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Women in STEM Podcast Episode 13 – Pinshane Huang, Materials Research Scientist, Applied Physicist

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Pinshane HuangInterview with Pinshane Huang, who has a phd in applied physics and is a postdoc at Columbia University in the Materials Research Science & Engineering Center. She is a photographer for tiny things.

Hosted by Sarah Worsham.

Music is Light Emotions by MIGmusic.

Listen to Women in STEM podcast Episode 13:


Show Notes

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Women in STEM Podcast Episode 12 – Alison Criscitiello, Glaciologist

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AlisonCriscitielloInterview with Alison Criscitiello, a Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Calgary, as a glaciologist studying ice core chemistry.

Hosted by Sarah Worsham.

Music is Light Emotions by MIGmusic.

Listen to Women in STEM podcast Episode 12:


Show Notes:

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Applications Open for NCWIT High School Award

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ladiestechnologyNCWIT’s (National Center for Women & Information Technology) Award for Aspirations in Computing is now open for applications to any US high school woman with computing aspirations. Recipients will be chosen for their outstanding aptitude and interest in computing, proven leadership ability, academic performance, and plans for post-secondary education.

National Award recipients will receive $500 cash, a laptop computer, a trip to attend the Bank of America Technology Showcase and Awards Ceremony, an engraved plaque, and networking opportunities. All award recipients will receive recognition at an award event, scholarship and internship opportunities, access to a peer community of technical young woman and various other prizes. Recognition is sponsored at the national level by Bank of America and at the local level by Microsoft.

“This award is a huge stepping stone,” said NCWIT CEO and Co-founder Lucy Sanders. “The recognition and visibility that these young women receive lead to educational and workforce opportunities in technology, encouraging them to persist in one of the fastest-growing and most stable fields. We are excited to support these young women as they continue on their paths to success.”

Encouraging female students is a driving factor to how likely they are to complete a computing major/minor and to choose a computing career. NCWIT’s award has encouraged thousands of young women since its inception in 2007. More than 13,000 young women have self-identified as interested in computing and technology, and 83% of participants now in college report a major or minor in traditionally male-dominated STEM fields.

Students can apply online at www.bit.ly/AiCHSAward through November 2, 2014 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Women in STEM Podcast Episode 4 – Marie Webster, research scientist & post-doctoral fellow at The Wistar Institute

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marie-labcoatInterview with Marie Webster, Post-doctoral Fellow and research scientist at The Wistar Institute with a PhD in Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences.

Hosted by Sarah Worsham.

Music is Light Emotions by MIGmusic.

Listen to Women In STEM podcast Episode 4:

Please Subscribe to & Review our Podcast

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Other Women In STEM podcast episodes:

Why I Added an MBA to my Computer Engineering Degree

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Sarah Graduating with an MBA

Sarah Graduating with an MBA (Photo credit: sazbean)

Having a computer engineering degree with a concentration in software engineering is very marketable right now.  So why did I go back to get my MBA in marketing and strategy? When I originally started my business back in 1998, I was hand-coding websites in html and php. As I worked with clients to design websites for their businesses, I quickly realized that the technology intersected the business and marketing. Not only was there an opportunity to design websites as marketing tools, it was an imperative. To properly serve business, you need to understand business. Continue Reading →

Physics as a Gateway to a STEM Career

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English: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula. Français :...

English: The Fairy of Eagle Nebula.  (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have always loved science.  My favorite classes throughout elementary, middle and high schools were science classes. I loved watching Cosmos and NOVA and Nature on PBS (which helped quite a bit with the science classes). The same cannot be said of math classes, which were my bane through college (see The Engineer Who Hated Math). Before my Physics classes, I never really saw the impact of science & math together — what a great set of problem solving tools they can be.

Separate, but (Not) Equal

Before Physics, math and science classes were very separate, with very little overlap.  We didn’t really use math in science, or vice versa (science was fairly observational and any math used was pretty simple). Science classes seemed to be about learning about the wonders of the world, while math was just straight-up memorization and busy-work.

Physics as a Gateway

My Physics class was the first time that I think we really did actual problem solving — not for some made-up, ridiculous situations (I’m looking at you, math classes), but for real experiments where we had to figure out what was going on. This required a combination of math, science and creativity. And it was fun! In my physics class, I first started to visualize how you could use science and math knowledge as a career besides just math or science — engineering seemed very doable and approachable, not just about engines. I started dreaming of being an engineer who designed cars.

The Universe Within Reach

My two Physics classes in high school (honors and advanced placement) were some of my favorite classes of my school years.  Even in Engineering school, besides a few awesome Computer Engineering classes, the one Physics class I got to take (I passed out of the others) was a stand-out that weaved together the concepts and equations of time and relativity into something that was almost concrete and definitely was cool. Abstract concepts felt within reach and the universe felt both unimaginably huge and within touch at the same time. What more can you ask of a class?

 

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Women in Tech, Interview with Kate Snyder, Principal Strategist & Owner of Piper & Gold Public Relations

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kate-snyder-piper-and-goldKate Snyder is the principal strategist and owner of Piper & Gold Public Relations, a boutique PR agency in Michigan. She and her team work with organizations like government agencies, nonprofits and small businesses to help them figure out how to connect with people. Technology is a huge component in this — technology allows people to connect in a whole new set of ways and she works with organizations to help them take advantage of digital tools like social media, blogs, software tools and more to build meaningful relationships. Kate also co-founded Domestic Slice, a lifestyle blog. Kate shares her story with us….

Sarah Worsham: In your entire career, what’s been your favorite job or project and why?

Kate Snyder: One of the organizations I volunteer and work with is Impression 5 Science Center. I spent eight years in communications at a government agency that worked on helping people connect with jobs, so I saw on a daily basis the importance of STEM education. Working with I5 is fantastic in so many ways — I know it’s important and makes a difference, but it’s also just super fun. I mean, you get to play with bubbles. Bubbles at work? Yes, please.

Sarah: Tell us about the 2020 Girls program. How did you get involved with it?

Kate: We’re fortunate to get to work with ITEC — the Information Technology Empowerment Center — as one of our clients at Piper & Gold. We came on just as this new program, 2020 Girls, was starting. It’s been such a cool experience to get to be a part of a program that’s so close to my heart. I was always told growing up that math was hard. It wasn’t until years later that I realized it wasn’t hard for me, I just perceived it to be. In actuality, I’m a huge data geek and love the numbers side of business. I feel like if I’d been a boy, I never would have been “sheltered” from math. Giving these girls a chance to connect with other women telling them, “You can do this. This is meaningful,” is such an important and powerful thing for them to hear.

Sarah: Was there a particular event or moment when you decided to pursue a career in STEM?

Kate: I really grew up believing I was bad at math and science. My grades didn’t support that theory but I just believed these were supposed to be hard. I’ve always been involved in music and theater and people were constantly telling me I should study music or art or writing in school. In the end, I studied all of them and got a liberal arts degree. It wasn’t until I got into PR and starting using all of these phenomenal digital tools that I realized I was a part of the STEM world. I use technology on a daily basis to do my job and advance my company and my field. I use all of these “hard” things and I really enjoy it.

Sarah: What has been most important in terms of getting where you are today?

Kate: I was fortunate to work under mentors who gave me a lot of responsibility and freedom as it related to my positions and I think that’s made a huge difference. I’ve always had a very “figure it out yourself” kind of mentality as it relates to work and having the freedom to do my job and earning trust as a leader has been huge.

Sarah: Did you have any mentors or role models growing up that led you to this career? How did they influence you?

Kate: Early in my career I had several very traditional mentors — mostly my bosses. Now, as an entrepreneur, I find myself looking up to and gaining so much from peers of mine in entrepreneurship. It’s such a unique and different work experience to own a business, to have people counting on you, to be the end of the line on every major decision — it’s been so critical for me to have these peers who have a shared experience in entrepreneurship.

Sarah: Have you ever had any difficulties in your career due to your gender? How did you handle them?

Kate: I look young. I’m blonde. I’m “perky.” I remember as far back as high school having a (male) teacher who called me Barbie, a moniker that was repeated most of my life including on a feedback form from a student at a college at which I teach. “It was nice getting to look at Malibu Barbie all semester,” was the exact comment. You don’t forget that comment. I’ve been called “little girl” and “sweetheart.” Once a guy actually patted me on the top of my head. I wanted to punch him.

When I was younger and less confident I would just let it roll off my back or quietly seethe about it. Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In had a profound effect on me professionally. I realized I was contributing to the problem by not addressing sexism as it occurred and I was subconsciously treating male and female students, interns, employees and clients differently. Now when someone says something inappropriate, I point blank state, “That was incredibly sexist,” or “That is not an appropriate way to talk to a colleague.” I just went off on an individual the other day for saying, “Don’t go getting all emotional on me, Mom,” to a woman who had just returned from maternity leave. It may have felt like a harmless statement to him, or it could have been an attempt to bond with a fellow parent, but it set me off. I immediately reacted with, “It is never appropriate to connect emotions and gender or parental status in the workplace. Never.”

Sarah: What advice do you have to anyone interested in a similar career?

Kate: I feel like the world of social and digital media is one of the areas of the tech community where you can find a huge base of female colleagues and coworkers, and I love that about it. I also think that it’s important for all of us to be well-versed in the STEM disciplines regardless of our intended career path. When I first started off to be a writer, I never realized how heavily software and digital platforms would affect what I do, nor did I recognize that as a small business owner, numbers would become my life. STEM is everywhere.

Sarah: In your opinion, how can we get more girls interested in STEM careers?

Kate: I think we need to break down the stigmas that these disciplines are harder than anything else you’ll do. Being awesome at ANYTHING is hard. Get over it. Being awesome is also fun and rewarding, whether that’s in engineering or music.

Connect with Kate:

Thanks Kate!  We hope you found her story helpful, interesting and inspiring.  If you would like to share your own story, please submit your information and we’ll be in contact soon!

Women in Engineering: What Classes to Take in High School?

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Code banana

Code banana (Photo credit: Vackovich)

I recently was on a panel for engineering at my high school’s career day. It was fun to share what engineering is with fairly large groups of students, including a good balance of ladies.  One of the most commonly asked questions was what classes to take in high school.

I was lucky enough to be able to attend a high school that offered a variety of science classes, many at honors and advanced placement levels.  As an engineer, all of the science classes I took were very useful, especially my physics classes.  I never was a fan of math in my math classes, but physics took math as a tool to find solutions.  I actually learned a lot of math in my physics classes before it was taught in the math classes (and it was easier to understand because we were using it to solve real problems). I think physics is such an important class because it really teaches you to think about how to use what you know to solve a problem.

While I may be biased as a computer engineer, I also believe computer science classes are important to being an engineer.  Even if you don’t go into software or computer engineering, you’re likely to do programming on systems in order to help you solve problems.  Computer science helps you understand how to solve problems in a way that can be used for any sort of problem.  And having a background in one computer language will make it much easier to use any other that you may come across (including non-programming applications).

What high school classes have you found helpful in your engineering career?

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