Friday, January 13, 2017

Day 3, 10 Days of Great Women

In the final days leading up to the Women's Marches across the nation, I'll be highlighting the GREAT Americans I know who have fought for our progress as a nation. I'll specifically be looking toward the women in my life that have impacted my ability to see progress, women who have inspired me, women who have pushed me to be better.

Today is Day 3 and it is for the Women Scientists in my life.

STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) are largely thought to be male-dominated fields. And clearly there's a lot of data to support that. But in 110 years of Nobel Prize history, 40 women have gotten the prize. the first of which was Marie Curie who won for BOTH Physics and Chemistry.

So if the numbers are heavily male in the field, and yet so many prizes have been awarded to women it makes you wonder if that might not be a reflection of some feature of these specific women? Is that they were better able to communicate their findings and theories? Were they better at working on teams and advancing the ideas overall?

I'm no historian, and especially not in this area, but I'll tell you that I know and admire many female scientists and the ones I know are great at communicating the information they've gathered. They're experts at teacher others this information. And they're spectacularly skilled at working on teams to focus on and advance ideas.

So today is for the Scientists.
I spy on your ideas and love this. I do this in part because the areas where I was naturally talented were in math and science but I never pursued them. I like hearing what's going on in your fields.

My mother is a veterinarian. She let us dissect things my brother found dead on his paper route in our backyard. She guided us through and attended my school to help with frog dissection and still takes my call or text to quickly give me answers to many anatomical questions I have. She taught me that the body is nothing to fear, but is instead, a fascination.

I have a number of friends and family members who are scientists as well. There's Kelley who has worked on research regarding the protocols for blood used in transfusions as well as Alzheimer's research. Who wouldn't admire a woman who finished her advanced degree with her children alongside her and has gone on to do such amazing work. That's what my mom did but dang, if that's not a tall order.

I also enjoy long substantive conversations with Dr. Anna Prescott who has her PhD from Dartmouth and will take the extensive time it takes to explain all the elements of psychology research. It's complex and fascinating to learn about how conclusions are arrived at and which types of research are being worked on. I could talk to her forever.

I feel similarly about talking with my friend Dr. Terri Niehoff Holzen and Dr. Kristina Prescott. They have both studied evolutionary biology and taught for years. They also happen to have similarly elastic and hilarious facial expressions which makes it way better to hear about research that's a bit hard to follow. And try camping or adventuring outside with moms who double as biologists! They'll talk at length with you about bugs and handle and photograph them with your kids as well as make up a story to go along with it.

Today, Day 3, is dedicated to you, Scientists. I consider you great women for chasing your own curiosity and for the grit to stick with long and challenging degree paths as well as rewarding the curiosity of others with published papers and shared ideas and findings. To ideas!