Women’s History Month
Photo by George Joch / courtesy Argonne National Laboratory via Flickr.

Photo by George Joch / courtesy Argonne National Laboratory via Flickr.

March is Women’s History Month and what better time to introduce your students to some exceptional female scientists? Here are some short, informal video interviews of female scientists:

  • TanYa Gwathmey – TanYa is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Wake Forest University School of Medicine. Find out what inspired her to study physiology and what some of her other interests are.
  • Carmen Troncoso Brindeiro – Carmen is a Postodoctoral Fellow at Dartmouth Medical School. Originally, she didn’t like science but now she studies cystic fibrosis.
  • Johana Vallejo – Johana is an Assistant Professor at Midwestern University College of Osteopathic Medicine who studies insulin resistance. She provides information on her research and career in both English and Spanish.

If your students get inspired and want to read about more female scientists, point them to these two Archive collections:  Biographies of Female Biologists I & Biographies of Female Biologists II.

Share with the Community: Who are some of your favorite female scientists? Are you doing any fun activities with your class to introduce them to women in STEM careers? Leave a Comment!

9 thoughts on “Women’s History Month”

These are some great resources for Women’s History Month. I teach at an all Women’s institution and it’s a great reminder to use this month to bring in an exploration of Women Scientists to the class. Since my students are almost all women, women scientists make very easy to relate to role models. Though she’s a chemist Marie Curie’s work is so relevant to biology that I enjoy talking about her scientific contributions. Rosalind Franklin is also someone my students relate to easily.

A common theme across all three of these interviews of exceptional female scientists is the importance of female role models early in their careers.  This can be achieved by female science faculty in a number of ways including guest lecturing at local high schools, mentoring elementary school students for participation in regional science fairs and even judging at the science fairs.  Many colleges and universities set up information booths at education events aimed at graduating high school students, and having a female presence is for science is important.

Since DNA’s structure is a constant part of the curriculum, I love discussing Rosalind Franklin; my students really get into the “drama” of the DNA Discovery! This year, I’ll also be including another female contributor to the world of science: Henrietta Lacks. While not a scientist, her contribution of cancer tissue (with or without her knowledge) changed science forever.

I’ll be sure to use these two collections in the future; I may choose to use the first video at the beginning of the school year as we’re just beginning to explore anatomy and physiology!

I put a scientist of the week up as part of the regular homework in my class, students have to write a quick informal paragraph about the scientist and give three reasons why we should know them.  I usually feature scientists from the past and who I think students should simply know in order to have full understanding about science (Marie Curie, Rachel Carson, Rosalind Franklin).  I am going to show these three women that are featured to my classes though and I appreciate the info.

I have never got this idea of introducing female scientists to my students. Its a very good initiative and I will plan for these kind of activities in future.

I myself have got inspired by a few  women Professors of Physiology who are in APS, whose   professional development activities motivate me to get involved in such activities.

Reem Abraham

My favorite females scientists include Rosalind Franklin, Barbara McClintock and Lynn Margulis.  When I tell the history of their discoveries and contributions, I think it is always important to put it in the proper historical perspective. When I talk about the Endosymbiotic Theory I always joke that when I was an undergrad it was just a hypothesis.  At least some of the students get that…

I think it is always important to recognize groups of individuals that have been pioneers in their fields and who have overcome many obstacles and prejudices to make their mark.
Kelly Wentz-Hunter

I really enjoy finding out about the not-so-well-known, but influential women scientists. As odd as it may seem the Facebook group, A Mighty Girl <https://www.facebook.com/amightygirl> is a fabulous resource. The site is about giving young women and girls the resources they need to make their own dreams.

These are some great ideas but I want to do more than celebrate just one month. Next year, I will be the STEM coordinator at my school and one of my goals is to highlight a female scientist from the local university (either graduate or post graduate) so that my students can relate to, and communicate with, a living scientist who also happens to be a woman.

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