade, world hunger is on the rise, affecting nearly 10% of people globally.
Seeing this possibly affecting more underprivileged people, Maria Andrade created nine drought-tolerant varieties of sweet potatoes to farmers in Mozambique. These crops are engineered to thrive in areas in which plant life is hard to survive in. These 9 Vitamin A enriched sweet potatoes were bred to survive in the varying conditions of Sub-Saharan Africa and to counteract Vitamin A deficiencies. With her work, she was awarded the World Food Prize.
The World Food Prize is an international award recognizing the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity, or availability of food in the world.
When it comes to discovery, you might be shocked to find out sometimes the implementation of that comes later on. That is the case when Donna Theo Strickland discovered the practical implementation of chirped pulse amplification.
Chirped pulse amplification (CPA) is a technique for amplifying an ultrashort laser pulse up to the petawatt level. The biggest possible implementation of this discovery is cancer treatment as it can be used to pinpoint deep tissue tumors. As of January 2022, it is estimated that there are 18.1 million cancer survivors in the United States.
The groundbreaking discoveries and contributions made by extraordinary women in STEM have demonstrated the immense value and impact of women’s participation in these fields.
By examining the achievements of these pioneering women, we can showcase the essential contributions of women to the advancement of STEM research. Moreover, their successes serve as an inspiration for the next generation of women, who may be encouraged to pursue research in STEM and break down the barriers that have traditionally impeded women’s participation in these fields.
As more individuals, particularly women, are enabled to pursue STEM careers, we can expect to achieve greater discoveries and innovations that benefit the world at large.
As a premier academic institution dedicated to facilitating access and opportunity, Pioneer Academics recognizes the significance of these women’s contributions and seeks to amplify their voices and encourage future generations to follow in their footsteps.
A Guided Experience of Impactful Contributions
At Pioneer Academics, we are dedicated to cultivating an inclusive learning environment that enables student leaders to explore their passions, transcending the barriers of gender, ethnicity, and societal expectations.
We take pride in nurturing a culture that empowers our students to excel, shattering the glass ceilings that constrain them by challenging them to conduct the research at the highest level for high school students.
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