March is marked as Women's Month and specifically as Women's History Month. As March draws to a close, we've decided to dedicate this piece to all women, to honor all of their hardworking efforts and work, and especially to honor every woman who is striving to be independent, have a voice, and play an active role in society.
As you may know, the theme for this year's Women's Day was "Breaking the Bias," but this theme applies to celebrating Women's history throughout the entire month.Aside from honoring all women of all races and ages, we will be honoring Women in STEM who have not only made significant contributions but are also regarded as role models for other women and a source of motivation for them to pursue their dreams and fight for their rights.
Several women in STEM impacted history over the years, here are a few as mentioned in 12 Historical Women in STEM You’ve Probably Never Heard Of by The College of St. Scholastica and Women in STEM: 2021 by Sigma XI.
Cecilia Payne (1900 -1972)
Cecilia Payne graduated from Cambridge University around the 1920s, traveled to the US, and was the first among both men and women to earn a doctorate in Astronomy from Harvard and then was the first woman to get the position of Chair of Astronomy Department. Cecilia Payne was known for the doctoral thesis she worked on, in which she answered the question of “What are stars made of?”
Katherine Johnson (1918 - 2020)
Katherine Johnson enrolled at West Virginia State University in 1933 and graduated with a degree in mathematics. In 1953, she was assigned to the National Advisory Committee as a Research Mathematician at the Langley Research Center. She worked on an all-male flight research team, and her efforts were recognized in several major space programs.
Missy Cummings (1966 - Present)
Missy Cummings is an electrical and computer engineering professor at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering. She was the country's first female fighter pilot who joined the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2021. Her hard work and determination to achieve her goals pushed her to break down stereotypes and change academia to recognize the study of human interaction with technology as a legitimate field for both men and women.
Gilda Barabino (1956 - Present)
Gilda Barabino earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in 1978, with minors in Biology and Mathematics. She was elected president of Olin College, one of the top engineering schools in the United States. With that accomplished, she rose to become one of the most remarkable women of color, particularly in STEM.
Several women are inspired by her position to become engineers and pursue their dreams despite all odds. Gilda Barabino has received numerous awards and honors throughout her career, the most recent being the National Academy of Engineering Fellow in 2019.
Marlene De La Cruz
Marlene De La Cruz is a Hispanic woman, which adds to her challenges and barriers. Despite this, Marlene De La Cruz overcame all obstacles and became the Director of Student Academic Development at the University of California, Irvine's Minority Science Programs. She resisted and persisted in a challenging environment, and was motivated to keep going despite everything. She believes that all women understand their values and can succeed; they need to remind themselves of this and pursue their goals and dreams.
Several women have done and accomplished a lot. It is important to note that women supporting women is an essential aspect of a woman's success. Don't let anyone diminish your talent or skills, regardless of your age or race. Pursue your dreams, fight for your rights, and achieve everything you desire. Here's to all the strong women we know!