The world of science is full of interesting people who are striving to make changes for the better in our world. For the longest time, most of those people were men. But the tides have been shifting; now more than ever there is a stronger push to get young women and girls to pursue careers in science and technology. Here to help with that push are 7 successful women who study science:
Tiera Fletcher (Guinn) – How many people can say they were working for NASA before they’d even graduated college? Teira Fletcher (Guinn) can! While she was still in MIT’s aerospace engineering program, Fletcher was working part-time for Boeing, helping them to build NASA’s new Space Launch System. She graduated in June of 2017 with a 5.0 GPA and now works full-time on the project as a Rocket Structural Design and Analysis Engineer.
Dr. Cynthia Kenyon – Most humans want to live longer, but few go about figuring out how to do it. Dr. Kenyon has dedicated her work to understanding the process of aging and researching methods to prolong life. Her work with C. elegans, a species of roundworm, led to the discovery of a gene mutation that doubled the species life-span. This work was key to the later discovery that aging is linked to a hormone signalling-system, significantly increasing our understanding of how aging works at a molecular level.
Kate Crawford – Kate Crawford is a distinguished research professor at NYU and a principal researcher with Microsoft. She is also the co-founder of the first AI institute founded by women, called AI Now. AI Now focuses on the social implications of AI and how it affects the world around us. Their primary areas of focus are rights, labor, bias, and safety.
Dr. Quyen Nguyen – Dr. Nguyen is a neurologist at UCSD. Together, with Nobel prize winner, Dr. Roger Tsien, she discovered a method to make cancerous tumors glow neon green, allowing operating surgeons better see what tissue needs to be removed. So far the method has only been used on mice, but the method has paved the way for other applications, such as lighting up nerve endings to avoid further damage or assist in reparation surgery.
Jessica Matthews – Jessica Matthews is the founder and CEO of Uncharted Power, a renewable energy company that looks to provide clean energy by harnessing the power of kinetic energy. They have created a number of energy generating solutions such as speed-bumps and sidewalks that take in the kinetic energy of vehicles and pedestrians that cross over them. Matthews founded the company at just 22 years-old and holds 10 patents and patents-pending to her name. Her first was claimed when she was only 19, with her invention of the SOCCKET, a soccer ball that generates energy from being kicked.
Dr. Aditi Shankardass – Dr. Shankardass is a neurologist who specializes in children with developmental disorder, such as autism. Most diagnoses of autism are made through the observation of behavior, but Dr. Shankardass believes diagnoses should be made on something more concrete, like brain activity. Using EEG (electroencephalography) technology, she is able to monitor patient’s brain activity in real-time as they perform basic tasks. In a study she conducted with autistic children, almost 50% of the participants were found to be misdiagnosed, instead suffering from brain seizure activity that resulted in autistic-like behaviors.
Dr. Jennifer Doudna – Dr. Doudna is most known for her work with CRISPR/Cas-9 technology, which is used to edit DNA. In 2012, she and her colleagues invented a method of DNA editing using RNA. This system was simpler than previously used methods and drastically reduced the amount of time it took to edit genes. Since her invention of the CRISPR method, Doudna has gone on to be an active voice in the ethical uses of gene editing, cautioning scientists to conduct full studies on use before moving to human genome editing.
This list is by no means comprehensive and there are plenty of other names that deserve a spot, with new names being added to the run-up every day. But it promises good things for the future where both men and women can make their contribution to the well-being and progress of humankind.