Tagged: women in STEM

Dame of the Day: Emmanuelle Charpentier

Emmanuelle Charpentier

Today’s Dame of the Day is Emmanuelle Charpentier (1968-). As a post-doctoral fellow, Charpentier left her native France collaborate with researchers in the United States, Austria, and Sweden. Currently, she heads a team in Germany that studies how RNA-mediated regulation can edit the human genome and control bacterial pathogens.

Dame of the Day: Emmy Noether

Emmy Noether

Today’s Dame of the Day is Emmy Noether (March 23, 1882-April 14, 1935). After completing her dissertation in mathematics, Noether spent seven years teaching for free at Mathematical Institute of Erlangen. (At the time, women were barred from paid academic positions.) In spite of these obstacles, Noether made significant contributions to the fields of algebra, including better understanding of hypercomplex numbers and a self-titled theorem explaining that under certain conditions, regardless of an object’s shape, its laws of motion may remain symmetrical.

Dame of the Day: Jedidah C. Isler

Jedidah Isler

Today’s Dame of the Day is Jedidah C. Isler. As a child, Isler spent hours marveling at the night sky. In college, she studied math and physics and, in 2014, she became the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in Astrophysics from Yale University. According to her personal site, Isler’s research centers around “the physics of particle jets emanating from supermassive black holes at the centers of distant galaxies.” In addition to her own projects, Isler encourages students from underrepresented backgrounds to study science. Check out her TED talk to find out how she fell in love with space.

Dame of the Day: Albina Ruiz

Albina Ruiz

Today’s Dame of the Day is Albina Ruiz. When she earned her bachelor’s degree, this Peruvian industrial engineer was the only woman the program. Ruiz went on to found Ciudad Saludable, a non-profit centered around community-managed waste collection. The Peruvian government consulted with Ruiz to develop a national plan for waste management and her efforts led to legislation regulating the country’s recycling procedures.

Dame of the Day: Patricia Bath

Patricia Bath

Today’s Dame of the Day is Patricia Bath (November 4, 1942-). This ophthalmologist, inventor and academic achieved a host of firsts over her career. She founded the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness and used her Laserphaco Probe to treat cataracts. She was the first woman to head a post-grad program in the field, serve as a staff member at the Jules Stein Eye institute, or receive an honorary staff appointment to the UCLA Medical Center. Bath was also the first black person to serve as an ophthalmology resident at NYU and the first black woman doctor to receive a patent for medical purposes.

Dame of the Day: Adrianne Wadewitz

Adrianne Wadewitz

Today’s Dame of the Day is Adrianne Wadewitz (January 6, 1977-April 8, 2014). As an academic, Wadewitz’s research centered around reading and how it informed a child’s maturation rate and sensitivity. Aside from her research and teaching, Wadewitz was also a strong proponent of teaching students media literacy. She contributed a wealth of annotations and articles to Wikipedia to help counter systemic bias and encouraged other women to join the team. Wadewitz is widely considered the most prolific contributor of women’s history and female authors to Wikipedia.

Dame of the Day: Martine Rothblatt

Martine Rothblatt

Today’s Dame of the Day is Martine Rothblatt (1954-). Armed with an MBA and a law degree, Rothblatt began her career in communication satellite law and later became involved with the Human Genome Project. Today, she remains the founder and CEO of United Therapeutics Corp., making her the highest-paid female executive. In her spare time, she advocates for the rights of trans people and promotes the Terasem Movement, a philosophy she developed which promotes technological immortality through nanotechnology.

Schoolin’ Life: Cindy Wu

One quick housekeeping note before we kick off this Friday: if you’ve signed up for the email list, make sure to check your spam/Promotions/Social folders if it doesn’t pop up in your inbox. Haven’t signed up for the email list? Well, then, put it on your to-do list for the day!

And now on to today’s Schoolin’ Life, where we get some sub-30s wisdom from Experiment founder Cindy Wu.

CIndy Wu


Give us a quick bio: who are you, what are you into, and how do you spend your days?

My name is Cindy Wu. I care about science more than just about everything in the world. I spend my time in the car driving around the country meeting scientists, trying to make a difference.

When you were in your 20s…

(I am still in my 20s… I am 26)

What expectations did you have for yourself over the coming decade?

I didn’t have a lot of expectations. I thought I would stay in science and try to become an academic.

In what ways did society shape your expectations of yourself?

At a young age, my parents taught me that I could do anything I wanted. I think that made it a lot more difficult to expect a specific outcome for myself. I spent all of college trying new things, mainly to figure out what I did not like. At least then, I could cross a few things off the list.

What was your first job like?

I worked at Baskin Robbins. I made a mean banana split.

What was your first apartment like?

During college, I lived in dorms and then in houses with friends. I moved into my first apartment right after college when we were just starting Experiment. It was a studio near the university and we had very little furniture. I think we had a mattress and later acquired a futon; that was it. My apartment today still only has two mattresses. I don’t own a lot of things.

Did you experience any big life changes?

Absolutely. I started a company with my best friend. I moved away from home for the first time. I traveled the world for the first time. I hired (and fired) people for the first time. There were a lot of firsts.

In what ways did your friendships change?

My old friendships haven’t changed much. I stayed very close with my childhood friends and college friends.  I’ve met a lot of new friends since moving to San Francisco. I try to get my old friends to meet my new friends.

What did you learn through your romantic relationships?

A lot. The biggest thing I learned is that people change and are constantly changing. I’ve always believed in love and believed that love is true in the time and place that two people are in love. What’s been new is I discovered that love evolves in ways I had never imagined. It only goes up from here.

How did your relationships with your family change?

I started to pay more attention to my family. I visited all of my aunts and uncles this year. I also visited my grandparents in Taiwan. Technology has made it easy to stay in touch with my family. We have a family chat room where we message each other every day

How do you feel society viewed you?

Early in my 20s, I felt that society viewed me as incompetent, but later I came to the conclusion that it was all in my head. I don’t think about this or care about this much anymore.

How do you feel you changed emotionally?

I feel that I’m much more emotionally stable, but also much more impulsive. I do what I want when I want. It’s pretty difficult to make me mad these days. This is difficult for me to explain.

How did you change intellectually?

Early in my 20s, I was very, very naive. I think I’ve learned how to work much smarter, but I also think I work harder. I think I used to be more courageous; I’m trying to get that back.

In what ways do you feel your identity changed?

I don’t think my identity has changed much. My identity hasn’t changed much since I was a child. I just like being a kid, but that doesn’t mean I am immature. Even though I run a company, I don’t identify as an entrepreneur. I’ve always identified as an explorer (and maybe a scientist), but today I still think I am more of an explorer than an entrepreneur or a scientist.

How did your worldview change over the course of the decade?

A lot has changed. I don’t read or follow the news, but I’ve learned a lot about the world through travel and personal experiences. I think now is the most exciting time in human history. I am very optimistic about the future.

What was the most embarrassing moment?

I have the opportunity to meet many famous or very successful individuals. I often don’t know how important they are until after we’ve met. I tend to say a lot of embarrassing things or ask embarrassing questions. I have no regrets, though.

What was your biggest disappointment and how did that affect you later?

My biggest disappointment was in not investing in myself. We put our blood sweat and tears into Experiment and did whatever it took to keep the company alive. We put all our expenses on our credit cards for the first year. After we raised our first seed round, we still continued to live in the office working 24/7. Ultimately, that led to burn out. It almost killed my relationship with my co-founder/best friend and with that the company. I’ve changed my philosophy on life dramatically.

Who was your biggest influence and why?

One thing that has stayed constant in my entire life is my admiration for Hayao Miyazaki and his work. Some other big influences in my life have been cartoon or video game characters. Ash Ketchum is one of them. Yes, I still dream of becoming a Pokemon master.

Is there any one experience that you feel defined the decade? Or one historical moment that changed you?

I’m only 5 years in, but when I turned 25 I took a really deep look at what I had done and what I want to do moving forward. I took time off and saw the world by myself. 25 was a really tough year for me, but once I turned 26 everything changed. Now I wake up every day knowing that today will be the best day of my life.

Do you have any regrets? Are there things you wish you’d done, hadn’t done, or done differently?

No regrets. None. I often tell my friends that if I died today, I would be okay with it because I believe I’ve lived a full life for a 26 year-old. Don’t get me wrong, my best years are still ahead of me.

Is there a story that you feel best sums up the decade?

One story? I feel like I live in a movie. I feel like I’ve lived many lifetimes since I turned 20 and I’m only 26.

Dame of the Day: Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani

Today’s Dame of the Day is Maryam Mirzakhani (May 1977-). Mrizakhani loved math from a young age; in 1994, she became the first Iranian woman to win gold at the International Math Olympiad. One year later, she improved on that performance and became the first Iranian woman to achieve a perfect score and win two golds in the competition. In 2014, Mirzakhani won the Fields Medal for her work in understanding curved surfaces; she is the first woman and the first Iranian to ever win the award.

Schoolin’ Life: Ash Huang

For today’s Schoolin’ Life, we chat with designer, illustrator, and writer Ash Huang.

Ash Huang

Give us a quick bio: who are you, what are you into, and how do you spend your days?
I am an independent designer, illustrator and writer. I’ve done work for Dropbox, Designer Fund, Pinterest and Twitter. A feminist, bookworm and obsessive hobbyist, I am passionate about helping people find and channel their authentic selves. I spend my days writing, hiking, making things and smothering my rescue dog with cuddles.
You can find me on Twitter and Medium or visit my site.


When you were in your 20s…
What expectations did you have for yourself over the coming decade?
I had some pretty breezy expectations before I hit my 20s. The prevailing message I got was that good grades and hard work equaled unstoppable success. Then, the recession hit. It was a huge blow to my ego, which I appreciate these days. Nothing is guaranteed and all the school in the world can’t save you from financial crises. It taught me humility and to not assume others down on their luck deserved to be there.


In what ways did society shape your expectations of yourself?
I grew up an Asian-American weirdo in a very white, very wealthy town. The struggle that defined my late teens and early twenties was embracing my otherness versus trying to hide it. I certainly wasn’t Chinese, and I didn’t feel accepted as an American. Sometimes I expected to be the “one of these things is not like the other” in the room always, other times I lamented that I couldn’t just melt into the background. I think society still judges me on my looks—randos will describe me as “sweet”, meanwhile I’m like, “Let’s go visit that giant creepy cemetery!!!” on roadtrips.


What was your first apartment like?
4 bedroom, 1 bath, no living room. My room’s window wouldn’t close because my roommate ran the power from the garage opener through it. If I had my space heater on while I charged my computer, I’d blow a fuse in the apartment. I loved it, though. I painted it with my roommate, a gorgeous two-tone gray.


In what ways did your friendships change?
I didn’t have a lot of female friends in high school. Now I cherish my lady friends. It’s empowering to embrace femininity; I think I feared it in my early 20s because I didn’t want to be defined by it. Well, they’ll define you anyway, so you might as well go on some crazy adventures together.


What did you learn through your romantic relationships?
Date someone who lights you up and challenges you without hurting you. Date someone who thinks you’re steak and who you also think is steak, like Paul Newman: “Why eat a hamburger when I’ve got steak at home?” Don’t expect a partner to complete you.


How do you feel you changed emotionally?
I spent a lot of my early 20s repressing my emotion. I’m a roller coaster, and embracing that has been the best thing. When you understand a thing, you can use it. You can divert its power. When you fear something, you can only run from it.


How did you change intellectually?
I worry a lot more about getting a diverse perspective. I want to read about experiences different from mine, see art made by people I might never meet. Before I solely sought art and literature that understood me.


In what ways do you feel your identity changed?
I’m much more comfortable with myself now. I used to worry a lot about what people would think of me and if they’d get the wrong impression. Now I’m more low-key about it. Get to know me if you want, I’m hopeful I have stuff to offer. I’m not going to change in ways that will drain me or make me lose sleep at night, though. I don’t worry as much about being a wet blanket or anti-social. If I’m too drained to leave the house, I don’t lie about it.


How did your worldview change over the course of the decade?
I see a lot more of the dirt. There’s actually a lot of terrible shit that happens every day: institutionalized racism and sexism, genocide, abuse… it’s a long and very sad list, and the general complacency and denial is hard to swallow. However, I also feel way more optimistic about people than I used to. There are so many good people. Like Mr. Rogers says, look for the helpers. It only takes a few good people to change the world.


What was your biggest disappointment and how did that affect you later?
I’ve had a lot of occasions where I’ve gotten exactly what I wished for and it turned out to be the opposite of what I expected. I’ve had dream jobs that drove me onto the psychologist’s couch, I’ve dated men I thought were angels who disrespected me. I think this is what the 20s are all about, though—not putting things on pedestals or practicing the escapism of idealizing things.


Do you have any regrets? Are there things you wish you’d done, hadn’t done, or done differently?
I wish I’d been a little easier on myself and doubted myself less. Sure, I wasn’t always right, but I have learned to rely on my gut more. Not to say that I always do what I want (wouldn’t that be nice), but to examine why I feel something in the pit of my stomach and really deconstruct what’s happening. It helps to get a second opinion from trusted friends, which I’m still working on. I tend to over-isolate when I’m feeling stressed.