The Impact of Women in STEM Fields
Let’s hear it for women in STEM fields! From the discovery of Radon to writing the first computer code, many women have made significant achievements and contributions to various STEM fields of study. These women have likely faced and overcome discrimination and social challenges to do so. Historically, and even to this day, a gender inequity exists in these fields of study, yet STEM careers are quickly growing and have the potential for earning higher salaries. Focusing on women’s contributions is one way that parents and teachers can establish an importance of women in STEM careers.
Here are just a few notable women in history that you may want to discuss with your children and research more in-depth this month.
“I tell young people to reach for the stars. And I can’t think of a greater high than you could possibly get than by inventing something.”- Stephanie Kwolek
Edith Clark was an electrical engineer. She patented a device used to solve electric power transmission line issues, the Clark Calculator and wrote Circuit Analysis of A-C Power Systems in 1493 in 1921 and went on to become the first female Electrical Engineering professor.
“There is no demand for women engineers, as such, as there are for women doctors; but there’s always a demand for anyone who can do a good piece of work.” – Edith Clarke
Etta Falconer was one of the first African-American women to receive a Ph. D in mathematics. She received awards for outstanding work in mathematics education.
“My entire career has been devoted to increasing the number of African American women in mathematics and mathematics-related careers.” – Etta Falconer, 1995.
Ada Lovelace is often referred to as the first computer programmer. She worked on an early mechanical general-purpose computer and is believed to have written a step by step operation for the machine.
“That brain of mine is something more than merely mortal, as time will show.” – Ada Lovelace
Marie Curie, a Physicist and Chemist, was twice awarded the Nobel Prize for her work and contributions to her research with Radon.
“Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.” – Marie Curie
Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman to fly in space, June 16, 1963. The Vostok 6 flight orbited the Earth 48 times.
“Once you’ve been in space, you appreciate how small and fragile the Earth is.” – Valentina Tereshkova
Challenge and Inspire Girls (and Boys) in STEM Fields
Together, let us challenge and inspire a new generation of STEMists.
What women in history have inspired you and your child…
To think big?
To ask questions?
To delve deeper into an idea?
To brainstorm possibilities?
To strengthen a prototype?
To solve the why’s?
To find solutions?
Share your inspiration on social media using the hashtag #StemPowerKids #SylvanLearning
For my daughter, Marie Curie was the spark that inspired the idea of her wanting to be a scientist.
When my daughter first read about Marie Curie at age 5, she proclaimed that she would be a scientist. She spent much time afterward mixing sand and clay in the backyard “science lab.” In kindergarten, her school had a day where the children dressed up as a famous person in history – she was a mini Marie Curie. Now a grade schooler, she is very curious about the world and asks lots of questions. Her school librarian supplies her with many books and she is now doing her own experiments after school. As part of a citizen scientist research group, every year she collects monarch caterpillars, raises them, and records data to be submitted for review.
As a parent, her enthusiasm for science is contagious and I continuously look for ways to keep her engaged and excited about STEM fields of study.
Up to the STEM Challenge? Give Your Child an EDGE with Sylvan Learning
Sylvan Learning is committed to challenging and inspiring the next generation of scientists, technology specialist, engineers, and mathematicians. They offer accelerated after school STEM programs to foster confidence and provide hands-on learning experiences. So, give your child an edge this year! Click the links below to learn more about their offerings: