Celebrating Women in Science and Innovation

This Women’s History Month we only need to look around us to know the future is bright for women in STEM. When we support diversity and representation in STEM, and celebrate the women working hard for our scientific enterprise every day, we open doors for the STEM leaders of tomorrow.

This month, Chairwoman Haley Stevens (D-MI) of the Subcommittee on Research & Technology visited the If/Then She Can exhibit to celebrate & recognize the many achievements of women in STEM.

Inspiring Women in STEM

Chemist Rosalind Franklin’s research on X-ray diffraction was pivotal in discovering the molecular “double helix” structure of DNA. Unfortunately, she wasn’t credited for her contribution until years after her death.

Dr. Cecilia Aragon is an award-winning computer scientist & champion aerobatic pilot. From co-inventing the treap data structure to designing software for Mars missions at NASA, Dr. Aragon is an inspiration to future generations of women in STEM.

Mary G. Ross, a member of the Cherokee Nation, was the first known Native American female engineer. She designed fighter jets & planes for Lockheed, & became the only woman in the group of 40 founding engineers of their highly-classified Skunk Works project.

Yvonne Clark was the first woman to earn a mechanical engineering degree from Howard University and first woman engineering professor at Tennessee State University. She also worked at NASA helping design the containers Neil Armstrong used to return moon samples to Earth.

Self-taught polar scientist & photographer Louise Arner Boyd explored uncharted regions of Greenland with her aerial mapping camera. Her photos helped create new maps of the region. Later, in 1955, she became the first woman to fly over the North Pole.

Dr. Susan La Flesche Picotte was the first Native American to earn a medical degree. After seeing her community discriminated against for care, she worked to become a physician. At 24 she returned to the Omaha Reservation & cared for more than 1200 patients over 400+ miles.

Dr. Sara Josephine Baker, the first woman to earn a doctorate in public health, helped increase medical care access in NYC. From identifying Typhoid Mary to training healthcare workers & lowering infant mortality rates, Dr. Baker was instrumental to the city’s public health.

Stephanie Castillo is dedicated to filling the diversity gap in STEM. As co-founder of Latina Girls Code, she empowers young women by providing them with computers, mentors, and technology classes to foster their interest in technology careers.

Former NOAA Chief Scientist Dr. Sylvia Earle has logged over 7,000 hours underwater! Her explorations and research on marine ecosystems inspire us to conserve and protect the ocean.

As the first Black woman surgeon in the South, Dr. Dorothy Lavinia Brown has been a long-time inspiration to future physicians. She often said she was proud to be a role model, “not because I have done so much, but to say to young people that it can be done.”

In 1983, Barbara McClintock won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her work in genetics–the 1st woman to be the sole award winner! For years her work was seen as “too radical,” but McClintock’s dedication resulted in the discovery of “jumping genes.”

Marie Tharp was excluded from scientific expeditions because of her gender. With data obtained by a male colleague, Tharp drew details of the seafloor: miles of underwater ridges & mountains. Her work helped create the 1st map of the entire ocean floor.

Computer technology pioneer, Grace Hopper, programmed the first electronic computer model while serving in the US Navy during WWII. She went on to develop the first compiler, a word she coined herself, which translates written instruction into computer code.

Sally Ride was the first American woman and the youngest person in space! When NASA‘s astronaut program began accepting women, she was one of six women selected. Ride’s career broke barriers, inspiring more women and girls to reach for the stars.

Highlights from our Members

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Science Committee Democrats

Science Committee Democrats

U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology