This was an incredibly difficult video for me to write and record. I haven’t been this uncomfortable or nervous about an episode since we decided to launch the Wolf series. I did it because I know my fellow female creators are with me: these comments are not easy to ignore, and they do have a negative impact on our desire to make videos and blaze trails.
Things can be said about women being more sensitive than men, or that men deal with these comments too, or that we should just accept that they’re going to happen.. but if I do, I’ll quit. If I accept that this is just part of the deal, this is what it is and always has been, it’s a requirement of my job to toughen up and barrel through, I won’t be able to continue. The remarks are enough to make me want to throw my hands up and retreat to a tiny cabin in the middle of nowhere. If the compromise is that I need to become desensitized, I would probably just do something else instead.
Let’s not create that kind of environment for our peers. Let’s be supportive, encouraging. Focus on the content, not the presenter. Ignoring the fact that these comments are uncomfortable is dismissive and counter-productive: let’s have less tolerance for both those comments, and the apathetic attitude attached to how they affect our community.
And, please: check out the women in the video description for more fantastic channels to subscribe to.
As of this writing we have 100 (AMAZING!) Backers, 16 days to go, and are $621 away from our initial funding goal.
We just posted new in progress art to the project, which you can see by clicking the link above. You can also see finished pieces in the Updates Section of the Kickstarter.
What is this project?
Growing up all of my heroes and idols were women. I wanted to be like these women, they showed me what I could do. I loved baseball, but I never looked up to baseball players like I looked up to women like Eleanor Roosevelt. When I wanted to be an astronaut, I knew I could, because Sally Ride did it.
As our world has changed, as I’ve grown, one thing has stayed strong for me, the desire to honor the amazing women who have been my core inspiration. This project is our very nerdy way to do that.
Albert Einstein, with his crazy hair and inspirational quotes, has been the king of the popular scientist. We’d like to change that. Each of the ladies of science we’ll be introducing has just as much claim on the throne as Albert, and each of them can inspire an entire new generation of passionate people to never give up on their dreams.
We are launching our new line of inspirational jewelry with some impressive portraits of some amazing ladies of science. Each portrait is being lovingly created by a fantastically talented lady artist. We’ll be offering the pendants as dog tags, in the style of our other recycled art pendants.
At a time when there is a significant push to get girls and women interested in STEM fields, a project that can give them a tangible connection to women who can be their inspirations, seems so appropriate.
In addition to Ladies of Science we would like to expand the line to include Women of History & Literature. After we meet our initial goal, we can work towards doing just that.
If you want more information on the project please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org)
From the creation of flu vaccines and new cancer therapies to enhancing agriculture and developing biofuels, bioscience breakthroughs are transforming our world and our health at a rapid pace. However, many Americans are not aware of the critical role the US federal government plays in supporting biological research and discovery.
We are looking for you to create an exciting, yet informative video to help educate Americans on how science is funded!
The video should be between 1-4 minutes in length and address at least three of the questions listed on theGuidelines and Judging Rubric page. We have also compiled a list of Resources to help you get started. Remember to be creative and have fun!
Natalie Portman wants to get YOU into science, ladies.
I just came across this amazing opportunity but we’ve got to act fast: Marvel Comics and Natalie Portman are piloting a program which brings girls in grades 9-12 to interact with and learn from leading women in STEM fields. In the upcoming movie Thor, Natalie plays Jane Foster as an astrophysicist, even though in the original comics her character is a nurse. Portman herself has an undergraduate degree in psychology from Harvard, so she totally knows what’s up.
This program - titled THE ULTIMATE MENTOR ADVENTURE- is “Seeking the next Jane Foster”. As a participant you will be able to contact a mentor in your area to interview, shadow, and receive personal mentorship from - and then it’s your job to make a video about your experience by October 20th, 2013. If you are picked as a ‘winner’ (and let’s face it, if you’re putting in the effort to do this I already think you’re a winner) you will get to fly out to California for an freebie trip that involves Disneyland, speaking with amazing STEM career trail-blazers, and of course previewing Thor: The Dark World.
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR. I’m forwarding this to the ladies in my Women in Science group at the Museum and hopefully we can rally together to give some Chicago-area ladies an incredible opportunity.
Melissa Harris Perry commencement speech at Wellesley College, 2012
The most amazing graduation speech ever. She gives three advice to the graduates:
“Be ignorant, be silent, and be thick.”
In a few moments you’re going to walk across this stage and you’re going to have your accomplishments acknowledged in the acquisition of a certification that you KNOW something.
But even as you accept your hard won degree, I encourage you to embrace the reality that you know almost nothing.
I love my iPad. I’m reading my lecture right now from my iPad. I love that it streams books and knowledge and information to me, Matrix-like, at a moment. Like, toowoosh! anything that I need to know. But it is important for me to pretty regularly just go stand in the library. It is an AWE-full experience standing in a library. I think of myself as quite accomplished. I’ve written two books—heh hey. But when you stand in the library and you are surrounded by those stacks of all of those thousands of volumes of texts of things that you know nothing about, written in languages that you cannot decipher, on topics you can barely fathom, it is humbling.
Standing in a library reminds us of our own limitations. It encourages us to remember that we don’t know everything, can’t predict every outcome, and don’t even know all the right questions to ask.
I will never fill a cavity. It is pretty unlikely that I will ever speak Mandarin. I am certainly not going to decode anything in the DNA chain. But thankfully, graciously, the universe provides an interdependent web of other fantastic women who will. Remembering our ignorance, embracing our ignorance, allowing our ourselves to accept a posture of ignorance compels us to keep learning.
There will come a September morning pretty soon when you are going to miss this place. And not just the buildings and not just your friends. You are going to miss a new syllabus. You’re going to miss somebody handing you a piece of paper full of things that you’ve not thought about yet. About challenges you didn’t even know existed. The exquisite moment of utter ignorance just before the learning begins: I promise you, you will miss it.
So remember, ignorance is not your enemy, only complacency with ignorance is to be resisted. Never become so enamored of your own smarts that you stop signing up for life’s hard classes. Remember to keep forming hypotheses and gathering data. Keep your conclusions light and your curiosity ferocious. Keep groping in the darkness with ravenous desire.
Ignorance is not incompatible with excellence. It is not incompatible with leadership. It is not incompatible with greatness. Ignorance is a posture of humility, which brings me to the other piece of nontraditional advice: Be silent.
If the Nerdland staff is watching right now they probably just fell out of their chairs, because I know they didn’t even know I could be silent as long as I just was. And, in fact, not just the Nerdland staff but we share space in 30 Rock right next to the Up staff. And the Up staff is really quite diligent. They’re very quiet, they type along. And when I come in, usually on Thursdays or Fridays, the screaming begins. I sit in my office where I don’t much like to be alone and I scream, “Oh my god! Have you read the script today?! Come in here and talk to me! Come! Come! Come!” Sometimes they just shut the door.
I am, in being a feminist and having been trained as a feminist, become very good at using my voice.
Women’s education is very much about finding your voice. About learning to speak, about speaking with confidence, about sharing your ideas freely, about battling the boys.
But there is an enormous difference between being silenced and choosing to be silent. When we are silenced, you have something to say but no one will listen. When you choose to be silent, to quiet it down, to listen, you’ve actually exercised the other part of voice. The part that makes your voice sound like something. It sounds like something in comparison to the silence.
Silence can help to soothe one of the voices that you actually would like to be more quiet more frequently. It’s what Jay-Smooth would call your “internal hater.” That little hater. I don’t know if boys have the hater. Girls have the hater. The hater sits on our shoulder and tells us, “Sit up straight.” “Omigod, you have a lisp. Why are are you talking?”
The little hater fusses at us and tells us that we are insufficient, and suggests that we “can’t do math, because it’s hard.” She is actually soothed by silence. You can actually encourage that part of your meta-narrative voice to be quiet so that this part of your voice can speak. And silence allows you to do something else that you now have as Wellesley women.
You have privilege. No matter what circumstances of dis-privilege you came from, this degree now confers upon you privilege. And when you choose to be silent in the face of those who have less privilege, you undermine the idea that only people with certain degrees and certain certifications have a right to speak.
So, I’m not asking you to silence your advocacy for justice or to mute your voice as a citizen. I am not asking you to accept the opinions of others as your own truths. I am not asking you to sit on your ideas or fail to share your skills. I am asking you to remember that silence is the vital precursor to voice. Gather your voice in your silence. Listen to it in your own head before you give it away. Wake up, roll over, and make love to the day wordlessly.
My final piece of advice is this: Be thick.
In a world that teaches women to be thin, be thick.
Recall the moment in Toni Morrison’s Beloved when Paul D says to Sethe:
“ Your love is too thick, Sethe,” and she responds:
“Love is or it isn’t. Thin love ain’t no love at all.”
Thick is the only thing worth being. When you are thick you unconditionally embrace the object of your attention. Thick women make fools of themselves all the time, because thin women stand on the sidelines; they’re critical; they’re removed; they’re barely committed. Thick people pitch tents in a park with the belief that social action can change an entire international global system of economic injustice.
Thin citizens vote; thick citizens run for office.
Thin folks believe every critic is a “hater.” Thick folks can hear critique without crumbling.
Thin leaders stay the course no matter what the evidence sat. Thick leaders listen, learn, and correct.
Thin women look great in bikinis. Thick women look terrific in history books.
Cultivate a radical thickness that allows you to be vulnerable and imperfect as you cast yourself headlong into the crazy, scary, painful, grown-up world.
Waiting hours for a cellphone to charge may become a thing of the past, thanks to an 18-year-old high-school student’s invention. She won a $50,000 prize Friday at an international science fair for creating an energy storage device that can be fully juiced in 20 to 30 seconds.
I’m a perfect example that you’re never too young to start planning your career in space. I first became interested in space on May 12, 1989, at the age of 5. I remember that day vividly because it was our Mother’s Day concert at my kindergarten in Warden, which is a small irrigated farming town in eastern Washington.
My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Clark, taught us a song called “Mission Control.” I had a small solo in it which was, “I may be small but I’m growing, watch one day and you’ll see, space is wide open and waiting for me.” I thought it was amazing that people could go to space and talk to people on the ground, and I really thought that I was going to be an astronaut. It was never a question of “if” but “when.”
Well, as it turns out, space was waiting for me. After earning my degree in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from the University of Washington, Lockheed Martin welcomed me to their Space Systems team in 2006. I remember watching the live broadcast of NASA awarding the Orion contract to Lockheed Martin at the end of August that year, and that’s when I knew that I wanted to work on human spaceflight and that Orion would be the next step in my career.
Today, I work as a Test Engineer for the Assembly, Test, & Launch Operations (ATLO) group. We bring all the parts of the Orion spacecraft together and integrate them while simultaneously testing them to make sure we build upon working components. I write the test procedures and test scripts that connect the parts together, and then power them on to make sure the commands from test control are reaching the correct component, be it a thruster or an onboard computer.
The coolest part of my job is working with the hardware. I get to see the actual spacecraft come together and know that I played an important part in it. Then to top it all off, I get to get Orion ready for launch, and watch it rocket into space from the Kennedy Space Center next year! Watching my tests confirm that the spacecraft is working the way the engineers designed it to makes me not only proud of myself, but proud of the entire Orion team.
My advice to students interested in the space program and hands-on work with spacecraft is to work hard in high school, apply to every scholarship available, study hard in college, get a degree in engineering, and make sure the person interviewing you for the job knows it would be a mistake to hire anybody but you. And most important, make sure you do what I just said, one day at a time.
To celebrate the 4th of July I thought I’d share some burger tips courtesy food scientist Mary Kuster-Shell. Food science is a huge field with a variety of career options where researchers develop and improve food products, discover new sources of food and improve preservation methods.
1) Choose the right meat. Lean meat isn’t the best choice for a great-tasting burger because fat = flavor. Most burger enthusiasts select ground meat that is approx. 80/20, or 80% lean. If you use leaner meat, you might risk a patty that turns out dry or lacking in flavor. Conversely, if you select a grind that is too high in fat, and you may get too much burger shrinkage. (Note: you can also grind your own meat to create a blend you love.)
2) Pat the patty…but not too much. Many of us have made the mistake of over-working a hamburger patty, which results in tough meat. To avoid toughness, gently form the ground meat into patties. Your burgers will shrink a little once the burger cooks. As such, remember to make the patties a little larger than the circumference of your bun, so you’ll have a perfect fit once cooked (that way you’ll get bun and burger in every bite). Tip: to ensure your patties stay flat and don’t rise too high press a dent into the centers.
3) Season your meat. The burger purists will tell you to save the “extra stuff” (like my black beans mentioned above) for casseroles and meatloaf. Real burgers should taste like burgers. I usually heed this advice, and opt for simple seasoning like salt/pepper and a little garlic/onion, etc.
4) Use a HOT grill (or skillet, if you’re going diner-style). If you use a grill that isn’t hot enough, you risk over-cooking your burger which will result in dry meat.
5) Flip it…and flip it good. Your burger patty will immediately cling to the hot grill and release when ready. You want to be ready to flip when the burger is. Try to only flip your burger one time. My grill-master reference has taught me that a burger is ready to flip once the juices start to rise and pool on the surface of the patty. Whatever you do, avoid compressing your burger while cooking, or you’ll force out the juiciness.