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Women in STEM

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Times Higher Ed

Times Higher Ed reporter writes that Rebecca Blank PhD ’83 will be the next president, and first female president, of Northwestern University. Blank said of the Nobel Prize in Economics awarded to Prof. Joshua Angrist and his colleagues: “They’ve taken on issues that are real-world problems, and told us something about them. That’s exactly what universities should be good at doing.”

The Boston Globe

Alicia Chong Rodriguez SM ’17, SM ’18 speaks with Boston Globe reporter Pranshu Verma about the inspiration for her startup BloomerTech, which is focused on addressing heart disease in women, and the underrepresentation of women in clinical trials. As part of this effort, BloomerTech is developing a “sensor-enabled bra that feeds real-time heart data to doctors running clinical trials on women’s cardiovascular disease.”

Fast Company

Fast Company reporter Greg Toppo spotlights alumna Laila Shabir ‘10, founder of Girls Make Games, a series of summer camps, workshops and game jams aimed at bringing together and empowering young women interested in video games. “The camp not only promotes a message of empowerment for girls, but one that encourages them to think differently about games,” writes Toppo. “Shabir urges campers to ‘think big’ about games and get to the essence of the games they love and why they love them.”

The Economist

The Economist spotlights alumna Lisa Su S.B. ’90, S.M. ’91, PhD ’94, who is the chief executive of the chip maker AMD. “I learned that when I chose something very difficult, and did well, it would give me great confidence for the next challenge,” says Su.

The Guardian

Alumna Emily Calandrelli S.M. ’13 speaks with Guardian reporter Kieran Yates about the need for more diversity in the space sector. Calandrelli notes that the push for greater diversity and inclusion will lead to new ideas and innovations, saying: “I can’t remember feeling as excited about the future of the industry as right now.”

Forbes

Institute Prof. Barbara Liskov, Prof. Dina Katabi, Prof. Dava Newman, Prof. Daniela Rus and a number of MIT alumnae and MIT Corporation members have been named to the Academic Influence list of the most influential women engineers in the world, reports Michael T. Nietzel for Forbes.

Bloomberg

Prof. Danielle Wood has been named to Bloomberg’s list of catalysts who are inspiring “new ideas, fresh thinking and novel approaches to old quandaries. But most importantly, they incite action,” writes Andrew Browne for Bloomberg. “Wood uses her expertise to harness space technology for development challenges around the world,” writes Laura Bolt.

NPR

Prof. Linda Griffith joins Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air to discuss how studying endometriosis could help unlock some of the mysteries of tissue regeneration. "The regeneration of the endometrium is weirdly not studied as much as it should be," she says. "But it's fascinating because you get about a centimeter of growth of tissue that has beautifully formed blood vessels, an immune system, all of the structures of the tissue — over a period of about two weeks."

Science

In an editorial for Science, Prof. Sangeeta Bhatia, Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins and President Emerita Susan Hockfield underscore the importance of addressing the underrepresentation of women and minorities in tech transfer. “The discoveries women and minority researchers are making today have great potential as a force for good in the world,” they write, “but reaching that potential is only possible if paths to real-world applications are open to everybody.”

The Wall Street Journal

In an article for The Wall Street Journal about a new book, “The Secret History of Home Economics,” Barbara Spindel spotlights alumna Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman to attend MIT and the institute’s first female instructor. The book’s author, Danielle Dreilinger writes that Richards “believed fervently in the power of science to free women from ‘drudgery.’”

New York Times

Prof. Linda Griffith is on a mission to change the conversation about endometriosis “from one of women’s pain to one of biomarkers, genetics and molecular networks,” writes Rachel E. Gross for The New York Times. “The endometrium is inherently regenerative,” says Griffith. “So studying it, you’re studying a regenerative process — and how it goes wrong, in cases.” 

Stat

Prof. Emerita Nancy Hopkins speaks with Rebecca Sohn of STAT about the Boston Biotech Working Group’s goal of increasing the number of women leaders and entrepreneurs in biotech and her hopes for the future of women in biotech and the sciences. “You want people to feel that they are free to participate in all the things wherever it leads them,” says Hopkins. “So I think the goal is just that people who really want to do this [pursue biotech] don’t face any greater barrier than anybody else. That everybody has equal access and education to do as they want to.”

McGonigal's Chronicles: Making Montana Connections

McGonigal’s Chronicles, a new podcast celebrating extraordinary people with Montana connections, recently launched with an appearance by Professor Dava Newman. In conversation with the host, Tim McGonigal of Montana Television Network, Newman discusses growing up in Big Sky Country, her excitement about becoming director of the MIT Media Lab, and the importance of role models. “All little folks have a great dream, and I think it’s all of our responsibility then to help empower them, help their dreams come true,” says Newman.

Boston Globe

A group of MIT scientists has announced a new plan, called the Future Founders Initiative, aimed at addressing gender inequities in the biotech industry, reports Anissa Gardizy for The Boston Globe. “If we can’t advance discoveries at the same rate for women and men, that means there are drugs, therapies, devices, and diagnostics that are not getting to where they can actually benefit people,” says President Emerita Susan Hockfield. “If as a region we want to continue to lead the world, the best thing to do is not squander our resources.”

Women in Economics Podcast

Prof. Nancy Rose speaks with Mary Suiter of the Women in Economics podcast about what led her to study economics, her time working at the U.S. Department of Justice, and why teaching and mentoring are so important to her. “A couple of extraordinarily influential teachers are the reason I’m an economist today, and so part of it is just trying to pass on my enthusiasm for economics and my appreciation for what it’s enabled me to do to students,” says Rose.