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Doing Science

Alumni, Young & Amazing

Meet these 5 amazing women in STEM

12:02PM, December 8, 2017
Doing Science

What does it mean to be a young woman in STEM? For some of the Society for Science & the Public alumni, it might mean going out in the field to study glaciers. For others it might mean encouraging other young girls to code or enter computer science. It means being an Olympic athlete and biology professor. It means having the power to change the world.

Below, read stories about incredible women in STEM.


    Sara Kornfeld Simpson has been a flautist for 11 years.Neuroscience and music are more related than you think

    Sometimes, science and art converge in beautiful ways. Sara Kornfeld Simpson (Intel ISEF 2011-2012, Intel STS 2014) is double majoring in neuroscience and music at Boston University. She has played the flute for 11 years and the oboe for nine. Sara performed at the Society's Signature Alumni Event in New York in September. She's interested in research about the mechanisms by which the brain modulates neural signals and the way these neuromodulatory mechanisms faciliate behaviors like learning and memory. "There's absolutely a connection between science and art, on many levels!" she said. "Both my scientific and artistic endeavors stimulate and excite my intellect, require discipline, problem-solving, and creativity, and are critical to my identity."

    Maria holds up the American flag after winning at Olympic Trials this summer.

    Science keeps this Olympian's mind sharp

    Not only is Maria Michta-Coffey (Intel STS 2004) an Olympian race walker, she also has a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. She’s the ultimate combo of scientist and athlete. Maria says science helps to keep her mind sharp, while race walking makes her more efficient in the lab. She's been to the Olympics twice, has earned 34 National Titles, and owns several American Records. She raced for Team USA in May at the Pan American Cup in Lima, Peru. Her next goal is to qualify for the World Race Walking Team Championships this summer in London. Maria is an adjunct biology professor at Suffolk County Community College. She is passionate about science communication, and may focus on that in the future.

    Twila Moon (left) in the field checking science instruments near the west coast of the Greenland Ice Sheet.

    Studying effects of climate change on glacial ice

    Twila Moon (Intel ISEF 1996, 1998, and 1999) works at the National Snow & Ice Data Center and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Studies at the University of Colorado. On a college study abroad trip to Nepal, she stood near a large valley glacier and heard the glacier melting, dripping, and ice shifting. "I thought it was the most interesting, magical thing," she said. The work Twila does helps us to understand where the Earth is going to experience coastal flooding and how ocean circulation might change. She encourages those interested in STEM to pursue it because "there are all sorts of jobs in the world that didn't exist 10 years ago, and 10 years from now, there will be even more interesting jobs."


    Our Society alumni are incredible women in STEM. Support them by becoming a member.


    Pooja Chandrashekar, front right, at the ProjectCSGirls National Gala in June.

    She founded a nonprofit in high school that's now going global

    Pooja Chandrashekar (Intel STS 2015) knows a thing or two about starting a nonprofit as a teenager. At 15, she founded ProjectCSGirls, a nonprofit that promotes computer science among young girls. Four years later, what started as a regional competition in Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Maryland has grown into a national computer science competition for middle school girls. The organization also offers workshops overseas, including in India, Sri Lanka, Germany, and France. “This has always been an aspiration of mine, to build an international community,” Pooja said.

    Society alumni Indrani Das, Benjy Firester, and Eleanor Sigrest (right) led hands-on workshops at the World Science Festival.

    The busiest middle school student

    Eleanor Sigrest (Broadcom MASTERS 2016) wants to be the first person on Mars. She's particularly interested in the intersection of computers, engineering, and space. "It gets me excited just talking about it!" she said. Recently featured on the Today Show, Eleanor focuses her research on improving rocket nozzles and engineering. In her free time, she enjoys participating in science fairs. Recently, she led a booth for kids at the World Science Festival and spoke at a middle school for Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day.

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    11:54am, December 8, 2017

    We've seen some incredible teen scientists in 2017. This year, Science News for Students(SNS) reported on student scientists who are inventing better ways to detect blood type, buoys to alert swimmers of deadly rip tides, and more.

    12:02pm, December 7, 2017

    What does it mean to be a young woman in STEM? For some of the Society for Science & the Public alumni, it might mean going out in the field to study glaciers. For others it might mean encouraging other young girls to code or enter computer science. It means being an Olympic athlete and biology professor. It means having the power to change the world.

    Below, read stories about incredible women in STEM.

    2:23pm, December 6, 2017

    The Society for Science & the Public is constantly crossing paths with talented young scientists. These STEM superstars are solving problems facing our world and delving into important research that will further our scientific knowledge.

    Below, check out a sampling of some of our favorite stories from this year about young science innovators.

    4:59pm, December 1, 2017

    2:33pm, November 22, 2017

    Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and give thanks for families, success, and even our challenges.

    We at the Society are thankful for the contributions our distinguished alumni have made in their respective fields as well as the recognitions they have received. Something else we are grateful for: alumni who have had such positive experiences competing in the Science Talent Search, Intel International Science and Engineering Fair, and Broadcom MASTERS that they encouraged brothers, sisters, children, and grandchildren to participate.

    2:37pm, November 21, 2017

    Pests are a big threat to cotton production worldwide — especially in India. Increasing pest attacks in India, the largest producer of cotton in the world, have led to decreased production levels over the past few years.

    One young Indian scientist is committed to solving the pest problem facing his community. Neelansh Gupta is researching a natural pesticide to combat the pests and save cotton plants.

    9:00am, November 20, 2017
    Sometimes, kids just need a chance to get out of the classroom. Luckily, BioBus offers a fun, interactive way to teach students about science in a new environment. After all, learning about science isn’t just confined to the classroom—it happens in the world around us.
    Students participate in a lab on the BioBus.
    10:04am, November 17, 2017

    Stephen Litt and his dad at the Broadcom MASTERS 2017 project showcase at Union Station.

    The call of science is often heard through the generations. That is definitely the case with the Litts.

    10:24am, November 15, 2017

    For 75 years, the Science Talent Search (STS) has been the nation's oldest and most prestigious science and math competition for high school seniors. From 1942-1998 the competition, created and produced by the Society for Science & the Public, was sponsored by Westinghouse; from 1998-2016 it was sponsored by Intel; and now it is sponsored by Regeneron. The competition awards $3.1 million dollars in total to top students and their schools annually.

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