The Leading Ladies of STEM: Giving a Voice to Women in the Sciences

Ask any young girl in the U.S. today to name the top five leading ladies in Hollywood and they’re likely to recite with ease a complete and accurate list in less than sixty seconds. But ask them to come up with five names of past and present notable females in science and technology and they’ll undoubtedly need some help from a Google search.

Even then, the names that surface may be as foreign to them as the subjects in which these women of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) are renowned. After all, how many of us are familiar with the latest research in artificial radioactivity, nuclear fission or environmental remediation?

When it comes to the topic of women in science, Marie Curie (1867-1934) is the one name that typically emerges from the void. Actively promoting throughout her life the use of radium to alleviate suffering, she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize in physics in 1903 and the first person to win a second in 1911. In fact, her daughter Irène Curie-Joliot (1897-1956) followed closely in her footsteps and won the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1935, making them the first parent-child duo to have independently won this prestigious award. That’s no small feat. Though Curie achieved great notoriety, her quiet, dignified and unassuming demeanor is certainly characteristic of many brilliant, dedicated and determined women who have made significant discoveries, yet remain in the shadows.

Consider the general obscurity of Lois Marie Gibbs, who in 1978 discovered that her Love Canal neighborhood in Niagara Falls, New York and the school her child attended were both built atop a toxic dumping site for the Occidental Petroleum company. After succeeding in a campaign to relocate 900 families, Gibbs founded the Center for Health, Environment, and Justice in 1981 and helped organize grassroots efforts nationwide to raise awareness of the devastating impact toxic chemicals have on human health, particularly in the development of young children.

Women like Curie and Gibbs, inarguably natural-born investigators, possess a strong desire and passion for science, but even if it is in a young woman’s nature to pursue the unworn path, it’s the nurturing piece of the puzzle that continues to elude the gender and present the greatest obstacles. Though statistics vary by country, there’s a general consensus girls feel less motivated to choose STEM fields and have less confidence in their abilities than boys.

For example, a British study prepared for the London Mathematical Society found 42 percent of undergraduates in math are female yet only 6 percent of math professors are women. And in the U.S., according to a census bureau report, despite making up about half of the workforce overall, women still represent only about 26 percent of workers in STEM fields. In fact, there are dozens of studies, including a report published by Tools For Change entitled “Double Jeopardy? Gender Bias Against Women in Science,” that point to the role of cultural attitudes and their significant influence on the number of women in STEM careers.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to offer science as a real and viable career choice for a young woman before she reaches the conclusion that the fight is not worth the effort required to overcome the obstacles standing in her way.Imagine if Marie Curie or Jane Goodall, the world-renowned British primatologist, called it quits, collapsing under the weight of discrimination. Or more crucial, imagine a female Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein coming up in the world today with her future hanging in the balance.

Perhaps one day, young girls in the U.S., rather than associating the name Elizabeth with the actress whose last name is Banks, will think of Blackwell—the first to become a female medical doctor in the United States. Or instead of pairing the first name Rachel with the last name McAdams—yet another American actress—they’ll associate it with Carson—the American marine biologist and conservationist who brought to light the hazards of dangerous pesticides like DDT and revolutionized the global environmental movement.

Dr. Kristen Thoreson

About The Author

Dr. Kristen Thoreson leads the chemical research and product development program at REGENESIS®, the global leader in advanced environmental remediation technologies. A trained chemist, Thoreson’s graduate and post-doctorate research focused on mechanistic investigations of biotic and abiotic chlorinated ethene degradation pathways using molecular model systems and compound specific isotope analysis (CSIA). She obtained her BSc in chemistry from the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, and her PhD in inorganic chemistry from the University of Minnesota and spent time as a postdoctoral associate at the Helmholtz Zentrum in Munich, Germany as a part of the research unit for environmental organic isotope chemistry.


Founded in 1994, REGENESIS is a global environmental remediation company leading in the research, development and commercialization of technology-based solutions designed to restore contaminated soil and groundwater. REGENESIS’ scientifically proven, patented in situ products and solutions have successfully removed or neutralized hazardous industrial chemicals and toxins in more than 25,000 soil and groundwater cleanup projects across the globe. REGENESIS is the green choice for leading engineering, construction and environmental consulting firms serving a broad range of clients, including developers, insurance companies, manufacturers, municipalities, regulatory agencies and federal, state and local governments. Driven by a desire to assist those charged with managing the complex environmental challenges of the 21st century, REGENESIS not only simplifies processes and significantly reduces costs; but also contributes to a cleaner, healthier and more prosperous world. For more information, visit

Girls in Tech Appoints Ten Inspiring Executives to Its Board of Directors

IBM, Cisco, Samsung Electronics,, Intel, Blurb, EmbraceHer Health, Automattic, Diamius Multinational, and Axosoft among the amazing companies now represented on the Girls In Tech Board.

SAN FRANCISCO – Girls In Tech, an organization focused on empowerment, engagement, and education of women in technology, announces the appointment of ten new outstanding business leaders to its Board of Directors.  All ten members are CEO’s or Senior Executives in their field.

The new Girls in Tech board members are:

  1.   Monique Morrow, CTO, Evangelist New Frontiers Development and Engineering at Cisco
  2.   Fran Maier, Board Director of G.E. Capital Bank, Founder of TRUSTe, and Co-Founder of
  3.   Darrell Mockus, CTO, CPP Innovation Labs
  4.   Bev Crair, VP and General Manager, Storage Group, Intel
  5.   Elizabeth Davidson, Co-Founder, Diamius Multinational
  6.   Denise Terry, CEO and Co-Founder, EmbraceHer Health
  7.   Donna Boyer Chief Product Officer, Blurb
  8.   Lori McLeese, VP of Human Resources, Automattic
  9.   Lawdan Shojaee, CEO, Axosoft
  10.   Jonathan Abrams, CEO, Nuzzel

Their combined skills will be a major asset to the Girls in Tech Global Organization.  With their love for mentorship, high-powered executive tenure in the STEM space, successful entrepreneurship endeavors, major international relations, and most importantly, amazing life experiences to share, this group has a combined leadership resume’ that is unmatched.

“I am very excited to be a Girls in Tech Board member as I believe very strongly that we have the opportunity to be bold and to transform this world together for girls and women in technology,” says Monique Morrow, CTO, Cisco.

Here are some highlights of their accomplishments:

Monique Morrow – Top 10 influential women in I.T. (2014), holds 7 patents with more pending, has been in Engineering with Cisco since 2000, and has a degree in French

Fran Maier – Co/Founder at, Advisor to many amazing companies, Stanford Graduate, Former Executive Director, CEO, Board Chair & President at TRUSTe and Board Director at GE Capital Bank

Darrell Mockus- Former CTO at Samsung Accelerator, Senior Partner at Predictive Research Group, and former engineer at Live Nation

Bev Crair  – Has worked for Cisco, Sun Microsystems, and Unisys, now employed by Intel since 2010, holds a Pepperdine MBA, stand­ing mem­ber of the Dean’s Advi­sory Coun­cil at the UC Santa Cruz Baskin School of Engi­neer­ing

Elizabeth Davidson – Co-Founder of Diamius Multinational, member of Sir Richard Branson’s Advisory Counsel for the XTC Academy, which empowers visionary entrepreneurs, award-winning author of Funky to Fabulous: Surefire Success Strategies for the Savvy, Sassy and Swamped, and a featured Huffington Post Columnist

Denise Terry – 10x Startup Entrepreneur with 20 years experience leading product and marketing for disruptive technology companies and early stage startups across mobile, voice, cloud, consumer Internet

Donna Boyer – Worked at companies such as Yahoo!, Dig­i­tal­Think, Per­son­ify, Hype­r­ion, and Harvard Busi­ness School, Loves Ed Tech, holds over 21 years of Product Management experience

Lori McLeese – World traveler, B.A. in Early Childhood Education and M.A. in Teaching, Former Chief People Officer at Room to Read

Lawdan Shojaee – Currently helping build Arizona’s tech eco-system, Chair at A.T. Still University, holds a Doctorate in Physical Therapy, and has over 800 hours logged at the controls of a single engine plane

Jonathan Abrams – Co/Founder and Former CEO of Friendster, Socializr, and HotLinks, co/Founder of Founder’s Den

“We’re confident that our hand-picked selection of new Board members will carry our organization to new heights,” says CEO and Founder of Girls In Tech, Adriana Gascoigne, “Now more than ever, we’re focused on the future development of high-impact programming and curriculum to further enhance women’s professional aspirations in technology.”

Girls in Tech is entering a challenging and exciting time, as discrimination in education and equality in the workplace continues to be an issue and the demand for technological innovation continues to rise. We have a tradition of high-quality programming, curriculum and activism related to empowerment, and engagement and education of women working in technology.

“I can’t wait to put my energy and my efforts towards GIT, and together, help shift the perceptions of females in the industry. Together, we can help change the landscape for our next generation,” says Lawdan Shojaee, CEO of Axosoft.

These ladies will be bringing their skill sets and tenured expertise to the table– encouraging and enhancing current Girls in Tech programming, creating greater brand awareness, growing multiple chapters all around the world, helping drive fundraising campaigns, offering guidance on key operational management tasks, bringing major real time issues and opportunities within tech to the forefront, and of course, advocating the Girls in Tech brand and mission!

They will also support (4) main programs within the organization:

Lots of work ahead but nothing this group can’t handle.  Stay connected with Girls In Tech on Twitter @GirlsinTech Facebook /GirlsinTech/, and Linked In /in/girlsintech.

About Girls in Tech

Girls in Tech is the largest global organization in the sector, creating awareness of the need to recognize women’s contributions to technology and promoting women working in the workforce. With over 47 active chapters and approximately 22,000 members, the organization provides Global Classroom courses, coding and design boot camps, confidence-building and product development, entrepreneurial and leadership programming, business pitch competitions, hackathons, networking events, conferences, and sponsors young girls in high school and middle school to participate in STEM workshops.


President Kate Brodock talks with STEM Women about her role in GIT

STEM Women HOA spoke with Kate Brodock, President of Girls in Tech, about her role within the organization, her experience in the tech startup community, and the success stories from Girls in Tech.

Join us for #STEMforHer on Twitter to Interview Divya Nag on Monday, 3.24

As part of National Women’s History Month, we’re pleased to take part in an exciting twitter conversation with Divya Nag, Co-Founder of Stem Cell Theranostics and StartX Med.

As STEM continues to heavily influence technological advances and future innovations, the National Women’s Business Council (NWBC) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) will facilitate a #STEMforHer twitter chat to highlight the growing interest of women and girls in STEM.

#STEMforHer is an online dialogue aimed at advancing the conversation as it relates to women and girls pursuing careers in STEM. Joining the conversation are prominent women innovators and organizations including: Goldie Blox, Girls in Tech, and one of STEM’s youngest women entrepreneurs– Divya Nag.


Who: The National Women’s Business Council (@NWBC), Divya Nag (@Dnag09), Goldie Blox (@GoldieBlox), Girls in Tech (@GirlsinTech), and the Small Business Administration (@SBAGov)

How: Twitter hashtag #STEMforHer

When: Monday, 24 March from 2-3pm EST

AP Engineering?

Did you know that plans are in the works to create an AP Engineering curriculum? Though many might be surprised to learn this STEM staple doesn’t already exist, others have been waiting until K-12 schools were ready to implement such a program and colleges were ready to accept the credits. Auditi Chakravarty (vice president for AP curriculum, instruction, and assessment at the College Board) referred to the Next Generation Science Standards as an example of how schools will better integrate engineering-design practices, and explained that an engineering design curriculum will rely not on a single test, but a “valid and reliable” way of assessing a student’s portfolio of work. The proposed components include presenting a problem and identifying its requirements; generating an original solution; constructing and testing a prototype; evaluating and making recommendations; and documenting and presenting a project.

“This is not a test,” said Leigh Abts, a professor of education at the University of Maryland who is a leader in the initiative. “This is people looking at portfolios and awarding some high-stakes performance credit … This is really going to break the mold for how the College Board and others look at student work.”

Organizations involved with the effort to introduce an AP Engineering program include the University of Maryland, the University of Virginia, the College Board, and Project Lead the Way. PLTW already has an engineering curriculum that it uses in schools and it has made its beta “innovation portal” free and available. What do you think? Could you see a program like this being implemented one day for computer science?

Girls in IT: The Facts

Girls in IT: The Facts, sponsored by NCWIT’s K-12 Alliance, is a synthesis of the existing literature on increasing girls’ participation in computing. It aims to bring together this latest research so that readers can gain a clearer and more coherent picture of 1) the current state of affairs for girls in computing, 2) the key barriers to increasing girls’ participation in these fields, and 3) promising practices for addressing these barriers.

Ways to Use Girls in IT: The Facts

JPEG Charts and Graphs

The following graphics are available for your use within the greater context of sharing the report. Explanations of each graphic are found within the full report, along with full reference information for the original sources. Note: We ask that you retain the NCWIT copyright and data source information.

Section 1: Girls in IT: What is the current state of affairs?

Section 2: Identifying Barriers: Why the current state of affairs?

Download all charts and graphs (.zip)

Release Date: November 30, 2012

Audience(s): K-12ElementaryMiddle SchoolHigh School

Type(s): Statistics & Reports


The Importance of Mentorship in STEM educations

In The last months, we’ve been working closely with the U.S. Dept of State in the Techgirls/Girls in tech Mentorship programs initiative. Excited about the partnership and we will be in D.C. July 16th to share more about the mentorship programs with 27 women from eight middle eastern countries and palestinian territories. Ivo Lukas, Chief Innovation Officers & Global exec for mentorship programs will be in Charge of the engagement. To learn more about the initiative, check out the press release here. Join Ivo Lukas in the conversation would be Yahoo, Microsoft, Legacy executives and more. To learn more more, email

From June 25 – July 18, these tech-savvy teenagers from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen will engage with their American counterparts in the classroom and the community, working on their technical development and leadership skills. They will participate in an iD TechCamp, an interactive technology and computer camp, at Towson University; meet with leading U.S. technology companies in Washington, DC, and New York, NY; and take part in community service activities. The TechGirls will be also be mentored by representatives from top technology companies, making important personal contacts and expanding their networks to compete equally in an often male-dominated field.

Working to ensure a diverse experience, the Department has teamed up with several private sector partners, including: 24Notion, ALIVE!, Inc., AT&T, Bully Pulpit Interactive, Code4Charity, the DC Digital Divas Dinner,, Facebook, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, Girls in Tech, Girls Who Code, Google, OhMyGov Inc., Precision Network, Relief International, TechChange, Women Innovate Mobile, Yahoo!, and Verizon Communications. The State Department is also pleased to collaborate with the White House, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), and the Federal Communications Commission for the TechGirls program.

Follow Ivo Lukas @MsSonicFlare