Dear Members, Sponsors, Volunteers, Supporters, and Friends,
According to the World Economic Forum, "less than a third of female students choose to study higher education courses in subjects like math and engineering." Unfortunately, this is not a surprising statistic. The lack of women in STEM fields, including math and engineering, is precisely why Women & Hi Tech exists - to change the landscape of women represented in STEM to be equally inclusive to all.
Countless studies and reports have attributed a lack of modeling for K-12 girls as one of the many reasons for the gender gap in STEM. The lack of modeling intensifies for our diverse girls. With increased exposure and modeling, K-12 girls have the chance to learn about all the exciting possibilities, unlimited opportunities, and the many personal and professional rewards to be achieved by choosing a path in science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM). When girls see a woman who looks like them in a STEM career, it bolsters their confidence and allows them to envision themselves belonging in STEM too.
Women & Hi Tech's female engineers featured in this issue of Grown from STEM, inspired me to research famous female engineers. As I had suspected, women have been significant contributors to engineering innovation since the beginning. Case in point, we need more diverse female engineers today and in the future to continue to advance and innovate the field of engineering. How do we accomplish this goal?
A small step is to learn, share, and make it part of our collective conversation. To celebrate and learn about the accomplishments of more female engineers, I am sharing a few of the women I learned about in my research.
Dr. Willie Hobbs Moore was a physicist and engineer. She was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Physics in June 1972 at the University of Michigan. Her dissertation, directed by the renowned spectroscopist Samuel Krimm, was on the subject of "A Vibrational Analysis of Secondary Chlorides," and focused on a theoretical analysis of the secondary chlorides for polyvinyl-chlorine polymers. Moore held engineering positions at Bendix Aerospace Systems Division, Barnes Engineering Company, Sensor Dynamics Inc, and later became an Executive with Ford Motor Company. Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Moore made major advancements in the quality methods and engineering technology at Ford and throughout the automotive industry. Dr. Moore was also extremely active in the advancement of STEM education for minorities. To read more about Dr. Willie Hobbs Moore, please visit: https://aadl.org/aa_news_19910204-a_driving_force_at_ford and https://www.nsbp.org/en/cev/94.
Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus, known as the "queen of carbon science,” was an American nanotechnologist. Dr. Dresselhaus earned her B.A. in Hunter College in 1951 and her Ph.D. from University of Chicago in 1958. She was an Institute Professor and Professor Emerita of physics and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) for 50 years. Dr. Dresselhaus' research made fundamental discoveries in the electronic structure of semi-metals. Her work on using quantum structures to improve thermoelectric energy conversion reignited this research field. Dr. Dresselhaus was awarded both the Presidential Medal of Freedom (from President Barack Obama in 2014) and the National Medal of Science (from President George H.W. Bush in 1990). Dr. Dresselhaus is also well-known for her work to develop more opportunities for women in science and engineering. Please read more about Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus at http://news.mit.edu/2017/institute-professor-emerita-mildred-dresselhaus-dies-86-0221.
Dr. Ellen Ochoa is an engineer and former astronaut. She has earned a Bachelor's in Physics from San Diego State University, as well as a Master's in Science and a Doctorate in Electrical Engineering both from Stanford University. While a researcher at the NASA Ames Research Center, Dr. Ochoa led a team working on optical systems for automated space exploration. She patented an optical system to detect defects in a repeating pattern, and is a co-inventor on three patents for an optical inspection system, an optical object recognition method, and a method for noise removal in images respectively. In 1993, Dr. Ochoa was the first Hispanic person to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery. Dr. Ochoa was also the first Hispanic Director and second female Director of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Please read more about Ellen Ochoa at https://www.nasa.gov/centers/johnson/about/people/orgs/bios/ochoa.html.
I highly encourage our readers to share this newsletter about Women & Hi Tech's very own accomplished engineers along with these famous women engineers with your daughters, nieces, granddaughters, girl scout troops, and other K-12 girls in your lives. I hope these women - who are certainly changing the landscape of engineering and STEM to be equally inclusive to all - will serve as personification and inspiration for our girls that they too can be an engineer and leave their mark in STEM!
In this 19th edition of "Grown from STEM," Women & Hi Tech would like to introduce you to two extremely accomplished engineering professionals in different STEM industries. We invite you to meet and get acquainted with our President-Elect, Linda Hicks, Vice President of Midwest Operations at EEC Horizon. We would also like to introduce you to one of our dedicated members, Poonam Gill, a Learning Design & Technology Grad Student at Purdue University. Please read more about Linda and Poonam and how their backgrounds, education, business acumen, and passion for developing and promoting the future generations of diverse female engineers and STEM professionals helps fuel their support and involvement in Women & Hi Tech.
President, Women & Hi Tech
Managing Director of Sales, Bell Techlogix