How Women Can Break Into the Tech Industry

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Programmers working in a software developing company office

With how popular technology has become within many industries, jobs are always in demand for tech. Though it is true that, statistically, the field of technology is seemingly male-dominated, it doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged from giving this field a try. You don’t have to have a degree in this particular industry to get a job working with computers.

There are plenty of tools and resources at your disposal to help you gain and build technical skills you will need in these various demanding occupations.

Having the right skills is one thing, but surviving the “macho” environment that has caused so many women to leave the industry is another factor to take into consideration.

Luckily, there are ways to push back on this and keep your position.

Get the Skills

If you have zero technological skills, then give coding a try. There are a multitude of free Coding Bootcamps online you can try. They could be full-time or part-time, and some could even provide you with job opportunities. Some of them are available in person. That way, you could ask questions to a teacher and get an immediate response rather than send an email and wait for a day. There are coding bootcamps that cost money, but they are worth it for the hands-on learning that will apply to your future career.

Find Your Niche

You’ll need to stand out from the competition if you want to get hired. In this male-dominated industry, you’ll most likely get employed as a woman if you have a unique portfolio. That doesn’t mean that you need to have a very particular set of skills. You could have the same skills you learned in your coding Bootcamp but used in a relatively new and obscure way. Being able to utilize your technological knowledge for things like mobile development, cloud infrastructure, bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, management, and much more is going to increase the chances of businesses looking in your direction. You could also look for an industry that lacks but also needs technological workers.

Apply for Jobs Where Women are in Upper Management No matter how skilled you are, you may still face discrimination in the workplace. Many work environments of technology companies tend to have a fraternity-like atmosphere. That means that not only can you face situations ranging from uncomfortable to sexual harassment, but upper management and human resources probably wouldn’t do much about it. If you get a job where there are women in upper management, then they’ll be more likely to fight for you. As a whole, they could help foster a healthier work environment where female employees wouldn’t have to face discrimination every day.

Soft Skills Play a Role in this Industry

Being great at specific tasks in the job is just half of what you need to work successfully. Cooperating with others and proper communication is just the beginning of having excellent soft skills. You must be someone who can both take and give constructive criticism. Know how to read the room, and determine whether someone wouldn’t mind interaction or would prefer to be left alone. Also, don’t forget to be yourself. Even if you’re the only woman at your job, there’s no need to compete with your coworkers for the sake of proving yourself.

Start a Passion Project

For many women, technology is their passion. If you’re in this group of women, then use that passion for creating websites or working on a video game. Technology itself may not be your passion, but you can use technology to follow the passions you do have. If you like playing the piano, then you could develop an app and corresponding device that can help people learn the piano through playing games. A passion project driven by technology is a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry. It will help build your skills and experience as well as keep your knowledge sharp.

The technological industry still has a long way to go in terms of making their occupations more welcome to women. There will be a lot of things out of your control if you get a technological job, but don’t let that discourage you. More and more occupations are becoming available in this industry, and it’s becoming easier for everyone, including women, to get the skills needed to qualify. Technology can be a lot of fun as well as rewarding. There are many success stories of women who have made a significant impact on the technological industry, and you could be one of them. So find a coding bootcamp and start your career path to technology today.

The Untold History of Women in Science and Technology

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Collage of images of famous women in the STEM field

They were leaders in building the early foundation of modern programming and unveiled the structure of DNA. Their work inspired environmental movements and led to the discovery of new genes.

They broke the sound barrier — and gender barriers along the way. And inspiring more young women to pursue careers in science starts with simply sharing their stories.

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, pictured bottom left, was at the forefront of computer and programming language development from the 1930s through the 1980s.

One of the crowning achievements of her 44-year career was the development of computer languages written in English, rather than mathematical notation — most notably, the common business computing language known as COBOL, which is still in use today.

Hopper’s legacy is still honored by the annual Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference.

Lillian Moller Gilbreth

Lillian Moller Gilbreth was an American psychologist and industrial engineer at the turn of the 20th century. She was an expert in efficiency and organizational psychology, the principles of which she applied not only as a management consultant for major corporations, but also to her household of twelve children, as chronicled in the book Cheaper by the Dozen. Her long list of firsts includes first female commencement speaker at the University of California, first female engineering professor at Purdue, and first woman elected to the National Academy of Engineering.

Ruth Rogan Benerito

Ruth Rogan Benerito was an American chemist and pioneer in bioproducts. Benerito is credited with saving the cotton industry in post-WWII America through her discovery of a process to produce wrinkle-free, stain-free, and flame-resistant cotton fabrics. In addition to this work, Benerito also developed a method to harvest fats from seeds for use in intravenous feeding of medical patients. This system became the foundation for the system we use today. After retiring from the USDA and teaching university courses for an additional eleven years, Benerito received the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award both for her contributions to the textile industry and her commitment to education.

Katherine Johnson

Katherine Johnson, an African-American space scientist and mathematician, is a leading figure in American space history and has made enormous contributions to America’s aeronautics and space programs by her incorporation of computing tools. She played a huge role in calculating key trajectories in the Space Race — calculating the trajectory for Alan Shepard, the first American in space, as well as for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the moon. Johnson is now retired, and continues to encourage students to pursue careers in science and technology fields.

Edith Clarke

Edith Clarke was a pioneering electrical engineer at the turn of the 20th century. She worked as a “computer,” someone who performed difficult mathematical calculations before modern-day computers and calculators were invented. Clarke struggled to find work as a female engineer instead of the ‘usual’ jobs allowed for women of her time, but became the first professionally employed female electrical engineer in the United States in 1922. She paved the way for women in STEM and engineering and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2015.

Ana Roque de Duprey

Ana Roqué de Duprey was born in Puerto Rico in 1853. She started a school in her home at age 13 and wrote a geography textbook for her students, which was later adopted by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico. Roqué had a passion for astronomy and education, founding several girls-only schools as well as the College of Mayagüez, which later became the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. Roqué wrote the Botany of the Antilles, the most comprehensive study of flora in the Caribbean at the beginning of the 20th century, and was also instrumental in the fight for the Puerto Rican woman’s right to vote.

Mollie Orshansky

Mollie Orshansky was a food economist and statistician whose work on poverty thresholds pioneered the way the U.S. Government defines poverty. By using the cost of the cheapest nutritionally adequate diet to calculate a cost of living expense for families of various sizes, Orshansky developed guidelines which eventually became the federal government’s official statistical definition of poverty. Her work provided a way to assess the impact of new policies on poor populations, which to this day remains a standard measure of new policies, demonstrating the enduring impact of her work on American public policy.

Mary Engle Pennington

Mary Engle Pennington was an American chemist at the turn of the 20th century. At a time when few women attended college, Pennington completed her PhD and went on to work as a bacteriological chemist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Shortly after arriving at the USDA, Pennington became chief of the newly established Food Research Laboratory. During her 40-year career at the USDA, Pennington’s pioneering research on sanitary methods of processing, storing, and shipping food led to achievements such as the first standards for milk safety as well as universally accepted standards for the refrigeration of food products.

Dr. Ellen Ochoa

In 1993, Dr. Ellen Ochoa became the first Hispanic woman to go to space when she served on a nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery. She has flown in space four times, logging nearly 1,000 hours in orbit. Prior to her astronaut career, she was a research engineer and inventor, with three patents for optical systems. Ochoa is also the first Hispanic (and second female) to be named director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.

Calutron Girls

Isolating enriched uranium was one of the most difficult aspects of the Manhattan Project, which produced the first nuclear bombs during World War II. Wartime labor shortages led the Tennessee Eastman Company to recruit young women, who were mostly recent high school graduates, to operate the calutrons that used electromagnetic separation to isolate uranium. Despite being kept in the dark on the specifics of the project, the “Calutron Girls” proved to be highly adept at operating the instruments and optimizing uranium production, achieving better rates for production than the male scientists they worked with.

Virginia H. Holsinger

Virginia H. Holsinger was an American chemist known for her research on dairy products and food security issues. Holsinger developed a nutritious and shelf-stable whey and soy drink mixture that is distributed internationally by food donation programs as a substitute for milk. She also created a grain blend that can be mixed with water to provide food for victims of famine, drought, and war. Additionally, her work on the lactase enzyme formed the basis for commercial products to make milk digestible by lactose-intolerant people. Through these discoveries, Holsinger’s work has had a major impact on worldwide public health.

Rachel Carson

Rachel Carson was a marine biologist and environmentalist — whose groundbreaking book, Silent Spring, has been credited as the catalyst for the modern environmental movement. Carson passed away in 1964, but her work has been credited with the legacy of “awakening the concern of Americans for the environment.”

Maria Klawe

Despite growing up as a self-described outcast, Maria Klawe pursed her passion for technology and became a prominent computer scientist. Klawe is now the first female president of Harvey Mudd College and works hard to ignite passion about STEM fields amongst diverse groups. During her tenure at Harvey Mudd College, her work has helped support the Computer Science faculty’s ability to innovate, and has raised the percentage of women majoring in computer science from less than 15 percent to more than 40 percent today.

Lydia Villa-Komaroff

Lydia Villa-Komaroff is considered to be a trailblazer in the field of molecular biology. She faced many adversities she faced throughout her lifetime — at one point, an advisor told her that women did not belong in chemistry, fortuitously inspiring her to switch her major to biology — but she pursued her passion in spite of opposition. In 1978, Villa-Komaroff made waves with a published paper detailing her most notable discovery — that bacteria could be engineered to produce human insulin. She currently serves as the Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) at Cytonome/ST.

Ada Lovelace

Ada Lovelace is considered to be the founder of scientific computing and the first computer programmer. Her algorithm — which history has come to know as the first one designed for a machine to carry out — was intended to be used for Charles Babbage’s Analytical Engine, which Lovelace would sadly not see built during her lifetime. Lovelace passed away in 1852, but her previously little-known work and “poetical” approach to science has broken through to inspire present-day young women interested in computer programming.

Sally Ride

On June 18, 1983, Sally Ride transformed history when she became the first American woman to fly into space. After her second shuttle flight, Ride decided to retire from NASA and pursue her passion for education by inspiring young people. As a result, she founded Sally Ride Science, an organization dedicated to supporting students interested in STEM. Ride passed away in 2012, but her work continues to inspire young women across the country.

Barbara McClintock

Barbara McClintock was an American geneticist and is still considered to be one of the world’s most prestigious cytogeneticists. In 1983, McClintock won the Nobel Prize in Physiology for her discovery of the “jumping gene” or the ability of genes to change position on the chromosome. McClintock passed away in 1992, but her publications still influence geneticists across the world.

The Mercury 13

The Mercury 13, also sometimes known as the “Members of the First Lady Astronaut Trainees” (FLATs), were a group of women who participated in training to become astronauts for the country’s first human spaceflight program in the early 1960s. FLATs was never an official NASA program, and was unfortunately eventually discontinued, but the commitment and determination of these women to get into space has been credited with paving the way for such astronauts as Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space.

ENIAC Programmers

As part of a secret World War Two project, six young women programmed the first all-electronic programmable computer. When the project was eventually introduced to the public in 1946, the women were never introduced or credited for their hard work — both because computer science was not well understood as an emerging field, and because the public’s focus was on the machine itself. Since then, the ENIAC Programmers Project has worked hard to preserve and tell the stories of these six women.

Rosalind Franklin

Rosalind Franklin was a British chemist and crystallographer, best known for her research that was essential to elucidating the structure of DNA. During her lifetime, Franklin was not credited for her key role, but years later she is recognized as providing a pivotal piece of the DNA story. Franklin spent the last five years of her life studying the structure of plant viruses and passed away in 1958.

Source: Whitehouse.gov

Top U.S. Cities for Women Working in STEM

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Top Cities for Women in STEM announcement

According to data analyzed by the National Girls Collaborative Project, women account for roughly half of the total college-educated workforce in the U.S., they’re represented in only 28% of science and engineering jobs. Furthermore, within the range of STEM occupations, women tend to be more concentrated in social sciences and in agricultural, biological and environmental life sciences; here, the share of female job holders exceeds 45%.

And, much like the female workforce, activity in industries pertaining to these fields is unevenly distributed across the country. Consequently, as graduate education in STEM fields look to improve effectiveness and inclusion—and more women are inspired and supported to pursue such career paths—CommercialCafe™ set out to determine the current top U.S. cities for women working in STEM.

While most of the cities highlighted in this article are roughly similar in size, some are outliers by a wide margin. For instance, cities like Washington, D.C., San Francisco, New York City, Philadelphia, Houston, and Chicago are significantly larger than other cities in their respective ranking categories. Granted, larger U.S. cities attract professionals in a wide variety of industries—including STEM—to make a life there.

Meanwhile, smaller U.S. cities offer their own convincing advantages—and actually outperform large, urban areas in some respects. In reality, many of the metrics that influence decisions of where to work and live in the U.S. tend to be related to personal preferences and are, therefore, immeasurable on a wide scale. Subsequently, because our analysis did not track lifestyle factors nor factor population totals into the scores, we opted to preserve all entries.

Rather, to gauge the degree of representation of women in STEM occupations, we looked at the share of female employees out of the total number of local employees in STEM occupations, as well as how that share has changed over time in each city. In order to put that metric into a comparable perspective, we also included the percentage of STEM jobs out of the total number of jobs in each city.

Moreover, in order to gauge economic incentives and estimate discretionary income, we also:

    1. Reviewed data on the median incomes of female STEM employees in each city
    2. Compared average local rents to the female STEM workers’ median incomes
    3. Tracked the change in each city’s female STEM workers’ median earnings during the previous five years

In addition, we also considered:

    1. The local share of women in management positions across all occupations
    2. The percentage of women who have healthcare through their employer the local unemployment rate for women
    3. These are potential indicators of the likelihood that the local economy and business environments are inclusive of women.

Finally, of the college-educated population of each city, we also examined the share of women who hold at least a bachelor’s degree. This is a way to estimate the scale of the local, like-minded community.

Read on to see which urban centers ranked best nationally and regionally, as well as which metrics were the strongest for each entry.

Top U.S. Cities for Women Working in STEM Are in West, South Regions

Arlington, Va., achieved the best overall score in our ranking—57.6 total points out of 100. The data we analyzed showed that the STEM workforce here accounted for 15% of total local jobs, which placed Arlington third for the size of the STEM sector within the local economy. In particular, between 2014 and 2018, Arlington saw an increase of three percentage points for female STEM employees; in 2018, they held 34% of local STEM jobs. During the same five-year interval, the median income for female STEM workers rose a modest 4% in the city, settling at just more than $85,000 in 2018.

Notably, Arlington also ranked first for women’s access to health insurance—79% of working women in the city are ensured through their employer. Arlington also recorded the lowest rate of unemployment for women—2% in 2018.

San Francisco earned a total score of 57.5 points for a very close second in our national ranking. Its strongest suits were its earnings metrics, for which it ranked second-highest among the cities on our list. Specifically, the median earnings of female STEM workers living in San Francisco experienced the second-largest five-year increase in our study at 45%. In fact, the city is one of only two on our list in which the median income of female STEM employees exceeds $100,000 per year. (The other city is also located in California and earned the third-best score on our list.)

Fremont came in third overall, with a total score of 56.7 points. Nearly 30% of the city’s jobs are in a STEM field, 24% of which are held by women. Between 2014 and 2018, Fremont saw the fourth-highest increase—21%—in median wages for women working in these industries. Following that five-year improvement, female STEM employees in Fremont were earning the highest median income out of all of the cities on our list—$101,341. What’s more, the strong, local drive to encourage girls to consider education and career paths in engineering is also visible in supportive local partnerships—like the Tesla and Envirolution workshops, as well as hands-on engineering activities organized in honor of Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day in 2019.

Washington, D.C. landed in fourth with a total score of 55.7 points. The city boasts an impressively diverse economy in which 12% of jobs are STEM occupations, 42% of which are held by women. This placed D.C. and Durham in a tie for first place for degree of representation of women in STEM. Not to be overlooked, the capital is also home to the fifth-highest median income nationwide for female STEM workers, following Arlington and just ahead of Oakland. The city also ranked well for rent to STEM income ratio, as the local average rent accounts for roughly 22% of the median income of female STEM workers who live here.

Durham scored a total of 53.8 points and came in fifth. Of the cities we researched for this ranking, Durham ranked highest for the percentage of women in the local STEM workforce—42%, according to 2018 U.S. Census Bureau data. STEM industries account for 10% of the total employment in Durham. As an integral part of the Research Triangle Park and home to heavily STEM-oriented educational and research institutions, it was hardly a surprise that the city ranked best for women’s overall educational attainment—57% of college-educated residents are women. While the median income of local female STEM workers increased 15% between 2014 and 2018, the final earnings value ranked tenth on our list. However, data showed that this income stretches further in Durham than in other urban centers; the city ranked second for its rent-to-median-income ratio, with the local average rent accounting for 21% of the median earnings of women working in STEM.

Oakland—in sixth place overall—ranked third for educational attainment; here, women make up 56% of the local college-educated population. The average rent here is roughly 22% of women STEM workers’ median income.

In Seattle, 17% of jobs are in STEM occupations and women occupy 30% of them. Additionally, the city ranked third for access to healthcare, with 68% of women insured through their employer. Only 3.6% of local women were unemployed in 2018, which gave Seattle the fourth-best unemployment rate. Sacramento came in eighth overall. California’s state capital’s strongest suits were its increase in representation of women in STEM—which improved 10 percentage points between 2014 and 2018—and its third-place ranking for the representation of women in the industry workforce; 41% of STEM jobs in Sacramento are held by women.

Glendale received the most points for housing affordability out of all of the cities on our list. In 2018, the average rent here accounted for just 13% of the median income for female STEM workers. The Arizona city also ranked highest for growth in earnings; from 2014 to 2018, median earnings increased 112% for female STEM employees. The 2018 median value of roughly $90,500 in annual income placed Glendale third for this metric, behind only Fremont and San Francisco. However, it’s worth noting that during the same five-year interval, the percentage of local STEM jobs that were occupied by women decreased by 14 percentage points, resting at 24% in 2018.

Tacoma rounds out the top 10, with a total score of 51.2 points. Here, the STEM sector accounts for 5% of local jobs, and the percentage of women occupying these jobs increased by 15 percentage points since 2014. This was the highest growth recorded among the cities on our list and brought the degree of local STEM representation of women up to 35% in 2018. Tacoma also ranked second for educational attainment, with women accounting for 56% of the college-educated population. It’s also worth noting that the city took the lead on the women in management index; 56% of total local management positions are held by women.

Continue on to Commercial Cafe to read the complete article.

Diversity in Tech is More Important Now Than Ever — Here’s How I’m Helping Make it More Inclusive

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Fatim Mbaye pictured sitting on short wall outside of her Qualcomm office

In celebration of Black History Month and International Women’s Day, Qualcomm is proud to feature Fatim Mbaye, who has been extremely influential in recruiting and empowering African and African American employees.

Fatim Mbaye, a program manager based in San Diego, has always been an advocate for diversity in the tech industry, which gets a bad rap for being very white, very male and very unable to reconcile its shortcomings.

But at Qualcomm, she has found an entire community dedicated to representing, recruiting and supporting African and African American employees.

And from attending her first event with the group, she’s understood the diversity and inclusion work being done at Qualcomm is the real deal.

Qualcomm is Hiring! Browse Opportunities.

“Leadership at Qualcomm is investing more and more in our diversity initiatives. I believe that’s a good reflection of the evolving and progressive culture,” Mbaye shared. “I am most proud of our efforts in recruiting black talent. With Qualcomm’s buy-in, we have been able to attend conferences and bring in interns and new hires.”

We spoke to Mbaye about how her work with Qualcomm’s African and African American Diversity Group (QAAAD) has made her everyday work feel more meaningful, how the group is approaching intersectionality in tech and how Qualcomm’s support has made their campaigns feel worthwhile. She also shared her best advice for women who want to do inclusion work within their organizations — and spoke to the recruiting event that she was able to participate in years after it supplied her an early-career internship.

How long have you been in your current role and what were you doing previously?
I have been in a Program Management role at Qualcomm for four and a half years. Prior to that, I was a Program Manager at Texas Instruments for supporting new product development of high-performance analog products.

How and why did you first get involved with Qualcomm’s black affinity group? Did the group draw you to Qualcomm?
I was not recruited by QAAAD, but I looked for them as soon as I joined Qualcomm! I have always been an advocate for diversity and was an active member of the Black Employee Initiative, as well as Women’s Initiative, at my former employer. Once I reached out to QAAAD, the group was getting ready for their main annual recruiting trip at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) convention and I volunteered to join them.

NSBE holds a special part in my heart because I was very involved as a university student and was the secretary of my school’s chapter while completing my graduate studies. I actually got my first internship through a NSBE conference! I was so excited to go full circle and talk to candidates at the Qualcomm booth, hopefully opening the doors to their first job or internship.

I came back from that trip feeling like a part of the QAAAD family and accepted the invitation to be part of the Operating Council. I’ve been serving on the board ever since.

What have been the benefits of getting involved with your affinity group? Who have you met? How have they helped you in your professional journey?
There are so many benefits! From networking with peers and senior management to making an impact in our local community through event sponsorships to hosting middle and high school minority students and inspiring them to pursue STEM to being part of a mentorship program. Ultimately, there’s a feeling that there are others around you with a shared experience.

What has the affinity group accomplished that you’re most proud of?
I am most proud of our efforts in recruiting black talent. With Qualcomm’s buy-in, we have been able to attend conferences and bring in interns and new hires. And with the support of our Diversity and Inclusion team, the Qualcomm University recruiting team added two new universities that are historically black to their list of targeted campuses for their annual recruiting campaigns. We are already seeing an increase in our numbers.

What’s the #1 thing you think you colleagues should know — but probably don’t know — about the group?
The talent is there — we need to go to it. Diversity in a technology field is very important and QAAAD can be a powerful tool to help attract black talent. With the emergence of AI, it is even more important to ensure that all voices are at the table to come up with better solutions and counteract unconscious bias.

How does the black affinity group engage with or collaborate with other affinity groups? How has this intersectionality created value at Qualcomm?
One of our goals this year is to collaborate more with other diversity groups and I am looking forward to it. Our first effort of synergy will be with the women affinity group, Qwomen. We are co-sponsoring a symposium organized by the San Diego Commission on the Status of Women and Girls on human trafficking. The topic is very timely and both organizations want to raise awareness within our community. The event will be held on the Qualcomm campus and is open to the public.

How are your company’s affinity groups reflective of the overall culture at Qualcomm?
I’ve personally noted that leadership at Qualcomm is investing more and more in our diversity initiatives. I believe that’s a good reflection of the evolving and progressive culture at Qualcomm.

What is your advice for women who want to make the company they work for more inclusive?
It starts with women! We need to be more supportive of each other and mentor and sponsor our junior colleagues. In addition, we need to recruit more male allies, as this cannot be done without their support. As a longer-term strategy, there is power in numbers; we need more women to pursue engineering and STEM in general. So, let us inspire all young girls through mentoring and school visits to show them that the possibilities are endless. I truly believe in reaching out to the youth because representation matters and can make a difference in what someone can dare to dream of.

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How Black Girls Code transformed from basement experiment to international movement

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Kimberly Bryant stands behind a podium wearing a shirt that read Phenomenal Woman

By Halley Bondy

Throughout her biotech engineering career, Kimberly Bryant was the only black female in the room most of the time. And as Bryant rose the ranks to become manager at companies like DuPont, Phillip Morris and Genentech, she yearned for a more inclusive world for her daughter Kai.

Kai had developed a knack for gaming and coding, which is a very male, white and Asian-dominated business.

“It happened that I stumbled into this issue of diversity of inclusion and tech,” said Bryant in an interview with Know Your Value. “My daughter was about to go to middle school and was interested in tech and video gaming and gaming in general…I found that there wasn’t a strong program that would focus on girls of color and getting them prepared in the skills they’d need to move into this career field.”

Women of color earn less than 10 percent of bachelor’s degrees in computing, according to the Kapor Center. And black women make up less than 0.5 percent of leadership roles in tech. Even in women-led small tech businesses, women of color only comprise 4 percent of the workforce.

With Kai’s help, Bryant called upon colleagues at Genentech to put together a six-week coding curriculum for girls of color in 2011. She conducted the first educational series in a basement of a college prep institution in San Francisco, which was loaned to Bryant for free. Bryant expected about six students, but the class attracted about a dozen girls, including of course, Kai.

Bryant’s small community effort attracted the attention of ThoughtWorks, a global tech consultancy company. ThoughtWorks invested in Bryant in January 2012 and gave her access to space and resources across the country, as well as in Johannesburg, South Africa. In a few years, the operation transformed from a basement experiment into a global non-profit with 15 chapters. They called themselves Black Girls Code.

The more mature chapters might boast up to 1,000 students a year, according to Bryant, who runs the organization full-time.

“I didn’t know it would be a nonprofit,” said Bryant. “This was us just trying to test the waters and make something locally where I could bring my daughter, so she could find a tribe of girls interested in the same thing, but it took off from humble beginnings.”

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial Intelligence. Many of the first-year students are now in college, including Kai, who is in her sophomore year studying computer science.

Bryant wants to expand Black Girls Code into a life-long support network to help retention rates in tech.

“One of the things that I’m really excited about is building out this alumni network that we’ve grown over the last eight years,” said Bryant. “Many of the girls…are about to go to college, and they have a need for support as they continue their career and collegiate journeys.”

Bryant said she was never interested in coding — that was all her daughter. Instead, Bryant studied engineering at Vanderbilt University. She said she met only one other African American female engineering student in her four years there, and that none of her professors were even female, let alone black.

“I didn’t have any role models,” said Bryant.

Still, she excelled. Bryant was only 25 when she became a manager at DuPont in Tennessee. She said her manager there—whom she otherwise adored—jokingly introduced her to the team as a “twofer,” because she was black and a woman.

The Black Girls Code curriculum teaches everything from web development to robotics to Artificial IntelligenceCourtesy of Black Girls Code.

“I’m positive those men had never worked for a black woman as their manager,” she said. “It was a learning experience. I spent most of my career in these types of positions. There were always these implicit and explicit biases that I had to deal with as I tried to establish authority as a black woman.”

Continue on to NBC News read the complete article.

Women Knocking it Out of the Park in STEM

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Miranda Cosgrove pictured from series Mission Unstoppable

New CBS Series Mission Unstoppable Showcases Leading Women in STEM

A new series called Mission Unstoppable has joined the seventh season of CBS’s three-hour Saturday morning block, CBS Dream Team….It’s Epic!

In Mission Unstoppable, celebrity host and co-executive producer Miranda Cosgrove highlights the fascinating female innovators who are on the cutting edge of science–including zoologists, engineers, astronauts, codebreakers and oceanographers. Each week, viewers will be inspired by female STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) superstars in the fields of social media, entertainment, animals, design and the internet–all categories key to the teen experience.

Academy Award-winning actress Geena Davis serves as executive producer, bringing her passion for creating change in the portrayal of strong female characters in entertainment and media that positively influence young viewers.

“Strong female role models are essential to breaking down barriers and educating the next generation of leaders about gender equality,” said Geena Davis, executive producer, Mission Unstoppable. “Girls need to see themselves on and off the screen as STEM professionals, and as I always say, ‘If they can see it, they can be it.’ This new series strives to empower young women and showcase the many ways they can impact the world through careers in STEM.”

Source: Litton Entertainment, IF/THEN, Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media

Purdue’s Computer Science Department Graduates First African-Purdue’s Computer Science Department Graduates First African-American Woman PhD Amber Johnson pictured leaning on a tre outside smilingAmerican Woman PhD

Amber Johnson made history as the first African-American woman PhD graduate from Purdue University’s Department of Computer Science this past summer. Johnson sees Purdue’s Computer Science Department having an African-American woman PhD graduate as definite progress and would love to see more. It’s the same kind of progress she sees in her mentorship of African-American students in Black Girls Rock Tech, a computational and leadership program for adolescent girls where she serves as an instructor. “I have mentors like Dr. Raquel Hill and Dr. Jamika Burge, who are pioneers in the CS community, and I want to pay it forward,” Johnson said. The graduate, who will be joining Northrup Grumman in Maryland, remains active with the Future Technical Leader program, where she will have an opportunity to work in various locations around the country.

Source: cs.purdue.edu

World Class Skier Lindsey Vonn Inspires Girls in STEM

The greatest female snow skier of all time, Lindsey Vonn is on a mission to help young girls become more involved in STEM education through the Lindsey Vonn Foundation (LVF). This past summer, Vonn surprised 38 scholarship applicants with a personalized congratulations video:

“I want to be the first person to tell you that you have officially received a Lindsey Vonn Scholarship. So proud to have you on the team and I’m US former alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn attends the world premiere of "Fast & Furious presents Hobbs & Shawreally looking forward to see what you are going to accomplish in the future. We’re very impressed by you so keep it up, keep making an impact and a difference, and most importantly keep having fun.”

The kids’ parents recorded “reaction videos,” of their kids watching the video from Vonn.

Reactions ranged from disbelief to jumping on beds.

Scholarships were awarded for enrichment programs that included dance camps, travel abroad, U.S. Space & Rocket center camp, youth theatre, The School of the New York Times, cycling, The New Charter University Congress of Future Medical Leaders, Rustic Pathways, University of Wyoming Summer Music Camp, Aerospace Engineering Camp at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and Blue Print Summer Program for college prep.

This year marks the inaugural partnership between the LVF and iD Tech Camps—the world leader in STEM education. LVF’s goal for the summer was to award scholarships to 20 girls to attend iD Tech’s renowned summer STEM programs, and iD Tech pledged to match this philanthropic commitment.

In the end, LVF exceeded this goal with 22 girls receiving full scholarships to iD Tech. Recipients have the option of attending either iD Tech’s co-ed camps or its highly successful and innovative all-girls program, called Alexa Cafe.

Recipients can enroll in iD Tech courses such as Game Design and Development, Al Lab: Robotics and Coding, Film Studio Video Production for YouTube, Make Games with Java, 3D Character Design Modeling program, Create Apps with Java, Photo Booth: Pro Photography for Instagram, Roblox Entrepreneur: Imaginative Game Design, 3D Studio: Modeling and Animation, and Python Coding.

Source: Lindsey Vonn Foundation, snewsnet.com

Shake Those Pom-Poms for Science!

Let’s Go STEM!! More than 200 current and former professional cheerleaders for the NBA, NFL and UFL who are also pursuing careers in science and technology have banded together to form the Science Cheerleaders. The organization’s mission is to challenge science and cheerleading stereotypes and inspire the nation’s 3-4 million cheerleaders to consider a career in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). SciStarter.com, Science Cheerleader’s sister site, connects millions of “regular” people to hundreds of opportunities to do real research as Citizen Scientists.

Science Cheerleaders holding up a "Science" banner on a football field“One of our goals at Science Cheerleader is to show kids that they can have fun cheering and dancing and still pursue fulfilling careers in science and technology at the same time,” said Darlene Cavalier, founder of the Science Cheerleaders.

Carvalier says the cheer squad does this by recasting the image of scientists and engineers while giving people the opportunity to explore their personal interests as a gateway to science. They communicate in ways that inspire people using their very real, very personal stories at schools, festivals, malls, on tv, online, at cheer events, games…wherever the people are. The point: science is accessible to ALL!

Source: sciencecheerleader.com

Miss America Is Now a Scientist! Camille Schrier of Virginia Wins Crown After On-Stage Experiment

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Camille Schrier conducts science experiment on stage during the Miss America pageant

There she is, Miss America!

Miss Virginia Camille Schrier earned the title of Miss America 2020 on Thursday night, beating out 50 other contestants for the prestigious crown after performing the show’s first-ever science demonstration in the talent portion.

Schrier, 24, showed the audience the catalytic decomposition of hydrogen peroxide, and earned high praise from the judges — Kelly Rowland, Queer Eye‘s Karamo Brown and Superstore actress Lauren Ash — when she told them, “Miss America is someone who needs to educate.”

Prior to her win, Schrier — a PharmD student at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Pharmacy — thanked the pageant for “taking the focus off our bodies” and giving her a chance to be recognized for her smarts, personality and mission.

Schrier said her goal as Miss America was to promote drug safety and abuse prevention while also championing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education.

She was presented with the crown, which comes with more than $300,000 scholarships and a year of representing the organization, by her predecessor, Miss America 2019 Nia Franklin, 26.

Continue on to People to read the complete article.

Teen Makes ‘Armor’ That Blocks Radiation During Cancer Treatments, Reducing Exposure By Whopping 75%

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teen makes armor for radiation treatment

Macinley Butson was just 16 years old when she first felt spurred to try and protect women from excess radiation during breast cancer treatments—and now, her invention could be a game-changer in the medical field.

Butson, whose brother and father also work in medical physics, has always been fascinated by science, but she only began researching the harmful side effects of radiation therapy after her father discussed his experience with ineffective cancer treatments in his own line of medical work.

Since Butson had also recently lost a family relative to breast cancer, she felt inspired to conduct her own investigation on the subject.

She tried to begin her medical research by reading scientific journals, but she found their academic jargon almost impossible to understand.

She then turned to YouTube to find videos that taught how to read scientific journals. As she became more and more entrenched in her research, she stumbled upon a key bit of information: copper has been shown to be dramatically more effective at protecting skin from radiation compared to lead.

The Australian teen from Wollongong, New South Wales then experienced her “eureka” moment as she was viewing a film on medieval wars in her 10th grade history class. When she saw the scaled patterns of the armor, she was inspired to create a wearable protective shield out of copper.

She then headed back to YouTube and watched videos on how to weave together tiny scales. Using high-density copper plating, she made her own flexible scale-mail which she now calls the SMART Armor: Scale Mail for Radiation Therapy.

When her armor was tested in a laboratory setting, Butson’s invention reduced surface exposure to excess radiation by a whopping 75%.

In 2016, she won first place at the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair—becoming the first Australian to do so in its 68-year history.

Butson is working on getting her SMART Armor into clinical settings for use within a year.

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

An All-Female Flight Crew Took 120 Girls to NASA in an Initiative to Close Aviation’s Gender Gap

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Delta flight crew pose with students in cabin of plane

Delta Air Lines recently flew 120 girls from Salt Lake City, Utah, to NASA in Houston as part of an initiative to close the gender gap in aviation.

“We’re taking ownership to improve gender diversity by exposing girls at a young age and providing a pipeline so that 10 years from now, they will be the pilots in the Delta cockpit inspiring generations of women who follow,” said Beth Poole, general manager of pilot development at Delta, who helped begin the initiative in 2015.

FAA data from 2017 shows that women make up just over 7 percent of 609,306 pilots in the U.S., according to Women in Aviation, a nonprofit dedicated to the advancement of women in the industry.

Everyone involved in the plane’s takeoff, flight and landing — from pilots to ramp agents working on the ground — was a woman, the airline said.

The initiative first began in 2015 and has since brought 600 female students on its journey, according to Delta. The company’s goal is to “diversify a male-dominated industry and expose girls to STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) careers at a young age.”

The girls also met Jeanette Epps, NASA astronaut and aerospace engineer, Delta said.

Delta’s initiative speaks to a broader problem in the aviation industry — one that’s been recognized by The International Civil Aviation Organization, a specialized UN Agency that provides a global forum for member states to adopt and implement international aviation standards.

At a keynote address at a Global Aviation Gender Summit in August 2018, ICAO secretary general Dr. Fang Liu had said that “air transport must address head-on why women are still underrepresented in the majority of the technical and executive positions in aviation.”

Continue on to Time to read the complete article.

Two female astronauts make history. How to watch NASA’s first all-female spacewalk

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two female astronauts pictured in a spacewalk outside the ISS spaceship

Men have floated out the hatch on all 420 spacewalks conducted over the past half-century. That changed recently with spacewalk No. 421.

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir ventured outside the International Space Station before 8 a.m. ET Friday and spent over five hours replacing a broken battery charger, or BCDU. NASA’s livestream of the historic spacewalk features astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson as one of the female narrators.

The units have previously been replaced using a robotic arm, but the newly failed unit is too far away for it to reach.

The units regulate how much energy flows from the station’s massive solar panels to battery units, which are used to provide power during nighttime passes around Earth. Three previous spacewalks had been planned to replace lithium-ion batteries, but those will be rescheduled until the latest BCDU issue is resolved.

The hardware failure does present some concern, especially since another BCDU was replaced in April and there are only four more backups on the station. In total, there are 24 operational BCDUs.

The battery charger failed after Koch and a male crewmate installed new batteries outside the space station last week. NASA put the remaining battery replacements on hold to fix the problem and moved up the women’s planned spacewalk by three days.

All four men aboard the ISS remained inside during the spacewalk.

The spacewalk is Koch’s fourth and Meir’s first.

Continue on to USA Today to read the complete article.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) is No Longer a Secret in the Secret City

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two diverse women looking at computer screen together

Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) is no longer a secret in Oak Ridge, Tenn. Nestled near the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Oak Ridge is nicknamed the Secret City after its role in the top-secret Manhattan Project that helped create the first atomic bomb.

Established in 1946, ORAU’s purpose was to advance science and technology education and research by providing member universities access to atomic energy research facilities. Holding true to the original purpose today, ORAU provides exceptional talent in innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest.

ORAU also manages the Oak Ridge Institute of Science and Education (ORISE) for the U. S. Department of Energy (DOE), which is a DOE asset dedicated to enabling critical scientific, research and health initiatives of the department and its laboratory system by providing world-class expertise in STEM workforce development, scientific and technical reviews and the evaluation of radiation exposure and environment contamination.

While ORAU itself has been one of the best-kept secrets in East Tennessee, its reputation regarding the company’s culture and diversity practices is quickly spreading as seen in a recent employee survey. Completed earlier this year, the survey showed that 94 percent of the employees know what is expected of them in the workplace, 87 percent reported that they are proud to work at the company and 87 percent of all employees believe they are treated with dignity and respect.

According to Culture Amp, a worldwide employee feedback and analytics platform, companies with 500 employees but fewer than 1,000 employees can anticipate about a 70 percent employee participation rate in general surveys. ORAU greatly exceeded that standard with an overall participation rate of 85 percent. To ensure a culture that maintains these incredible ratings, ORAU welcomes feedback from employees through surveys and information-sharing teams, such as its Diversity Council and Employee Relations Team, comprised of employees from across the organization.

With an overall corporate favorability score of 77 percent and with 73 percent of ORAU employees believing the corporate culture is favorable, it is no longer a secret that ORAU is a great place to work.

For nine consecutive years ORAU has been recognized as a Best Diversity Company and is in competition for the current year. ORAU defines diversity as all of the ways in which we differ and all of those differences are welcomed and respected in the workplace and the community.

ORAU is an Equal Employment Opportunity employer and aggressively seeks veterans, individuals with disabilities, females, minorities and all other diverse differences that support an all-inclusive work environment. For more information on ORAU and its employment opportunities, visit orau.org.