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Celebrating Women in STEM

Women have always contributed to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), but their names are often left out of history books. Likewise, girls and women are faced with social and cultural barriers that can prevent them from studying STEM subjects in school or thriving in the workplace.

Pacific Science Center believes that science needs women. Celebrate the accomplishments of women in STEM and Women’s History Month with PacSci.

Learn about women blazing new trails in STEM, while joining in on special programming.

An Interview with Diana Birkett Rakow

Read an interview with Diana Birkett Rakow as she discusses her thoughts about the importance of science, education, community, and inclusion in the workplace and learning environments. Read more

An Interview with Adriane Brown, PacSci's Board Chair

Read an interview with Adriane Brown, and hear her experiences in the corporate world as well as thoughts in investing in communities. Read more

An Interview with Jessie Woolley-Wilson

Read an interview with Jessie Woolley-Wilson, and hear her thoughts on how personalized education can democratize learning opportunities. Read more

Girls and Women in STEM Programming at PacSci

Girls Night Out

Girls’ Night Out inspires curiosity in girls and nurture their careers in STEM. Girls Night Out helps young women to recognize their ability to achieve success and build career-relevant skills.
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Girls Only Camps

Girls only camps support learning in STEAM topics, while breaking down barriers that can often prevent girls from pursuing those careers.
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Meet a Scientist

Meet local scientists while they share their work through hands-on activities and conversation. Get inspired by their accomplishments!
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Support Girls Only STEM Programs

Many girls lose interest in math and science, and it’s not because they don’t enjoy or have the ability to excel in the subject. For instance, only 32% of undergrad STEM degrees were awarded to women in Washington. Social and cultural barriers often keep girls from entering STEM subjects and careers. Pacific Science Center is working to address and break down these barriers. An encouraging and inclusive community will amplify voices so more dreams can unfold.

With your support, PacSci is expanding access initiatives to address and break down these barriers.

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Women in STEM

PacSci celebrates women in STEM fields throughout our exhibit floors during the month of March. We worked with teens in our Discovery Corps to identify women whose work is making a lasting impact. This list of honorees is meant to spark conversation and also highlight the many accomplishments of women in STEM.

This is by no means a complete list. Tag us @PacSci on FacebookTwitter, and/or Instagram to share the names of women scientists, innovators, and inventors in your life!

Tu Youyou

Inspired to pursue medicine after surviving tuberculosis as a teenager, Tu Youyou studied both modern and traditional practices, turning to ancient Chinese texts to find a cure for malaria. After learning that sweet wormwood was a traditional treatment for a common malaria symptom, Tu discovered a way to extract its active compound, artemisinin, saving millions of lives. In 2015, Tu became the first Chinese woman to win a Nobel Prize.

Maryam Mirzakhani

Maryam Mirzakhani was the first woman and first Iranian to win the Fields Medal (2014), the highest honor in mathematics. Mirzakhani solved complex, cross-disciplinary problems that had long puzzled mathematicians in fields such as dynamics, topology, and hyperbolic geometry. She created essential tools that mathematicians say will continue to shape the field for years to come.

Kimberly Bryant

As a black woman studying computer science and electrical engineering, Kimberly Bryant felt a sense of community was missing. When her own daughter grew interested in computer science, Bryant wanted better for her. Using experience gained through multiple leadership positions at major corporations, she founded Black Girls Code, a computer science and technology training course for girls from underrepresented communities that has grown into a global program.

Nina Tandon

Nina Tandon is passionate about improving lives through biology. As the cofounder and CEO of EpiBone, she developed a unique technology that uses a patient’s own stem cells to grow custom-shaped, living bone replacements. EpiBone implants are more likely to integrate successfully than those made from metal or plastic, and Tandon hopes to eventually eliminate the need for organ donation.

Kristina Halona

Kristina Halona often traces the start of her STEM journey to the storytelling of her Navajo childhood. She was especially moved by the story of how Changing Woman created the earth and sky. This story and the high-tech aircraft that regularly flew over her home created diverse views of the sky, sparking Halona’s interest in aerospace engineering. Today, Halona is the engineering team program manager for the Antares rocket, which takes cargo to the astronauts living on the ISS.

Sylvia Acevedo

Sylvia Acevedo credits Girl Scouts with giving her the skills and confidence to succeed. One of Stanford University’s first Master’s-level Hispanic graduates in engineering, she has worked as an engineer, rocket scientist, and executive at NASA, Apple, Autodesk, Dell, and IBM. Now the CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, Acevedo is expanding the organization’s STEM footprint. Under her leadership, Girl Scouts earn badges in subjects such as robotics, eco-awareness, coding, cybersecurity, and space science.

Eva Galperin

Protecting vulnerable populations is central to Eva Galperin’s work as director of security at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. Galperin writes privacy and security training materials, works to eliminate malware and spyware, and advocates for privacy and security for marginalized groups ranging from abuse survivors to citizens in authoritarian regimes. Galperin’s work convinced a major cybersecurity firm to alert users when their devices contain programs that enable stalking.

Caitlin Kalinowski

Caitlin Kalinowski is bringing virtual reality to the masses. She managed the product design of Oculus Rift, the world’s first consumer VR device, and is now the head of hardware at Oculus VR. Her team has decreased the size and cost of VR devices, enabling more people to explore virtual reality. Kalinowski is also an advisory board member of Lesbians Who Tech, and she works with various groups to increase the number of women and LGBTQ+ individuals in STEM.

Mary-Claire King

The University of Washington’s Mary-Claire King was the first person to show that breast cancer can be inherited as a result of mutations in a gene she named BRCA1. She then developed a method for detecting all types of breast and ovarian cancer gene mutations. King is also a humanitarian who has used her expertise to fight against gene patenting and to spearhead research for applying genome tools to investigating human rights abuses.


Girls and Women in STEM is generously supported by: Educational Legacy Fund, First Tech Federal Credit Union, Warren and Sally Jewell, Tamaira Ross and Steve Montgomery, and Pamela Merriman and Sonja Ross. Additional support comes from more than 2,500 individuals, companies, and foundations that donate to the Science Center each year.

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