National Science Foundation

The Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics ON THE AIR! website was made possible by support from the National Science Foundation under grant number HRD-0332765. The site was redesigned under grant number HRD-0833247 to be fully accessible to people with disabilities. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed on this website are those of the author(s) and the people or subjects covered in each radio segment featured and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.


Women Working in Science and Technology


Meet the Hosts


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Hosts Emily Lescak and Ivy Hughes are Juniors at the Academy of Holy Names in Albany, New York, where they are part of a three year science research course. Emily plans to study forensics while Ivy hopes to become a heart surgeon. Each week on The Tech Club they will introduce us to fascinating women who use science and technology in their work.


Mary Manhein, Director, Louisiana State University Forensic Anthropology and Computer Enhancement Services (FACES) Lab


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Mary Manhein is a forensic anthropologist who is known to the world as, 'The Bone Lady'. She runs the FACES Lab at Louisiana State University where she uses forensic Science to help solve crimes and identify the dead. In addition to being a scientist who loves her work, Manhein is a wonderful writer and mom.


Donna Lee Shirley, Author of Managing Martians and Assistant Dean of Engineering Advanced Program Development, University of Oklahoma


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Donna Lee Shirley headed the team that built the Mars rover for NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab (JPL). Truly a renaissance woman, Shirley is a writer, a singer, an artist and a mother who believes engineers should have a curious nature and be students of the world. She currently serves as Dean of Engineering for Advanced Program Development at the University of Oklahoma. Shirley speaks about her education, her life, and her work leading the team of men who designed the rover project.


Monika Henzinger, Director of Research, Google


Have you ever searched for information on the world wide web? Do you wonder where it comes from, or why results appear in a certain order? Monika Henzinger knows. In this story she relates how a search engine works and shares the pressures and rewards of working with such advanced technologies.


Jeanette Berringer, Zoo keeper, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Providence RI


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Jeanette Berringer is the zoo keeper at Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. According to Berringer, there is much more to being a zoo keeper than feeding animals and cleaning cages. Berringer speaks about the technology involved in caring for animals, and how her work has brought her to the wilds of Madagascar where she studied lemurs.


Leanne Daffner, Art Conservator, Museum of Modern Art, NYC


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Leanne Daffner is an Art Conservator at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City. This story takes you to Daffner's lab at the museum to demonstrate how she and her staff use science and technology to preserve famous works of art.


Lisa Daybeck, Wildlife Conservator, Roger Williams Park Zoo


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Lisa Daybeck is a wildlife conservator at the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence Rhode Island who is always going off on expeditions to other countries to study animals. In this story, Daybeck shares some of her travel stories and explains the importance of science in her work.


Jill Tarter, Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI)


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In the film, 'Contact', actress Jodie Foster played a woman in search of life on other planets. Foster's character was modeled on Jill Tarter, the head of SETI, The Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence. Listen to the real Jill Tarter share her experiences as head of SETI. For more information please visit, the SETI Website and the SETI Institute.


Janice Huff, NBC Meteorologist


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Janice Huff is a meteorologist at NBC channel 4 in New York City and on cable's MSNBC. The first person in her family to attend college, Huff knew she wanted to study the weather from the age of 9. In this story, Huff shares her excitement about the weather, and her advice for aspiring scientists.


Women Astronomers


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How many women astronomers can you name? Not too many? Well a new planetarium show focusing on women in the field may be coming to a planetarium near you.


Tanya Shirer & Mary Alice Coffreth, Aquanauts


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Marine biologist and graduate student Tanya Shirer and her Buffalo State University professor Mary Alice Coffreth are Aquanauts. The two lived 60 feet below sea level for several weeks in Aquarius, which according to Coffreth, is the world's only underwater research laboratory.


Anne K. Vidaver, Plant Pathologist


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Dr. Anne K. Vidaver works to keep plants, and our food supply safe and healthy. She is a Professor and the former head of the Department of Plant Pathology at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. Vidaver also served as Director of the Center for Biotechnology from 1997 to 2000. In this story, she speaks about the work of a plant pathologist.


Annette Von Jouanne, Electrical Engineer/ Professor, Oregon State University


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Dr. Annette Von Jouanne's work as an electrical engineer has taken her from a wild ride in Jurassic Park, to the ships of the United States Navy. This professor and electrical engineer began her career at the age of 10, taking apart the family television set. Today she enjoys teaching, solving problems using engineering, and swimming in the dual flume pool she designed herself. In this story, Jouanne talks about the joy of solving mysteries through engineering. the Electrical and Computer Engineering Dept at Oregon State University website:


Shirley Ann Jackson, President, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


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Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson rose from the segregated schools of Washington D.C. in the 1950's to become the first African American woman to earn a degree in physics from MIT. Years later, she was nominated by President Clinton to serve as the chairman of the United States Nuclear Regulatory commission. Today, Dr. Jackson is the president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy New York, where she spoke about her fascinating career.


Kay C. Dee, Professor, Tulane University


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How long does it take for a broken bone to heal? Biomedical engineer Kay C. Dee is working to speed up the healing process. Dee spoke about her work as a scientist and professor at Tulane University.


Shira Billet and Dora Sosnowik, Siemens Foundation Student Scientists


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Shira Billet and Dora Sosnowik have been friends since grade school. Recently these two students from Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls in Hewlit Bay Park New York took home a $100,000 scholarship from the Siemans foundation. The pair discovered a way to accurately measure the viscosity, or flow properties of very thin films, a technique that will help doctors, patients ...and spies.


Sally Fox, developer of a kinder, gentler cotton


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What do you get when you cross a passion for textiles with a commitment to the environment? How about a kinder, gentler cotton and a career in science. That's what Sally Fox got when she put her background in plant breeding and entomology (the study of insects) together with her lifelong hobby. Fox breeds naturally colored cotton that eliminates the need for toxic dyes that contaminate the environment. She talks about how she managed to turn her life's passion into a career.


Katie Vandergriff, Oak Ridge National Laboratory


New technologies are constantly being developed in an effort to make our lives a little easier; mechanical engineers like Katie Vandergriff, who specializes in robotics, are leading the way. Vandergriff talks about what it's like to run her own company and to work as a mechanical engineer.


Karen Williams, Biology Professor, Union College, Schenectady NY


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Karen Williams is a biology professor at Union College in Schenectady New York, where she teaches, advises students, runs science and technology programs for young women. Williams is working on research to help new mothers suffering from post partum depression. In this story she speaks about her scientific work.


Cheryl Bergman, Lockheed Martin


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Cheryl Bergman turned her love of fast planes and her skill in engineering into a career designing fighter jets for the military. Bergman talks about her exciting work at Lockheed Martin.


M. Colleen Gino, Manager, Schenectady Planetarium, and Observatory Manager, Union College, Schenectady NY


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Colleen Gino became a scientist the day she purchased her first telescope. Before that Gino was a musician, who had never considered a career in astronomy. Gino talks about the fateful day she began looking at the stars.


Melanie Stiassny, Curator, Department of Ichthyology American Museum of Natural History


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Melanie Stiassny travels the world studying fish. She is the curator in charge of the department of Ichthyology at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Stiassny speaks about her research and how it has led to the discovery of more than 30 species of fish, helping us learn more about evolution.


Naomi Miller, Lighting Architect


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Naomi Miller is a lighting designer and founder of Naomi Miller Lighting Design. Miller uses physics and lighting technology to help illuminate space and set a mood. Her projects range from bistros to warehouses, offices to churches. Join Miller on a tour of St. Johns Episcopal Church in Troy, New York, one of the churches she worked on, to 'shed some light' on the importance of lighting design in our lives.


Ann Helmus, Neuropsychologist


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Neuropsychologist Dr. Ann Helmus is fascinated by the brain. Her work helps children who suffer from behavioral, emotional or neurological problems to function better in the world. Dr. Helmus talks about how brain function relates to behavior and emotion.


Branda Miller,Media Artist/Activist/Educator, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


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Branda Miller uses electronic media to work for social change. By putting camera's and computers into the hands of other people, and by teaching them how to use those tools, Miller turns the consumer of media into the producer. In this story, Miller speaks about the power of the electronic media, and how she has seen it change lives.


Barbara Brabitz, Chemistry/Biology Professor- SUNY Cobleskill


Barbara Brabitz teaches Chemistry and Biology during the school year. But rather than taking the summer off, this life long science enthusiast chooses to run a science summer camp for young women. Visit Brabitz's camp this year where she discusses her decision to work in academics and her life as a scientist.


Danielle Walker, Manager, Semiconductor Technology Lab, General Electric


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Danielle Walker is on the cutting edge of lighting. Walkers lab at General Electric is using tiny semiconductors to develop new, energy saving ways to light up our lives that will make today's bulbs a thing of the past. Listen as Walker speaks about how her lab is helping to change the world of lighting.


Elaine Tuomanen, Chair of Infections Disease, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital


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Dr. Elaine Tuomanen helps to save the lives of critically ill children with her research at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Tuomanen speaks about how she uses science and technology in her battle against infectious disease.


Gina Kolata, Science Writer, The New York Times


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Writer Gina Kolata turned her love of language and science into a career with one of the most prominent newspapers in the world. Kolata writes about cutting edge discoveries in science and technology so the public can understand the excitement, the change and the decisions that come from these discoveries.


Heidi Newberg, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


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Heidi Newberg is a professor, and a researcher at RPI in Troy, New York. Newberg is also a participant in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. She talks about the sky survey and what researchers are hoping to learn from it.


Holly Gettings, Technical Director, The Calvin Theater


As technical director of the Calvin Theater in Northampton Massachusetts, it's Holly Gettings job to make sure the show goes on. In this story she speaks about the fun, diverse, and scientific job of a technical director.


Irene Greif, Director of Research, Lotus


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Irene Greif is an expert in how people work with computers. As director of research at Lotus, Greif and her team study how people use their computers. They then use this information to help develop new products which allow consumers to use their computers more effectively. In this story, Greif speaks about this research process.


Jane Hartwell, Associate Producer, 'Shrek'


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Jane Hartwell combines art and technology to produce animated films. Most recently, Hartwell was the associate producer for the PDI/Dreamworks feature, 'Shrek'. Hartwell was also involved in the production of the animated feature 'Antz' and worked with Walt Disney Productions on 'James and the Giant Peach'. In this story, Hartwell speaks about the role science and technology play in producing an animated feature.


Kathryn Born, Medical Illustrator


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Kathryn Born is a medical illustrator whose work appears everywhere from medical textbooks to films. In this story, Borne speaks about combining art and science to help people understand the human body.


Kathy Cashman, Volcanologist


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Volcanologist Kathy Cashman knows what it's like to be inside a volcano. Her research has taken her around the world to study how and why volcano's erupt. In this story, Cashman speaks about her work studying volcanology.


Kellie-Bea Cooper, Digital Animator


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Kellie-Bea Cooper wears a lot of hats. As a digital animator, an art director, a story teller and a digital puppeteer, Cooper combines art and technology to tell stories to her audience. In this story, Cooper talks about a few of the hats she wears, and how valuable science and technology are in her work.


Lena West, Founder and CEO, Xynomedia Development


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Entrepreneur Lena West makes other people's business her business. West helps business owners decide how technology can help them. She then helps them find the right computer solutions to meet their needs. In this story, West speaks about her life long dream of running her own business.


Linda Cook, Vice President, EMS technologies


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As vice president of EMS technologies, Linda Cook helps create products that build satellites. In this story, she talks about how she helps build satellites and explains how these satellites work.


Lynn Moore, Engineer, Saturn Corp.


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Lynn Moore, currently Manager of Saturn's body paint operations, uses her background in electrical engineering to help build cars for Saturn. Moore speaks about how her background in engineering prepared her for work at Saturn.


Mary Howell Martins, Organic Farmer


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Mary Howell Martins operates an organic farm with her family. Martins began her career as a plant breeder, and uses her background in biology and plant physiology to help her run the farm successfully. In this story, Martins talks about the science of farming.


Natasha Katz, Theatrical Lighting Designer


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Natasha Katz is a Tony Award winning lighting designer who has designed the lights for a long list of Broadway shows including Disney's 'Aida' (for which she won a Tony), and the recent John Lithgow show, 'The Sweet Smell of Success'. In this story, Katz discusses the important role of lighting in a play.


Ninfa Saunders, Chief Operating Officer, DeKalb Medical Center


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Ninfa Saunders began her career as a nurse. In this story, Sauders speaks about how she combined a love of nursing and a business degree to help make hospitals a better place for the patients and the staff.


Poire Saikia-Eapen, Architect


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Poire Saikia-Eapan uses her background in architecture in her work as a program and construction manager. In this story, she talks about the role of science and technology in the design and construction industry.


Sherita Cesar, Vice President, Subscriber Network Services, Scientific-Atlanta


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Sherita Ceasar uses her background in engineering to help bring cable television into your home. In this story, Cesar speaks about her engineering background, and how it helps her lead her team at Scientific Atlanta.


Maya Tolstoy, Marine Seismologist


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Maya Tolstoy studies volcano's and earthquakes that occur underwater. In this story, she talks about her extensive travels and her fascination with these underwater quakes and eruptions and where her work has taken her.


Julie Spicer England, Vice President, Worldwide ASP Computer Imaging Systems, Texas Instruments


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Julie Spicer England began her career with a degree in chemical engineering, but it was her grasp of the scientific process that led her to her work with Texas Instruments. England leads a team that builds the components that go inside our cell phones and CD players. England discusses the work she does, and how she combines science and communications to effectively manage her team at Texas Instruments.


Darlene Solomon, Research and Development Manager, Agilent Technologies


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Medical researchers need tools to conduct measurement and experiments. At Agilent Technologies, Darlene Solomon leads a team of scientists that build those tools. Solomon speaks about her work at Agilent and what it takes to solve challenging problems in science and technology.


Sue Husari, Regional Fire Management Officer, National Park Service


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Sue Husari uses science to put out fires. Husari started putting out fires as a part time job in college, work that turned into a lifelong career. In this story Husari talks about her work and the importance of science and technology in fighting fire.


Shoshana Loeb, Founder and President of Elity Systems, Inc.


Shoshana Loeb has always been fascinated by the world around her. With advanced degrees in math and physics, Loeb's works contributed to the fields of medicine, telecommunications and many other industries. But Loeb was always curious about the business world, so she started Elity Systems, a business that helps other businesses be more 'customer friendly' with the help of computer technology. Loeb speaks about starting Elity systems, and about the pleasure she gets from learning new things.


Tahira Reid, Inventor


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As a schoolgirl in the Bronx, Tahira Reid dreamed up a machine that would allow her to play double-dutch jump rope all by herself. More than a decade later Reid and her classmates at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute made that dream come true. In this story Reid talks about the process of inventing, and how her childhood dream became a reality.


Laurie Trotta, Fish Hatchery Manager, SUNY Cobleskill


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As a fish hatchery manager at a state university, Laurie Trotta is responsible for raising fish, and for teaching her students to raise them. That work is called aquiculture. In this story, Trotta discusses the study of aqua culture and why it's important.


Sue Nava, Seismologist


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Seismologist Sue Nava studies earthquakes from her post at The University of Utah. In this story, Nava talks about the study of earthquakes, and what happens when the earth moves.


Claire Frase, President, The Institute for Gnomic Research


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Genomics is at the cutting edge of medical research today, and Claire Fraser is helping to lead the way. Fraser and her husband left good jobs at the National Institute of Health to create the Institute for Gnomic Research. In this story, Fraser talks about her career decisions and what she hopes to accomplish in gnomic research.


Marcella Cabrera, Creative Manager, VUP Creative Services, Mattel/ Empire/ Conspiracy/ Misc Kids


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Ever wonder who designs the computer games you play? Graphic Artist Marcella Cabrera manages a team of designers who help create the games you play. Cabrera talks about her work as a graphic designer and how art and science combine to create computer games.


Karen Hitchcock, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada


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Dr. Karen Hitchcock is currently the Principal and Vice Chancellor of Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. She is the former President of The University at Albany, a research University in Upstate New York, where this story took place. Join Dr. Hitchcock for a look at how the president of a University can impact science.


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