With the Oscars shortly following E-Week, it made sense to share the story of five of my favorite leading ladies in STEM. These women have sparkled in the fields of architecture, arts and sciences proving to the world they are beautiful, smart and passionate human beings. I hope someday to be an eminence in my field, achieving what they have achieved: international fame and technical excellence recognition.
My cousin and his wife, both architects, introduced me to the Iraqi born legend by showing me pictures of her work. They are such great fans that they named their dogs after her! Take a look at the 2012 Olympics Aquatic center in London or the MAXXI museum in Rome and you will understand why she has been awarded The Royal Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of British Architects, the only woman ever honored by this 168 year old institution.
Blossom, as all 90s kids know her, decided to use the proceeds of her acting career to become a doctor in neuroscience. After a few years in hiatus, due to her studies at UCLA, she revived her acting career by embodying Dr. Sheldon Cooper’s girlfriend in CBS’s The Big Bang Theory. Why did Mayim accept the part? Because Dr. Amy Farrah Fowler is a neuroscientist too! Check out her research on Hypothalamic regulation in relation to maladaptive, obsessive-compulsive, affiliative, and satiety behaviors in Prader -Willi syndrome, which explores the roles of oxytocin and vasopresin in the neurological processes of those individuals diagnosed with this syndrome. Although she is a very educated person, her anti-scientific views on vaccination and children’s education have made her a pariah in some circles. I admire her career choices, not her scientific opinions though which is the reason she is on my top 5.
Sally K. Ride
There is no one that I admire more in aerospace than this lady. Sally was the first woman in space, the youngest American to do so at 32, and the first LGBT astronaut! That last part wasn’t known until her death of pancreatic cancer in 2012, sadly because her partner was denied collection of benefits from Sally’s service because at the time, the weren’t married because same sex marriage was illegal and unrecognized in the state they resided. As a physicist with a PhD, she managed many projects inside and out of NASA, participating in the Challenger and Columbia accident investigation teams. She is the only astronaut to have done the latter. I can’t stress enough how fundamentally influential her example was to me as a child. We all wanted to be Sally K. Ride, floating away in space, making women everywhere proud. 🙂
As a producer for Ubisoft in Montréal, Jade was resposible for bringing to life the Assasin’s Creed franchise. It is rare in the video game industry to have women in such an influential role, especially since they account for less than 18% of the gaming workforce. After departing Ubisoft, she joined EA (Electronic Arts) to manage Visceral Studios and the Star Wars game franchise. At barely 40 years of age, and with a BS in Computer Science, she has managed to do for women in gaming what no one else has accomplished; she serves as a role model for girls and ladies everywhere while creating content that portrayed females in strong lead roles. Can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
A little over ten years ago, Elizabeth dropped out of Stanford and started her own company called Theranos. Her mission? To find a way to make blood testing cheaper, more precise and effective while using less amounts of materials, tools and diagnostic samples. With the help of her team, she has developed a machine that can do over 30 tests in minutes, using the same sample, and costing less than the traditional methods! Labs everywhere, starting with Walgreens across the West Coast, are in line to get these machines during the market test runs because it will enable them to exponentially increase business revenue and would allow them to reach a new customer base. By not paying exorbitant amounts of cash for a test, mainstream Americans could walk up to an establishment with one of these machines and get any type of screening performed, fast! Medicare and Medicaid are already expecting dozens of millions in savings, so she is even saving the taxpayers money with her innovation. I applaud her entreprenurial spirit. Not everyone would give up their college fund to design something that saves lives. Walking the road less traveled is never easy but totally worth it.
These women’s efforts show that a woman on a mission cannot be stopped, proving that brains and brawn are not only reserved for the male portion of our species. We need more brave entrepreneurs and leaders to continue to innovate, create and build the technologies and techniques required to foster progress in all technical and social fields of employment and study. If they could do it so could you, your sister, your wife, your daughter and even your mom and grandma can accomplish the unthinkable. Imagine the possibilities. They are endless! 😀