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Women in STEM

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C&EN

Prof. Kristala L. J. Prather speaks with Korie Grayson of C&EN about her career path and her work harnessing the synthetic power of microbial systems. Of the importance of mentorship, Prather notes, “The exponential way in which you can actually have a positive impact is by taking good care of the people who are placed into your academic and intellectual trust. That’s how we make a difference.”

C&EN

In an article for C&EN, Marsha-Ann Watson explores what inspired Prof. Paula Hammond, head of MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering, to pursue a career in engineering, how her research at MIT has evolved to focus on biomedical applications and the importance of inclusivity and diversity. Hammond recalls how her first female science teacher inspired her love of chemistry: “I learned that I loved chemistry and that I could actually use that interest to perhaps create things,” she explains.

CNN

CNN’s Harmeet Kaur spotlights alumna Swati Mohan PhD ’10, who was the guidance and controls operations lead for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission and also served as the mission commentator. Kaur notes that Mohan, who first became intrigued by space while watching Star Trek as a child, was the “eyes and ears” for the historic landing.

Mashable

Alumna Swati Mohan PhD ’10 served as the mission commentator who confirmed that the NASA Perseverance rover had touched down on Mars last week, reports Mashable. “Mohan led the attitude control system of Mars 2020 during operations, and was the lead systems engineer throughout development. The attitude control system points the vehicle where it needs to be and helps figure out where the spacecraft is oriented in space.”

The Real

Alumna Tiera Fletcher ’17, a structural design engineer working on building NASA’s Space Launch System, and her husband Myron Fletcher speak with the hosts of The Real about what inspired them to pursue careers in aerospace engineering and their organization Rocket with the Fletchers, which is aimed at introducing underprivileged youth to the field of aerodynamics.

Cambridge Day

Writing for Cambridge Day, Marieke Van Damme, executive director of the Cambridge Historical Society, explores the life and work of alumna Lois Lilley Howe, a member of the Class of 1890. Howe was “a trailblazer, one of the first women to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s architectural program, the organizer of the only all-woman architectural firm in Boston in the early 20th century and the first woman elected as a fellow of the American Institute of Architects,” writes Van Damme.

CBS News

CBS News spotlights how two MIT researchers have been named to key roles on the Biden administration’s science team. Prof. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute, has been nominated to lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, will co-chair the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Zuber said she hopes to "restore trust in science, and pursue breakthroughs that benefit all people."

Nature

Prof. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute, and Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, have been nominated to leading roles on the Biden administration's science team, report Nidhi Subbaraman and Alexandra Witze for Nature. “These are excellent appointments, highly qualified and experienced, and well grounded in science,” says Rita Colwell, a professor at University of Maryland at College Park and former director of the National Science Foundation

New York Times

New York Times reporter Carl Zimmer writes that Prof. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute, has been nominated to serve as director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy and to serve as a presidential science advisor. MIT Vice President for Research Maria Zuber will co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

The Washington Post

Prof. Eric Lander, president and founding director of the Broad Institute, has been nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to lead the Office of Science and Technology Policy, which Biden will make a Cabinet-level position, reports Sarah Kaplan for The Washington Post. Maria Zuber, MIT’s vice president for research, will co-chair the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Forbes

Forbes contributor Rob Toews spotlights the work of Professor Daniela Rus, the deputy dean of research for the Schwarzman College of Computing and director of CSAIL; graduate student Joy Buolamwini; and former MIT postdoc Rana el Kaliouby for their work shaping the future of AI. “They also serve as role models for the next generation of AI leaders, reflecting what a more inclusive AI community can and should look like," writes Toews.

CBS News

CBS News reporter Sophie Lewis spotlights NASA astronauts Jasmin Moghbeli '05 and Kate Rubins, a former researcher at MIT’s Whitehead Institute, noting that they are training for the upcoming Artemis missions, which will "send the first woman to walk on the moon."

The Kelly Clarkson Show

Danielle Geathers, president of the MIT Undergraduate Association, joins Kelly Clarkson to discuss her goals for her presidency. Geathers highlights the Talented Ten Mentorship program, which aims to help increase matriculation of Black women by pairing “Black women in high school with Black women at MIT.” Clarkson applauded her work, noting “that’s amazing mentorship…You can dream big when you see that someone has made it there.”

NBC News

NBC News reporters Lindsay Hoffman and Caroline Kim spotlight graduate student Joy Buolamwini’s work uncovering racial and gender bias in AI systems in a piece highlighting women who are “shattering ceilings, making groundbreaking discoveries, and spreading public awareness during the global pandemic.” Hoffman and Kim note that Buolamwini’s research "helped persuade these companies to put a hold on facial recognition technology until federal regulations were passed.”

Stat

Emily Calandrelli SM ’13 speaks with STAT reporter Pratibha Gopalakrishna about her work aimed at getting children interested in science, the importance of representation in the STEM fields, and her new Netflix show. “I don’t shy away from the science because I think kids are very clever and know way more than a lot of people give them credit for,” says Calandrelli.