Math

Help Us Donate to the Mars Generation!

 
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Last year, we did our best to help donate to the Mars Generation and to help them reach their goal of $20,000!  We were able to help them, and we raised almost $150 for them. 

 

This year, we want to raise 8x that.

 

 
 

The Mars Generation is a non-profit that helps kids get excited about STEM.  Started by Abigail Harrison, or as many know her, Astronaut Abby, in 2015, The Mars Generation has been helping children get into Science, Tech, Engineering, and Math ever since.  

 

This year, it's their 3rd Annual #TrainLikeaMartian challenge.  The challenge 'is a week of fun activities that brings awareness to the importance of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) education, space exploration, and physical fitness to students and adults around the world' according to their website.

 

Last year, FemSTEM got involved, and we want to get involved again.

 

We did some of the challenges ourselves, as well as started a fundraising page to help raise them up to their goal!

 

Here is our current fundraising page to help them out this year!

 

If you donate, all of the money goes directly to the Mars Generation -- we don't see any of it.  This is not sponsored by them in any way, shape or form, it's just a fun way to help our fellow STEM-lovers help others!

 

And -- if you donate $25 or more, you get entered into their daily prize drawings as well as their grand prize drawings.  You can learn more information about their prizes here.  On top of that, you'll get a handwritten thank you card from us no matter how much you donate (as long as you donate through our fundraiser here).  

 

What are you waiting for!!

 

DONATE NOW

 
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.



STEM GEMS: A Review of a Book about Women in STEM

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    When kids think of the modern scientist — who do they think of?  Usually, Bill Nye the Science Guy will come to mind (and why not? His catchy theme song has infected the minds of all American kids since 1993).  That …may be it.  Some kids may know of Stephen Hawking, Neil Degrasse Tyson, or Michio Kaku.  

 

    The pattern?  All of these modern day scientists have one thing in common: they are all men.

 

    Stephanie Espy set out to change that.

 

 
 

    Stephanie Espy is a Chemical Engineer and author who decided to shine a light on 44 of today’s modern women scientists.  “I have always been passionate about STEM,”  She writes on her website about why she wrote the book to begin with.  “and I’m equally passionate about getting more girls and young women excited about STEM too. I wrote this book with a mission: to help girls and young women to see their future selves as scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians, and to show them the many diverse options that exist in STEM.”

 

    With this book, she reached her goal and did it spectacularly.

 

    Out of graciousness, I was sent a copy of this book.  Because my life was so hectic, it took me a while to actually get around to reading it, but when I did — I had a hard time putting it down when real life called me to get some work done.  

 

    My first thought was: “Why is this not in every school library?”  

 

 

    These short biographies of these women in STEM give a fun look to their lives, their positions, and their passions.  However, not only did Espy provide 44 role models in STEM from all sorts of walks of life — she does something else for the readers, too. Past all of the bios is advice that Espy has written specifically for the girls who pick up this book.  Advice towards who to get started in STEM, and how to keep up with your goals in these fields.  Taking the stories from the 44 gems, and creating practical guidance from them.

 

    This books is excellently written on top of it all.  It kept my attention, and it taught me about these women effectively.  It’s bound to keep the attention of children in class, and it really should be required reading, or at least suggested reading for science classes.  It would also be an excellent choice for a book report.  

 

    I keep mentioning children reading this, but really, it’s fantastic for all ages.  The writing doesn’t talk down to the reader in the least, and everyone can learn something from it.  My guess is that most people who pick up this book haven’t heard of all of these women — if they’ve heard of any of them to begin with.

 

    Consider supporting Stephanie Espy in her efforts buy purchasing her book here.  You won’t be sorry you did it.  

 

*Mariah was given a copy of this book to read and review for free. This post is otherwise non-sponosered.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of all things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.



A Brief History of Maryam Mirzakhani: A Wonderful Mathematician

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Posted in July 2017

Last week, on July 14th 2017, the world lost Maryam Mirzakhani to Breast Cancer.  She passed away at the young age of forty.

 

Mirzakhani was, of course, most known for her mathematics. Her legacy includes being the first woman to win the Fields Medal back in 2014, an award given to those who are incredible mathematicians under the age of forty.  It’s considered to be the most prestigious award a mathematician can hope to ever receive.

 

Born in 1977 in Iran, she spent much of her time in her home country, going to schools specifically for children that had special talents.  She specifically attended Farzangehan School, an all-girls middle and high school where the children take classes as though they were already attending college.

 

Throughout her career, she was recognized for the joy that she had for math, her humility, and her overall brilliance.  The New Yorker wrote an article about her, quoting a few scientists on the qualities they saw in her.  In reference to her mathematical ability, one mathematician (who also won a fields the same year Maryam Mirzakhani had) said of her:  “[She] was a master of curved spaces. […] Maryam proved many amazing theorems about such shortest paths—called ‘geodesics’—on curved surfaces, among many other remarkable results in geometry and beyond.”  (Manjul Bharagava to the New Yorker)

 

In 2013, Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer, and it quickly spread to her bone marrow.  Despite this, Bharagava continued to tell the New Yorker that she was still producing some of her best mathematical work throughout her illness.

 

Unfortunately, as one might expect, Mirzakhani left some family behind.  A husband named Jan Vondrák, who is a computer scientist and mathematician himself, and their daughter Anahita. Their daughter, who is currently six years old, considered her mother’s work art — often calling her mother’s work “paintings”.

 

In STEM, math almost seems to be the subject people avoid the most.  Though math is technically in every aspect of STEM in one way or another, math can be extremely intimating to many people.  Mirzakhani was a fantastic example during her lifetime for everyone in this matter.  She’s quoted as saying:  “You have to spend some energy and effort to see the beauty of math”.

 

Maybe all of us can step back and see the beauty in Maryam Mirzakhani’s honor.

 

READ THE NPR ARTICLE ABOUT MIRZAKHANI

 
 

Historical Accuracies: Dorothy Vaughan's Actual Timeline At NASA

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Hidden Figures was a movie that took the world by storm, telling the stories of three women who worked at NASA.  Unfortunately, the movie is not something you can take literally.  It has a few inaccuracies to the story, including parts of the story of Dorothy Vaughan, who was played by Octavia Spencer.

 

Dorothy Vaughan was born in 1910, and was hired into NACA approximately twenty years before the movie Hidden Figures takes place.  When Vaughan was hired in during the forties (December of 1943) it was still NACA (National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics).  NACA wouldn't become NASA until 1958.  Vaughan retired from NASA in 1971, and passed in 2008.

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Before she worked for NACA, Dorothy Vaughan was a high school math teacher at Robert Russa Moton High.  She left, believing her job at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory would only be temporary during WWII.

 

In 1941, two years before Vaughan moved to the Laboratory, Executive Order 8802 was signed into law.  This order prohibited employment discrimination (as far as race, religion, and ethnicity) in the US, and as a result, Vaughan was one of the first African-American's to be hired as mathematicians and scientists.

 

Vaughan really was the head of the segregated West Area Computers like the movie portrays her.  Mostly, it's the timeline that's off as far as the movie's accuracy goes.

 

She was the head of this group from 1949 to 1958.  This group was dismantled three years prior to the movie's timeline.  When NACA became NASA in 1958, this group and other segregated parts of the facility were abolished.  Most of the women who worked in the WAC were transferred at that time, including Vaughan.  They were transferred to the ACD (Analysis and Computation Division), which was a racially and gender-integrated group that turned to working on electronic computing.

 

This makes another inaccuracy in the movie's timeline.  Since the WAC was abolished in 1958 and Vaughan moved on to electronic computing then, the IBM conflict in the story isn't quite accurate.  In fact, the electronic computer FORTRAN, was purchased and developed prior to the sixties.

 

Not only that, but the movie portrays Dorothy Vaughan as figuring out how the FORTRAN worked while the men were not looking.  In all actuality, programming like that was considered 'women's work' at the time.

 

The timeline inaccuracies were obviously meant to keep the movie more condensed.  Dorothy Vaughan really did work with Katherine Johnson (who liked the movie quite a bit) and Mary Jackson during that time, but many of the events that took place during the movie happened before the sixties.

 

There are other inaccuracies, such as Johnson's trips to the bathroom were actually Jackson's problem, and Glenn was never meant to orbit seven times around the Earth, as well as others.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.

But What If She’s Just Not Interested in STEM?

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Every day there is more and more encouragement on the internet and other forms of media for girls to get into STEM fields and to thrive in them.  From shows on PBS, to Twitter threads and Facebook groups, and lots and lots of news stories about girls thriving in STEM in order to encourage other girls to get into STEM.

 

This …might be a cause of some anxiety for some parents depending on some things.

 

What if she’s just not interested in STEM? 

 

The fact is, we should all be interested in STEM to some degree.  Not only will some interest help us get through our schooling (if I had more of an interest in Math, it would have helped me a ton), but there’s something we need to face.  STEM is in our every day lives, whether we like it or not.  Without STEM there would be no computers, or smart phones, or televisions.  Without STEM there wouldn’t be the plants outside, or the pets within our houses!  We wouldn’t even have our homes, if you think about it!  Construction takes a lot of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!

 

If we don’t have an interest in STEM at all, we don’t have an interest in a lot of life. Without you even realizing it, some of your interests (if not most of your interests) are going to be linked in STEM.  This is also true for your daughters (and sons, of course).

 

Another fact: Truthfully? Though we might not have a career in it, we all are scientists.

 

Something to consider might be: is she not interested in STEM, or has she just not been exposed to it enough?

 

There’s lots of ways to expose your girls to STEM that make it fun and enjoyable for them.  More and more books about STEM are coming out for younger ages, and more and more programs exist to get girls into STEM.

 

[caption id="attachment_465" align="aligncenter" width="700"]<a href="http://www.surlatoile.com/WomenInScience/"><img class="wp-image-465" src="https://femstem.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/DSC_2912-1024x685.jpg" alt="women in science" width="700" height="469" /></a> From luanagames.com[/caption]

 

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Here are a few for your viewing pleasure*:

 

#GirlsWhoCode - A national non-profit organization dedicated to closing the gender gap in technology.

STEM Girls Books - A company in development with three picture books coming out around Summer of 2017.

Women in Science the Card Game - An original, fun and educational card game that includes 44 different women for your children to learn about! Plus an expansion pack!

STEMBox - A monthly subscription box that sends science experiments to your door.

Beyond Curie Posters - A slew of posters of women scientists. Perfect for a classroom, or a bedroom!

Sasha Tech Savvy Loves to Code - A children’s book that hasn’t been released yet, but should come out soon!

Launch Ladies - Another children’s book (for very little ones) that will be released soon about Women in Space.

 

But Here’s the Bottom Line:

 

There should be NO PRESSURE for your child to have a career in STEM.  Everyone is different, everyone has different interests, and not everyone wants to be a scientist for a living.  That’s okay — of course it is.  There’s been a bigger push for women to come into science lately, but that’s because there’s a lot of opportunity there and everyone should know that this is an option for them if they want to go that route.

 

But if they don’t — that’s of course okay.

 

We’re going to continue to encourage girls to be interested in STEM, but there’s no pressure.

 

*this post was not sponsored

 
 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Mariah Loeber is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of FemSTEM.com. She studies English and is a huge fan of things STEM.  Find her on Twitter.