Today is the last day of Pullman Women in Math and our Pullman Foundation Women in STEM campaign. Thank you to everyone who shared their stories and resources for making this campaign possible. If you missed any of the posts, you can find links to each career field here.
But for Math lovers, check out the following organizations for support and the latest information about your field.
The Mathematical Association of America is the largest professional society that focuses on mathematics accessible at the undergraduate level. Their members are universities, colleges, and high school teachers; graduate and undergraduate students; pure and applied mathematicians; computer scientists; statisticians; and many others in academia, government, business, and industry. They support research, professional development (they provide resources), public policy, and industry appreciation. They have six categories of memberships and for college students it’s only $34 for the entire year!
This organization supports math teachers, but it’s also a great resource for journals and research. They also have a membership for college students who are interested in going into math education.
AWM represents a broad spectrum of the mathematical community from the United States and around the world; 3000 female and male members. It offers a mentor program, grants, scholarships, lectures, prizes and more.
If you are a member of other notable Math organizations, please let us know so we can share them.
Pullman Scholar Sarah Dickey, Elmhurst College, ’20, shares her absolute love of her major, Math!
Math classes were my favorite thing in high school, and equations and graphs always made sense. So to me, it was obvious to pursue a degree based in my interests and in what made sense to me: Mathematics. Even though I’m only a freshman, I’m already involved in the Math community, and I absolutely love it.
The experiences I have had in my Math classes alone have been wonderful. Last semester in my Calculus 2 class, I found friendship in many of the other women Math majors. We formed a study group with a few others and it made me feel at home. While my class was split pretty even between guys and women last semester, my current class is all female except for one guy. Even the professor is a woman. And I’ve got to say, I love my professor. She is really amazing and knows what she is talking about and was incredibly excited to see so many women in her class. It honestly makes me happy, too. The amount of people who look surprised or scoff at me when I tell them I am a Mathematics major is too many to count. I don’t want to be asked, “Wow, that’s really hard. Are you sure you want to do that?” I want to be encouraged and accepted for my passion, and I think the world is slowly on the way to believing that.
Because I’m a STEM major, I have the opportunity to be involved with an on-campus organization called KEYSTONE. Through this program, I have the option of taking different classes, as well as participating and applying for some really cool things. So far, I have taken two of these classes. One was a freshman-year-seminar based on Math, and the other was a freshman research class. For the research class, I was able to conduct an independent psychology experiment with a small group of students. While I worked on much of it, I was enthralled to be working with the data and all the stats that were collected. Not only was this a valuable experience, but I got to present my research at an honors undergraduate research conference last month. I was also able to get a job working with a faculty member from the Mathematics department to help with their own research over the summer. These opportunities have made my love of Math grow deeper because the more I get involved and understand, the more I want to know. It seems like Math will be a never-ending learning process, and I can’t wait for the journey to continue throughout the rest of my life.
I’m absolutely in love with the subject that I’m studying, and it has been incredibly rewarding to advance my knowledge and broaden my perspective on Math. I recommend others to try this path as well, even if it’s only for one class. It has made my life so much better, and I want others to know that it’s a possibility, too.
Pullman Scholar Alumna Kristen Schreck, Illinois Institute of Technology, ’87, shares her experience in Math and how she’s teaching future mathematicians.
My love of mathematics and physics was inspired by my professors. In high school, my parents brought me to our local library to research careers. It was there that I discovered Electrical Engineering (EE). Soon after, I met some engineering students to learn more about the profession.
While at IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology), I was fortunate to be part of a group of young women who were engineering majors. We developed projects for the WISE (Women in Science and Engineering) summer program at IIT for young girls. It provided the opportunity for young girls to see that their educational and career possibilities have no bounds.
After graduating from IIT with a B.S.E.E., I worked at Sargent & Lundy, LLC in Chicago as an Electrical Project Engineer on a nuclear power plant project. The work was exciting and challenging. However, in my heart, I knew I wanted to further my studies and teach someday. I thought that being a professor would be the ultimate job. Different events and some very instrumental people came into my life which led me to graduate school at UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago) where I earned an M.S. and a Doctorate in Arts (D.A.) in Mathematics.
Learning mathematics has been my infinite quest that has culminated in guiding students to discover its secrets. Currently, I am an Assistant Professor at Saint Xavier University and advisor to the Archimedeans Math Club. As a member of the Leadership Team for the Southwest Chicago Math Teachers’ Circle, I collaborate with local college faculty and middle school/high school math teachers on challenging and interesting math problems.
One of my most important teaching endeavors is to bring the mathematics to life for my students. Last summer, I became an Ultimaker 3D Printing Education Pioneer and was awarded an Ultimaker 2+ 3D printer for my courses. I have written lessons incorporating 3D printing into my Multivariable Calculus curriculum. To see students hold and investigate surfaces they designed and 3D printed using the mathematics was amazing! In my Modern Geometry course, students will model and 3D print constructive geometric solids and my Senior Seminar student will be designing and printing 3D models related to manufacturing from the theory of Lagrange Multipliers with business applications. My goal is to develop a service project for students to use 3D printing to help communities.
Being a woman in engineering and mathematics has been a most fulfilling experience for me. Follow your passion, use your talents to the best of your ability – always keeping that focus – and have faith that what you are doing is good work. Ever since I was ten years old, I’ve had a fascination with Albert Einstein. My advice to math majors comes from Einstein, “It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.” It’s all about persistence, perseverance, and using your prior knowledge and experience when working on math problems. It’s also very helpful to work on problems together with fellow students. Get to know your mathematics faculty. Math teachers love working on problems with students in and out of class – it’s why we chose this profession!
Math, the last part of STEM, and the base to a lot of the aforementioned fields is another field with a shortage of women. If you think about it, all of the other fields use Math in some way, so there are more female mathematicians out there, but not necessarily with that title.
The Pullman Foundation has 228 female Mathematicians in the Pullman Scholar Community, 12% of our women in STEM. Each decade there have been fewer and fewer math majors, but they’re doing exciting things. This week, you’ll meet Pullman Scholar Alumna Kristen Schreck who is teaching calculus with 3D printing at Saint Xavier University and Pullman Scholar Sarah Dickey who shares her love of Math.
If you’re in Math and would like to share your experience or organizations that support your career, please contact Katie Desir .
We hope our Women in Engineering podcast series inspired you! Engineering is a field that will take you to many places; space, across the country, and behind “mahogany desks.” To get involved or support in the engineering field, consider be a part of one of these organizations.
The EngineerGirl website, provided by the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), brings national attention to the exciting opportunities that engineering represents for girls and women. You can “meet” real-life female engineers and read their profiles, learn about clubs and programs, compete in contests, apply for scholarships, ask engineers questions and more!
SWE started in 1950 (just like us!) and is a global organization with more than 30,000 members. They offer an annual conference, awards, scholarships, and a great learning center on their website full of ebooks, podcasts, and more!
IEEE is the trusted “voice” for engineering, computing, and technology information around the globe.
If you know of any other organizations worth mentioning, please let us know!
Pullman Scholar Julissa Garcia, University of Illinois at Chicago, Class of 2018, interviews Pullman Scholar Alumna Valarie King-Bailey, University of Wisconsin- Madison, ’82, and CEO of OnShore Technology, about being a CEO, how to be a success & more! This is the third episode of a three-part series focusing on female engineers. To listen to other podcasts, click here.
Pullman Scholar Julissa Garcia, University of Illinois at Chicago, Class of 2018, interviews Pullman Scholar Alumna Valarie King-Bailey, University of Wisconsin- Madison, ’82, and CEO of OnShore Technology, about being a woman in Engineering, facing adversities & more! This is the second episode of a three-part series focusing on female engineers. To listen to the first episode, click here.
Pullman Scholar Julissa Garcia, University of Illinois at Chicago, ’18, interviews Pullman Scholar Alumna Valarie King-Bailey, University of Wisconsin- Madison, ’82, and CEO of OnShore Technology, about how she found engineering, what it means to be an engineer & more! This is the first episode of a three-part series focusing on female engineers.
Pullman Scholar Alumna Valarie King-Bailey, University of Wisconsin – Madison, ’82, summed up the importance of engineers perfectly, “look around you, everything around you is courtesy of an engineer.” The air we breathe, the roads we travel on, the water we drink; an engineer has done something with it. With that in mind, the Foundation is proud of the 13% of Pullman Women in STEM (around 250) who study or studied some type of engineering. We have seven current female engineer scholars, and we are excited to see where their studies take them.
There are four main branches of engineering with hundreds of specialties. Pullman Women have majored in around 18 different types of engineering; chemical (52), general (47), mechanical(23), and industrial engineering (19) having the most. According to the National Science Board, the areas of engineering with the most women are environmental engineers (38% of full workforce), chemical engineers (23%), and civil/architectural/sanitary (18%).
Stay tuned this week for a three-part podcast series featuring current scholar Julissa Garcia, University of Illinois at Chicago, ’18, interviewing Valarie King-Bailey. They talk about what it’s really like to be a female engineer. If you are in the engineering field and are a member of the Pullman Scholar Community, please contact Katie Desir to share your story.
Listen to episode one of three Women in Engineering podcast, “An Intro Into a Profession With Great Impact,” here.
Listen to episode two of three Women in Engineering podcast, “A Real Account of Being a Female Engineer,” here.
Listen to episode three of three Women in Engineering podcast, “What It Takes to Be a Success,” here.
Thank you, Jeanne and Pullman Scholars who helped us highlight women in tech! As you can see, being a woman in tech is a rarity, but with organizations like the ones listed below hopefully more women will join this growing career field! If you’re interested in technology, don’t be afraid to join in. Consider being a part of one of the following organizations or help support one!
As mentioned in Jeanne’s interviews, the Anita Borg Institute is an organization promoting women in technology. It strives to “increase the impact of women on all aspects of technology and to increase the positive impact of technology on the world’s women.”
The institute also provides curriculum to help strengthen interview, job, and technical skills.
PowerToFly connects Fortune 500 companies and fast-growing startups with women who are looking to work for companies that value gender diversity and inclusion. They do help get women hired in a variety of fields, but they also specialize in women in technology and engineering. They make the hiring process easier and more comfortable for qualified female job candidates.
They also provide events, webinars, and videos with career and interview tips on their resource page. Their blog also covers topics like diversity, inclusion hiring, companies who care, and interview tips.
Want to set up your own profile for a job hunt, click here.
Girls Who Code is a non-profit organization looking to close the gender gap in technology. They support free after-school programs for grades 6-12 and a summer immersion program (for those in 10th and 11th grade). There are multiple locations throughout the Chicago-area. If you’re interested in joining, contact the sponsor at any time during the school year.
Women Techmakers is a Google program that provides visibility, community, and resources for women in technology. They host an annual conference, have activities throughout the year, and publish newsletters and other resources. You can learn more about joining here.
Interested in more organizations? Women Techmakers has an extensive list here.
As we stated in our first Pullman Women in Technology post, the numbers of Pullman Women who majored in tech fields is small. We wondered why when the current generations have organizations like Girls Who Code, Girls in Tech, Women in Technology International that encourage women to pursue their interests in tech. We came across this TEDxBoise talk and thought it was interesting.
Back when Marianna Budnikova, a software engineer at Microsoft, was in college, she set out to find why there are so few women in technology. In this TEDx talk, Marianna shares her discovery about what takes young girls and women away from tech and gives some suggestions for tackling the problem.
“You better do something that will get you a good job,” Jeanne Hultquist’s parents told her. She narrowed her career options to being a doctor or an engineer and ultimately decided to go the engineering route. In the fall of 1978, with the help of the Pullman Foundation Scholarship, she pursued her mechanical engineering degree at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, graduating with honors. So, how did Jeanne go from the “E” to “T” in STEM? At some point along her college journey, she realized she didn’t like mechanical engineering. Before Jeanne put her cap and gown on for graduation, she was thinking about a new career.
Without hesitation, Jeanne switched from engineering to business, and her risk paid off. She received her MBA from the University of Chicago in 1984 and moved to California’s Silicon Valley without knowing a single person. Shortly after arriving in California, Jeanne joined Apple as a marketing programs manager, technical markets in 1987, working to grow the company’s presence with businesses and their engineers. Her unique combination of technical skills and business knowledge made her perfect for the job; she understood what engineers did and how their businesses worked.
“I have no regrets that I got an engineering degree,” says Jeanne. “I was a practicing engineer for less than 24 months, and I knew immediately that I wasn’t going to do it. It may have suited my intellect, but it did not suit my personality.”
As a people person, Jeanne enjoys the interactions of marketing the products she believes in more than designing and building them. Her background in the technical field makes it easier for her to understand the evolving field of technology and have a better affinity with women technologists.
Jeanne is currently the Vice President of Strategy, Marketing, and Alliances for the Anita Borg Institute, a non-profit organization founded on the belief that women are vital to building technology the world needs. Before joining the organization, she worked at other well-known consumer technology companies such as Plastic Logic and Speck Products.
She may have switched from the “E” to “T” in STEM, but now Jeanne is helping the Anita Borg Institute celebrate the accomplishments of women technologists, and inspiring a new generation of them to pursue their dreams.
Her choice to leave engineering led to her success in the technology field. But, she ultimately credits her success to being willing to take risks. “It was up to my work ethic. Up to my drive,” says Jeanne. “And, it was up to me to find my opportunities and to recognize doors opening. And, to always be open to them. Take those risks.” Now she’s helping young women technologists do the same.
It is safe to say people love their technology; computers, tablets, cell phones, apps, etc. And maybe a little too much, but that also means there is a demand for more jobs in the technology field to keep up with the demand for new innovations. According to 2014 Department of Labor growth rates, computer and information technology occupations are well above the average for all other occupations. The eye-opening statistic is only 26% of workers in computer and mathematical occupations are women! And only 3.9% of the tech c-suite are women.
The number of Pullman Foundation women in tech are low as well, but we did have a peak of tech majors in the 1980s when the nation also saw this surge– when personal computers started moving into U.S. homes. Currently, we have zero female students majoring in technology fields and about 100 female alumni who majored in these fields.
This week we will showcase one of our Pullman Scholar Alumnae, Jeanne Hultquist, who entered the technology field in an unconventional way and provide information about the current state of women in technology. If you are a Pullman Scholar Alumna in the technology field, please contact Katie Desir, to share your story!
Watch Learning From Pullman Alumna Jeanne Hultquist here.
Read Technology Organizations here.
We hope you were inspired by our Women in Science! We only featured three of our amazing 30 female scholars majoring in a science field, so we can only imagine what others are learning and experimenting on in their classes. If you are interested in pursuing a career in science or would like to get more involved with science programs, take a look at the organizations listed below.
Mentioned by Jennifer, Science Olympiad is a nationwide science competition for middle to high school students. Each year, a portion of the events are rotated to reflect the ever-changing nature of genetics, earth science, chemistry, anatomy, physics, geology, mechanical engineering and technology. Through Science Olympiad, students, teachers, parents, principals and business leaders bond together and work toward a shared goal.
How to get involved:
Founded in 1971, the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is the largest multi-disciplinary organization for women in STEM. They are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. Membership is open to any individual who supports the vision and mission of AWIS.
They are committed to promoting the work of women and minority scientists at every stage of their academic and professional careers in order to encourage an increase of diversity in the workforce and allow for further creativity and innovation in the sciences.
The FMWIS is open to everyone; anyone can apply and all are encouraged, whether you are a Field Museum staff member or volunteer, member of the community, student, or merely interested in hearing more about how you can help and become involved as a member. Membership is free!
Founded by Pullman Scholar Alumnus Marcus Woods, the Woods Educational Enrichment Foundation provides tutoring and a STEM Development Seminar for high school students. Contact them if interested in more information, need tutoring or would like to be a tutor.
If you are a college student, check to see if your campus as a WiSE group. Here is a list of some schools:
If you know or are a part of other notable organizations, please contact Katie Desir.
Sofia Ali, a first-year biology major at Loyola University Chicago shares her experiences as a new college student.
My first year as a biology major at Loyola is almost over, and it has gone pretty well. The majority of the students are pursuing careers in sciences like biology, chemistry, or nursing, so it’s pretty easy to bump into someone and establish a connection — especially the upperclassmen who have already taken classes I am currently taking. My biology course was a review of the material I learned in my IB classes in high school and chemistry has been a bit of a challenge. But, there are many resources at Loyola such as tutoring, study groups, and practicing example problems that have really helped me succeed.
I have labs once a week for three hours, — the class does seem a little long sometimes— but the biology labs are fascinating! During my first semester I was looking at slides in microscopes and drawing images of what I saw, whereas this semester, I have done more dissections and really gotten a chance to interact with different animals from various phyla’s. Dissecting them amazes me and reminds me how similar these creatures are to us, yet are so different as well. It has definitely given me a better understanding of the animals around us and how everything works together in our ecosystem.
I’ve noticed that many of my classes have mostly females, whereas males are mostly in the school of business. It’s encouraging to see so many women learning the same things as I am. Knowing I have fellow females working in the same field gives me confidence and a sense of comfort that we are all in this together. It also makes me feel stronger and more confident in my abilities and love of science.
I plan on pursuing a career in medical research to help others and hopefully alleviate some of their pain for a longer, pleasant future. I am very excited as I move forward with my next three years in college because I will be learning about new diseases and further advances in the medical community, and hopefully, build upon them in my future.
Amel Baker, a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying psychology and cellular/molecular neuroscience, shares her affinity for science and how she gives back to the community with tutoring for four departments and starting the LUC S.T.A.R.
Any effort I put into a science class, I see it coming back again in the next. For example, when I first started out with general chemistry, we discussed the behavior of acids and bases. Almost three years later, I am being reminded of its importance in biochemistry when looking at hemoglobin’s binding affinity for oxygen. The best part is the reactions science students discuss are ongoing every second of the day — basically, science and I relate on a personal level.
In the classroom, I transform into an aspiring chemist, biologist, physicist, and neuroscientist. Once I leave, these moments follow me to influence my everyday schedule. I currently tutor for a few departments on campus where I try to dance through each session with different science partners — sometimes it’s fast-paced with organic chemistry. Other days, I get to slow dance with statistics as I discuss the importance of properly approaching the null hypothesis. I love tutoring these subjects because not only do they force me to revisit old friends, but I get to realize that there is still a lot of room for the relationship. Tutoring essentially challenges me to keep the questions going and the eager curiosity alive. To keep it fresh, I work with a freshman in CPS at Curie High School every Saturday through a Loyola program called TNT. I am one of many academic coaches who is dedicated to keeping true relationships with freshmen and seeing them not only graduate but succeed.
Some nights, I explore astronomy through a student organization I helped form. Astronomy has always been an interest of mine, but the puzzle that is my education did not have room for any extra pieces. Our small group gets together to think about the expanding universe and all the beautiful things that come with this science. We’ve done a few community engagements, observatory visits, and led our own little fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network.
Last summer, I was at Case Western Reserve’s School of Medicine for SMDEP, Summer Medical and Dental Program, now called Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). The experience was amazing. I was able to shadow at a hospital in multiple departments including family medicine, neurosurgery, and the emergency department. After observing a C3-C5 anterior cervical discectomy and fusion surgery correcting for alive motor cells that could not relay, my desire to pursue neurosurgery became confirmed. The program celebrates diversity in medicine by building community with groups of students from all different backgrounds and universities while exploring medicine’s role with different demographics through seminars with health professionals. Because academics are a priority in all health-related fields, there were supplemental courses in biologies, chemistries, and mathematics depending where you tested. Lastly, I was part of a public health research project that was presented to a panel of physicians at the conclusion of the program. I encourage all current freshmen and sophomores to apply for the summer. There are multiple different sites so this medical adventure could be anywhere!
Jennifer Munoz, a sophomore at Case Western Reserve University, shares her love of science as a biochemistry major and nutrition minor.
Being a Biochemistry major at Case Western Reserve University is very challenging, yet rewarding at the same time. It allows me to combine my love of both biology and chemistry, and I get to learn so many great things; which also encourages me to look forward to taking every required class no matter how challenging it may be.
One of the things I love most about taking science classes is connecting my lessons to the real world. For example, in organic chemistry we learn about reaction mechanisms and how organic molecules react with one another, how certain medicinal drugs are synthesized, how the specific structure of a molecule gives the spicy flavor in chili peppers, and depending on whether a molecule has a single, double, or triple bond how it will react. Learning how the world works in the classroom is phenomenal.
I also absolutely love the lab component of organic chemistry! We apply the concepts we learn during lectures in an actual lab setting. We think critically about how the reactants will react with each other and which products are produced. One of my favorite labs this semester was synthesizing azo dyes. Every student was assigned a modified aniline compound and an azonium salt. With all the different combinations possible, the lab was filled with almost every shade of the rainbow!
I am also a part of Alpha Chi Sigma, the only professional chemistry fraternity. It is a great community to be a part of because we volunteer at different elementary schools and events. We spread the appreciation for chemistry by promoting events such as Science Olympiad, which allows kids to be enthusiastic scientists!
When I graduate I want to attend medical school and learn even more about how the human body works. After that, I would love to help people lead longer and healthier lives!
Even though studies show both genders have the same abilities in science, a 2016 study from Colorado State University says women are more likely than men to get discouraged by a particular math class and give up on their dream of a career in science. Pullman Foundation women in science are challenging that statistic, though! There are almost 1,400 female scientists in the Pullman Scholar Community (72% of all our STEM majors).
Our Pullman Scholars and Alumnae are neuroscientists, nurses, chemists, research associates, cytogenetic technologists and more! They are a part of the 35.2% of female chemists, 11.1% of female physicists and astronomers, and 48% of female biological, agricultural, and environmental life scientists nationwide. They are the ones that want to find cures, learn how the world works, are treating our families, and trying to save the environment.
Science courses and labs are notorious for being difficult, but we have 30 current female Pullman Scholars (75% of all our female STEM majors) taking them right now and maintaining their 3.0+ GPAs. This week you’ll meet some of them and learn about some of the organizations they are a part of or follow. Science on!
Read Life as a Biochemistry Major here.
Read Life as a Biology Major here.
In celebration of Women’s History Month, the Foundation will be focusing on one “letter” of STEM each week of March. You will get to know several of our Pullman Scholars and Pullman Scholar Alumnae in STEM and learn more about their contributions to the fields.
STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; industry fields that make up 6.2 percent of the nation’s employment force (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Jan. 2017). That may seem like a small percentage, but these fields are crucial to the U.S.’s global competitiveness and innovation. STEM fields influence our health, economics, infrastructure, technology, and more. So why is it that women who comprise 47% of the U.S. workforce only represent 25.8% of STEM careers?
There are many factors, but at the Pullman Foundation, we work to ensure our scholars have the resources and role models to pursue their dream careers. As a matter of fact, throughout the years, the Foundation has supported nearly 2000 women who pursued or are pursuing degrees and careers in STEM, roughly 14% of the scholars the Foundation has supported throughout the years. Forty percent of current female Pullman Scholars are pursuing careers in STEM, and 75 percent of our STEM females are in science majors! We’re extremely proud that they’re pursuing challenging fields like neuroscience and biochemical engineering.
Please contact Katie Desir, Manager of Communications, if you are a current scholar pursuing a degree in a STEM field or Pullman Scholar Alumni whose career is in STEM. She is available at 312.422.0444 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to know more about you!