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Can Girls in Science be Cool Now?

In the past few years, geek has become the new chic.  With the surge in popularity of comic book movies, television shows like Doctor Who, and the ever-increasing popularity of video games, it’s no wonder.  Those of us who have always had a crush on Han Solo, or who can quote Futurama in any social situation already knew – being a geek is awesome.  And we all rejoiced that everyone else had caught up to our way of thinking.

So can girls in science be cool now?  When I was in school, it was decidedly uncool to be interested in science or math.  I was the only girl in my computer programming class, and one of only a few in the advanced physics class.  Showing any kind of interest in the standard chemistry or biology warranted dirty looks from the majority of my female classmates.  I sat quietly in precalculus and didn’t raise my hand to answer any questions. 

There are many studies that cite different reasons for girls not being as populus in scientific and mathmatical fields, but I think there’s one big reason – it just isn’t cool.  Don’t get me wrong, I loved Mister Wizard and still adore Ben Nye: The Science Guy, but there certainly weren’t any female scientific role models on TV, with the exception of Mrs. Frizzle of the Magic Schoolbus.  Marie Curie is awesome and Florence Nightengale is amazing, but those were the only female scientists I could think of off the top of my head.  Wikipedia has this list, which is very impressive.

So today, in honor of this being International Girl’s Day, I thought I’d provide a list of some awesome ladies who will (hopefully) help make science cool:

Gwynne Shotwell – president of SpaceX
Fabiola Gianotti – spokeswoman of CERN
Mae Carol Jemison – first African American woman to travel into space
Anais Orsi – oceanographer

~ Jen

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