I believe that every child is a born scientist. They spend the first years of their lives observing and investigating the world around them!...

International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021 - Let's Hear it for the Girls!

I believe that every child is a born scientist. They spend the first years of their lives observing and investigating the world around them! I think you'd be hard-pressed to find a baby who did not conduct the "what happens when I take this off my high chair tray, stretch my arm out to the side, and let go" experiment. And they don't stop after doing it once - they test it over and over to see if they get the same result each time! To build interest in science, all we have to do is nurture our children's natural curiosities. Provide things for them to observe with all senses, break apart, put together, combine, drop, throw, push, pull...I think you get the idea! Just remember, there's no right or wrong way to science - as long as everyone is safe, let them guide the experimentation!

So why the specific focus on girls and science? According to the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics, women account for 52% of the college-educated workforce, but make up less than a third of the science and engineering workforce. Within the science and technology sector, women are more likely to be involved in life and social sciences and less likely to be engineers or computer, mathematical, and physical scientists. My goal today is to provide young girls everywhere with some real life role models from the science world as well as information on the different types of careers available in science and engineering. 

Life sciences (biology, botany, zoology, microbiology, physiology, biochemistry...)

Tanya Brown, Marine Biologist

I study how corals respond to disease. I do a combination of fieldwork (lots of SCUBA diving) and work in the lab doing molecular biology. I have always loved the water and was always that kid that was the first one in the water and the last one out and wanted to combine my love for the ocean with lab work. The biggest influence in going into science was my grandmother whose love for biology transferred to me. She would spend endless hours helping me understand biology and in the end her help made me pursue biology!

Tania Oberyszyn, Research Scientist

I went into science because I was always curious about how the body worked and what happens when parts of your body don't work the way they should. My research focused on trying to understand how sunlight causes skin cancer to develop and why men get more skin cancers than women. I loved being able to come up with different ideas about what could be happening and going into the laboratory and testing those ideas. I had a lot of amazing high school, college, and graduate students who worked with me in my laboratory and helped come up with ideas to test and then carried out the experiments. Some ideas work but many more don't. That is part of the scientific process.

For some reason some girls think that science and doing research is only for boys, but all types of science, whether it is biology, chemistry, or physics, is a wonderful opportunity for girls who are curious about the way the world works. Science is not just about working in the laboratory but also about sharing your results. You get to travel all over the world meeting with other scientists and sharing your findings. Like anything worthwhile, it takes work and perseverance but it also is just a lot of fun! 

Kristen Krip, Biochemistry Undergraduate
I always wanted to study science, but I never thought I was smart enough. I ended up getting a degree in English instead, but it wasn't what I wanted so, I went back to school. Ultimately, I want to do research someday, but dreams change as you learn and figure things out. But I'm finally done letting everyone else tell me what I'm capable of accomplishing. Passion and hard work can get you wherever you want to be. Never be afraid to ask when you need help. Show up. It's more than what most people are doing, and it will be appreciated. Never be afraid to fail and get up and try again. Failure isn't a character flaw - it's a chance to learn. 

Jenny Ballif, aka Science Mom
I have a master's degree in plant science. I have worked as a wildland firefighter and a molecular biologist, and plenty of other jobs that fall in between wearing a lab coat and wielding a chainsaw. I run an educational YouTube channel and have visited hundreds of elementary school classrooms in Southern Nevada.
I grew up near a forest and spent a lot of time outside when I was younger. My parents loved nature and science and were great about answering my questions and finding me books to read. My first experiment was making mud pies. I discovered that if I stirred mud for several minutes and added in bits of straw, then when the mud dried it would be hard like a brick. I was about 5 or 6 years old at the time, but I spent a lot of time trying different ratios of water and dirt and using different types of soil. Because I wrote down my recipe for a "very good mud pie," I count this as my first true experiment as a scientist. Some people might say that you need to go to college to become a scientist, but I believe that anyone can be a scientist if they ask questions, design experiments, and then write down what they learn. This approach of exploring our world and discovering how it works is what I love most about science. We live in an incredible universe, and there are so many great questions still waiting to be answered and incredible discoveries to be made! (Science Mom links are included at the end of this post)

Physical Sciences (physics, chemistry, astromony...)

Audrey Ragle, Beverage Scientist
I work as a beverage scientist at a specialty materials company. I primarily work with a filtration aid used mainly in beer and wine. The filtration aid I work with is composed of polyvinylpolypyrrolidone, or PVPP, which is a polymer. This polymer works by removing polyphenols from plant material, like malt and hops, improving the product's clarity. I help support customers and work in product ideation, research, and improvement.
Early on, I wanted to pursue marine biology and went to a magnet school focusing on that, but found it ultimately wasn't for me. In college, I had statistics in mind for a career, but the natural world called to me again! I ultimately graduated with a BS in geology and environmental studies. My first jobs out of college were as an environmental consultant. I became interested in home brewing and got a part-time job in a brewery tasting room that eventually bloomed into the full-time brewing science career I have today.
As you can see, STEM has always been my calling, and I've tried out a few different avenues before landing on my feet. As a woman, I've had to make a space for myself and sometimes found myself alone in the room, so to speak. It can sometimes make you wonder if you belong there, and let me say you absolutely do and then some! Don't let anything discourage you from a super rewarding STEM career!

Jackie Weiss, Scientist - BioTherapeutic Development
I always loved math and science growing up and was encouraged by my family to explore a career in the sciences, especially by my grandpa, who was an engineer. When my mom became ill when I was in high school, I was inspired to work in the pharmaceutical industry to make an impact on the lives of patients in need. I earned my Masters in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering from the University of Pennsylvania and my Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Villanova University. While working in the pharmaceutical industry for the past 11.5 years, I have held multiple roles from growing cells in bioreactors to make medicines, developing purification processes to ensure medicines are safe to take, managing the inventory for clinical trials, to working with external business partners to make sure we can support all of the work that needs to be done to deliver new and novel medicines to patients in need.
Women in science is extremely important to ensure diversity in how companies think and tackle problems. I'm so happy to see more little girls joining the world of STEM and throwing the stigma that "the math and sciences are for men" out the door! Explore, think critically, question, challenge, and keep an open mind, and you will do amazing things!

Ulana Pedersen, Pharmacist
My reasons for choosing pharmacy as a profession were the following: 1. I wanted to be in a health care profession helping people get better. 2. I always enjoyed chemistry and math. 3. My mom was a pharmacist and encouraged me, but died before I got my pharmacist degree.
Over 40 years, the job transitioned from a somewhat technical to a much more clinical role - one of counseling/teaching patients about their medications but also one of collaborating with physicians and nurses in the hospital as part of a team. I think the "team approach" is what appealed most to me through the years. The job was "not about me" - it was about how I could contribute to the well-being of someone else...to me, that is the true meaning of love - looking out for the good of the other...


Bianca Skvirsky, Civil Engineer
It's difficult to explain in just a few words just what I do as a Civil Engineer. I have certifications in asphalt, concrete, inspection, traffic safety, personal safety, and a professional engineering license. There are days where I'm an overpaid secretary: dealing with correcting reports, taking meeting minutes, and filing paperwork. Other days I am on-site with the main objective of getting the job done right. Location, Dimensions, Materials, Safety, and in my opinion, the most important part, is to prepare in advance what you will need to know to make sure the job is getting done properly. Having the correct set of plans, specifications, contracts, permits, utility agreements, and so forth. Any job is basically the same, there's a difference when it's drawn on a piece of paper and when it's being done in real life. That's the fun part.

Suzie Olsen, Systems Engineer
I currently work on the search and rescue system for the US Coast Guard. I am also the author of Annie Aardvark, Mathematician and the creator of STEM Spark. People who inspired me to explore STEM as a child were my parents and Sally Ride. Happy STEM-ing!

Psychology/Social Sciences

Brie Verrinder, Psychotherapist

I started my own therapy practice where I meet with kids, adults, and families when they need a little extra support or help talking about their feelings. I love my job because I get to help people and that is my favorite thing to do! 

Heather Brown Cadalzo, Occupational Therapist

I am a mother first, artist and arts educator second and then Occupational Therapist 3rdly, after returning to receive my Masters of Science. I love using both sides of my brain and I find it infinitely interesting to learn about our bodies on every level, especially neuro! As an OT, I provide patient centered interventions to improve a person's independence, after they experience a decline secondary to injury, illness, disability, or age related decline. I work with my patients in their homes to develop and work towards short term and long term goals, through functional activities and therapeutic exercises. I love going into homes and helping individuals reach their personal life goals. I love people and really enjoy finding solutions to a problem, so for me it's satisfying work and supplements my life as an artist.

Kimberly A. Gordon Biddle, Developmental Psychologist

After 28 years as a college professor, I am now an Emeritus College Professor. I mostly focus on writing textbooks and children's story books. I also make presentations and volunteer. Climb Every Mountain; Forge Every Stream; Follow Every Rainbow, 'til You Find Your Dream.

Young Scientists

Lily, 11

My favorite science topics are anything related to space and marine biology. My favorite related activities are going to marine biology camp every summer and to the Air and Space Museum in Washington DC with my uncle. I would like to work for NASA when I grow up but not go into space myself.

Lil C, 9

My favorite science topics are zoology and marine biology. I've really been interested in animals ever since we got our first fish. Animals are really cute and I like looking at them! My favorite experience was interacting with Hope at the Clearwater Marine Aquarium - I got to feed her, play with her, and learn hand signals. I also love watching nature shows. When I grow up, I'd like to do something related to animals, like training and taking care of them.

Emma, 6

My favorite thing in science is anything with animals, because I love all animals, even the ones that no one thinks are cute. My favorite animal activity is to see how many I can find on a nature walk. And feeding animals like my cats or on a farm and learning about them. And reading about them. When I grow up I want to be a veterinarian, a baker, a teacher, a yoga teacher, and a mommy!

Viviana, 16

I love most science topics but am most interested in biology. I'm very interested in living things in nature, plants and animals, their environment, their behavior, and how they adapt. I never want to stop learning. My favorite activity related to biology is observing animals in the wild, or even in captive areas such as zoos, homes, and rescue shelters for pets. I'm known for being obsessed with nature that surrounds us every day, every little detail. I volunteer at animal shelters and at the zoo and am able to spend as much time with the animals or teaching others about them. I spend a lot of time outdoors and have traveled to see plants and animals all over the world. When I grow up, I want to go into either a marine biology-related career or as an environmental scientist.

Zihana, 13

My favorite science topic is genetics because I find it so interesting that genes can provide lots of information about our characteristics, personality, and can even detect future diseases we may encounter. I enjoyed learning about genetics in science class. Specifically, I enjoyed doing an assignment that allowed me to think like a scientist and discover who in the family had the mutation based on only their genes. When I grow up, I want to be a psychologist and study how genes affect mental health. I believe with more research on genetics, we can help many others struggling with mental disorders.

Marissa, 17
I love everything to do with science; especially chemistry and research. One of my favorite science experiences was staying aboard a Marine Science boat in Miami. I got to tag and take skin biopsies on sharks. I got to help the scientists with their research. I'm still not sure what I want to do as a career; but I know it will be science. There is always so much to learn and explore.

I hope this has inspired you to continue pursuing your interests in science, whatever they may be!


Virtual International Day of Women and Girls in Science Event 2021

International Day of Women and Girls in Science



Girls Who Code

Science Mom (YouTubeFacebook, Instagram, Twitter)

STEM Spark

Pink Pearl Writing


Girls Who Code Series

Ada Lace Series by Emily Calandrelli

Zoey and Sassafras Series by Asia Citro

Rosie Revere & Ada Twist Books by Andrea Beaty

Women in Science by Rachel Ignotofsky


Emily's Wonder Lab


Wild Kratts (The Kratt Brothers wouldn't get anywhere without the inventions and support of their amazing scientists, Aviva and Koki!)

Learn coding

How to Code Picture Books by Josh Funk

CS First