Black schoolgirl with molecular structure at the desk in chemistry laboratory

#MakeWhatsNext – Misses the Mark This Year

Three years ago, Microsoft launched a spring campaign to encourage girls to join STEM fields. Girls Do Science, the first of their ads, was inspirational. They gave girls hope – in the form of letters – that they could one day be the inventor, the maker. Year two (2016) gave them women to aspire to be. Inventors who made their mark in history.

This year, they released multiple advertisements in a row. The first two were great, again following the inspirational nature of the original campaign. The girls featured in the ad got to play with awesome technology (proving it is in fact still an advertisement for Microsoft products). They are even named inspirationally: Find the Cure and Be the Solution.
The third 2017 advertisement, however, dangerously misses the mark. Why dangerously? Because it follows the same common theme we teach girls and women (and honestly all minorities). Continue reading

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Women from Bones

Top 5 Fictional Women in STEM

Lately, there has been a lot of talk about how we can get girls involved in STEM and how they don’t have role models in pop culture (books, TV shows, movies, etc.). This is certainly true. A study by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media found that in 129 top-grossing family films (2006-2011), only 26 characters in STEM fields were female, compared to 134 male characters.

So, in honor of Women’s History Month, we decided to create a list of our favorite, awesome, STEM characters in pop culture. I had five fellow women help me come up with this awesome list of our top 5 favorite characters, and a list of 15 honorable mentions. They may not be “historical” but they are a part of pop culture history, and that’s important too!

Warning: There are lots of spoilers!

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From Bathrooms to Ballparks, the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration

“A ship in port is safe; but that is not what ships are built for.” – Admiral Grace Hopper

Last week, I attended the 2015 Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing, presented by the Anita Borg Institute (ABI). It’s the largest conference for women technologists in the world. It’s a cool historical feeling, to attend. ABI and GHC grew out of Systers and, an idea Anita Borg first thought of when she only ran into other women in the bathrooms at tech conferences because there were so few of them. Now, 15 years later, GHC is so large women routinely take over the male restrooms, and we had a dance party that filled the Astro’s ballpark.

Minute Maid Park

Minute Maid Park

It was my first time attending, and it was unlike any other conference I’ve ever attended. Not because it is rooms upon rooms filled with an elusive type of person – the female engineer and coder. Not because I was surrounded by 12,000 (that’s right 12 THOUSAND) women. Not because the big name male CEOs, like Blake Irving, straight up addressed the issue of gender discrimination.

Those are all true, and certainly make GHC an interesting experience. But the reason that makes GHC truly unique?

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