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7 women in science who will inspire you to get serious about STEM
JAY GORY, MANAGING EDITOR, science
Women have long contributed to and transformed scientific knowledge, but they aren't always widely recognized for their hard, brilliant work.  Now that the International Day of Women and Girls in Science (#WomenInScience) is upon us, take a moment to meet some young women just starting out in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), and women who, through their research and discoveries, changed the course of history.  SEE ALSO: The accidental library: Why Elon Musk launched books to space that could last 14 billion years These seven talented girls and women will inspire you to get serious about STEM.   1. Shurouq Al Hamaideh Shurouq Al Hamaideh, who is from Tafila, Jordan, launched a social business in 2016 to teach teenagers computer programming. When UN Women profiled her work last year, the then-22-year-old had already provided training to dozens of young people — and nearly half of the participants were teenage girls. Shurouq is from Tafila, Jordan where most think that the field of tech is for men & the home is for women. Here's how she's working to break these #WomenInScience stereotypes: https://t.co/ty30cyX1YR pic.twitter.com/lL1pysAHMI — UN Women (@UN_Women) February 11, 2018 Hamaideh told the UN that it wasn't difficult to teach the teens how to code. The more difficult challenge was making do with limited resources — just one computer lab with 30 computers. That didn't stop Hamaideh. "We wanted to create an enabling environment for girls and young women to learn technology near their homes, since they do not have a lot of mobility without the consent of their parents or husband," Hamaideh said.  "I want to teach computer programming to as many girls as possible so that we can break these stereotypes and give girls the chance they deserve." 2. Lamija Gutić In the past few years, Lamija Gutić has participated in several coding camps, including IT Girls, a UN and UN Women initiative. Gutić, a teenager from Sarajevo, developed the skills to create websites and apps through that training, and she hopes to one day develop tech solutions to help improve people's lives.  Meet Lamija Gutić: at 16 yrs old, she is on her way to building tech solutions for a better : https://t.co/QiRXa7oEyt #WomenInScience pic.twitter.com/0coWmXcjiX — UN Women (@UN_Women) February 10, 2018 "For me, [information communication technology] is a world full of opportunities in which anyone can find their place, regardless of affinities, abilities and gender," she told UN Women, in October 2017. "One person cannot change the entire world alone, but we can influence the people around us, our friends, family and peers." 3. Elizabeth H. Blackburn   In 2009, Elizabeth H. Blackburn made history when she received the first Nobel Prize awarded to two women. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider (see #4), and Jack W. Szostak discovered how the enzyme telomerase and telomeres — a component of human cells — protect chromosomes.  When the Medicine Prize was announced in 2009, it was the first time in #NobelPrize history that a scientific prize was awarded to two women.Here, one of that year's Laureates - Elizabeth Blackburn - shares the four virtues of successful scientists.#WomenInScience pic.twitter.com/YjBjRu9vPA — The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) February 10, 2018 Long before she received the Nobel Prize in Medicine, Blackburn discovered, in 1980, that telomeres, which "cap" a chromosome, have a particular DNA.  Blackburn is a professor emeritus at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine.  4. Carol W. Greider Carol W. Greider was doing laundry when she received a call informing her that she'd received a Nobel Prize in 2009. More than a decade before, she and Blackburn discovered the enzyme telomerase — an enzyme that was ultimately recognized by scientists as critical to understanding how cancers and other human genetic diseases develop.  "I never planned a career ... I just went forward," Greider told the New York Times after receiving the Nobel Prize. "I loved doing experiments and I had fun with them." Greider, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, runs her own lab and continues to research telomeres and telomerase.  5. Françoise Barré-Sinoussi Barré-Sinoussi was one of three people who received the Nobel Prize in Medicine, in 2008. She and and researcher Luc Montagnier were recognized for their work discovering the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). In 1983, Barré-Sinoussi and Montagnier identified the retrovirus, which attacks blood cells critical to the body's immune system.  "We have to show them what women can do in science!" Françoise Barré-Sinoussi received the #NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine in 2008 for her role in the discovery of human immunodeficiency (AIDS) virus. #WomenInScience pic.twitter.com/Qb1CbHng4m — The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) February 11, 2018 "For me, I was very much interested in science from a young age," Barré-Sinoussi said in 2017. "During my vacations, when I was a child, I could spend hours looking at animals, comparing the behaviour of one animal to another, trying to understand, for example, why one was not running as fast as the other. I then realized at school that I was very good at science." She is a professor at the Institut Pasteur in France.  6. Mae Jemison Jemison became the first African-American woman to travel into space when she flew on the Endeavor as a science mission specialist in 1992. Jemison's background is in engineering and medical research, and she worked in public health prior to joining NASA in 1987.  "More women should demand to be involved. It's our right.” — Dr. @maejemison, the 1st black woman to travel in space. ‍ #WomenInScience #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/LHqpZ34tNh — UN Women (@UN_Women) February 11, 2018 Her eight-day mission to space focused on experiments in weightlessness and motion sickness. She spent 190 hours, 30 minutes, and 23 seconds in space. Jemison left NASA in 1993 and founded a private research company.  "When people talk about the space program, they ask me, 'Was it the toughest job I ever had; was it the most difficult?' and it wasn't," Jemison said in an interview in 2003. "Probably being a Peace Corps doctor was the most difficult job, because I was on call seven days a week, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and I was responsible for people's lives and their health. I was the person that was there. Period." 7. Katherine Johnson If you've seen the movie Hidden Figures, then you know Katherine Johnson. Played by the actress Taraji P. Henson, Johnson was the brilliant mathematician who faced discrimination at NASA in the '50s and '60s and still made invaluable contributions to the U.S. space program. Her calculations helped the U.S. send a man to the moon.   “Girls are capable of doing everything men are capable of doing.” — Katherine Johnson, whose calculations helped send a ‍ to the moon. #WomenInScience #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/AdM9MPOxWA — UN Women (@UN_Women) February 10, 2018 "There’s nothing to it — I was just doing my job,” she told the Washington Post, in 2017, about her work at NASA. “They needed information and I had it, and it didn’t matter that I found it. At the time, it was just a question and an answer." Johnson received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 — and Hidden Figures screenings at U.S. embassies in 2017 inspired a program for women in STEM. WATCH: Here’s how NASA is preparing the largest telescope ever built for space read more
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