Notes From A Queer Engineer: STEM Link Roundup

Notes From A Queer Engineer_Rory Midhani_640Header by Rory Midhani

Hello lightning bugs! I moved all my belongings a couple hundred miles this past weekend, started a new job two days ago, and have been generally chaos muppeting around my new life. But don’t worry! I didn’t forget about you! Because this week I also collected a particularly excellent batch of stories for your reading enjoyment. Here they are.

Do Make Say Think

+ “Why did Ms.[Ridhi] Tariyal see a possibility that had eluded so many engineers before her? You might say she has an unfair advantage: her gender [as a cis woman].” The Tampon of The Future.

+ Well this is just the best: 77 women scientists are heading to Antarctica in the “Homeward Bound” expedition to study climate change, and Dr. Danielle Medek is knitting one penguin to represent and profile each.

+ @AcademicBatgirl is an academic superhero in two places where gender is a big deal: the Ivory Tower and the jungles of social media.

This Artist Paints With Bacteria, And It’s Strangely Beautiful.

Can’t Hold Us Down

+ If we really want an ideas boom, we need more women at the top tiers of science.

The Only Girl at Her Science Camp.

+ “One guy, who meant well, told us that women just need to be patient. Well, yes, there’s a pipeline issue, but we found that there are also big issues with recruiting practices and retention. There’s unconscious bias; there’s blatant bias and harassment. If you’re not looking at all these things, you’re not going to solve the problem.” – Two super smart women talk about solving Silicon Valley’s gender problem.

+ The 13 Best Value STEM Colleges For Women.

+ Reporting harassment at MIT: One student’s call for greater support. Ugh what a broken system.

+ Do you like TED talks? Perhaps you’d like to revisit this one by Reshma Saujani: Teach girls bravery, not perfection.

+ A Science Mum’s 10 tips for dealing with work and parental leave.

Women mathematicians around the world, via European Women in Mathematics.

Portraits of women mathematicians around the world. Via European Women in Mathematics, 2013.

Say My Name, Say My Name

+ NASA’s Female Pioneers: Rocket Women From History You Should Know

+ World-renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid died early Thursday morning in Miami of a heart attack while hospitalized for bronchitis. Here’s a Slate review of her most groundbreaking work.

+ 3 Women Scientists Whose Discoveries Were Credited to Men

+ A spiritual successor to Aaron Swartz is angering publishers all over again; meet accused hacker and copyright infringer Alexandra Elbakyan. (How do you all feel about her opinions on ethics/capitalism? I keep going back and forth!)

+ Nettie Stevens: Sex chromosomes and sexism.

+ Growing up in Mongolia’s Gobi desert, Tserennadmid (Nadia) Mijiddorj knew from a young age that she wanted to become a snow leopard conservationist. So she did it!

Geekery Grab Bag

+ Who would win in a fight: Marie Curie or Charles DarwinSofía The Biologist Apprentice investigates by playing Science Kombat.

+ Conversations With A Theoretical Astrophysicist: Making Gravitational Waves. Badass! Inspiring! Really real and relatable!

+ Physicist Dr. Athene Donald on L’Oreal/UNESCO’s recently launched Manifesto For Women in Science.

+ What happens when an NAACP leader becomes a climate activist? Some really cool stuff.

+ And lastly, I think you’re really gonna enjoy this, I certainly did:

Notes From A Queer Engineer is a recurring column with an expected periodicity of 14 days. The subject matter may not be explicitly queer, but the industrial engineer writing it sure is. This is a peek at the notes she’s been doodling in the margins.

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Laura Mandanas

Laura Mandanas is a Filipina American living in Boston. By day, she works as an industrial engineer. By night, she is beautiful and terrible as the morn, treacherous as the seas, stronger than the foundations of the Earth. All shall love her and despair. Follow her: @LauraMWrites.

Laura has written 210 articles for us.


  1. RE: agar art,

    Last semester I was teaching a non-majors biology course and assigned my students to write a science journalism style article. One student handed in an article about agar art– but something seemed off. A quick google search revealed that said student (blatantly) plagiarized this article:

    …. Which happened to be written by my best friend’s sister.

    I’m still laughing about it.

  2. That bacteria art is so cool!! I love the one that looks like a sand dollar.

    I love this column so much. <3

  3. any time there’s microbiology stuff on AS my heart basically sings. thanks for the great roundup!

  4. Thanks, Laura! I’ve enjoyed the articles that I’ve read so far – thank you for helping to feed the scientific part of my mind even in the midst of a PhD in the humanities.

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