Celebrating Women's History Month

The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) is spotlighting 10 American women—past and present STEM pioneers—whose remarkable contributions and discoveries in the STEM fields have made a significant impact in our world. Here is the list: 

  • Gladys West is an American mathematician known for her contributions to the mathematical modeling of the shape of the Earth, and her work on the development of the satellite geodesy models that were eventually incorporated into the Global Positioning System (GPS).
  • Barbara McClintock was an American scientist whose discovery in the 1940s and 50s of mobile genetic elements, or “jumping genes,” won her the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1983.
  • Flossie Wong-Staal was a Chinese-American virologist and molecular biologist. She was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes, which was a major step in proving that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

  • Grace Hopper was an American trailblazing computer scientist and United States Navy rear admiral. One of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark I computer, she was a pioneer of computer programming who invented one of the first linkers.

  • Patricia Bath was an American ophthalmologist, inventor, humanitarian, and academic. She was the inventor of laser cataract surgery. Bath’s invention was called the Lazerphaco Probe.

  • Gertrude Elion was an American biochemist and pharmacologist known for her scientific discovery of drugs to treat leukemia and herpes and drugs to prevent the rejection of kidney transplants.

  • Rana el Kaliouby is an Egyptian-American computer scientist, technologist, entrepreneur, and business leader, who invented artificial emotional intelligence, or Emotion AI, cutting-edge software that analyzes complex and nuanced emotion and cognitive states from the human face and voice.

  • Dian Fossey was an American primatologist and conservationist known for researching the endangered gorillas of the Rwandan mountain forest from the 1960s to the 1980s.

  • Antonia Novello is a Puerto Rican physician and public health administrator. She was a vice admiral in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corp and the first woman and the first Hispanic to become the Surgeon General of the United States.

  • Annie Jump Cannon was an American astronomer whose cataloging work was instrumental in the development of contemporary stellar classification.

How do you promote a more expansive view of who science people are in your science classroom?  What strategies do you use to teach resilience and normalize struggles in the science classroom?