STEMmas coda

We had a lot of fun this year putting together our Twelve Days of STEMmas, although it was sometime hard to find women working on topics that tied in with the activities featured in the song! We did sometimes have to get inventive about what might count, for example, one has to think orthogonally to see eardrum research representing “twelve drummers drumming”. At other times, we found people who were spot on, such as women studying gold, geese and swans!

But there was one area where we didn’t achieve what we wanted to: We failed to find women of colour working on these sorts of topics. In some ways, that’s a reflection of the demographics in the field of ecology and STEM in general, but it’s also a problem with compiling a list like this via desk research — we’re only finding the women who pop up in Google search results.

That means we’re only finding women with a high-enough profile that Google even knows they exist. We know that women have much lower profiles than men, and that women of colour have lower profiles than white women, so we need to look beyond Google. We need our community to help us, we need you to ask your networks for recommendations.

So, we’d like your help. We have a little under one year to compile a list of women of colour from around the world working on these sorts of things:

  • Partridges, or pears, or pear trees
  • Turtle doves, other doves, or other birds. Or turtles, if we want to get a bit surrealist
  • French hens, or chickens
  • Calling birds, birdsong, mating rituals
  • Gold, whether through the lens of geology, chemistry, physics or any other discipline
  • Geese, eggs, egg-laying, mating
  • Swans, or maybe swimming
  • Milking, cows, or dairy
  • Dancing, biomechanics, kinesiology
  • Leaping, biomechanics, kinesiology, sports science
  • Piping, wind instruments, brass instruments, hollow reed instruments
  • Drums, whether musical, ear or other types

Please leave a comment with your suggestions, or email us. We’d love to do the Twelve Days of STEMmas next year and feature only amazing women of colour from around the world!

On the twelfth day of STEMmas… Dr Serena Danti

Our twelfth and final notable woman in STEM is Dr Serena Danti, who has worked on 3D printing new ear drums.

Serena has worked on “developing biomimetic tissue-engineered substitutes, using fabrication techniques acting at different scale levels to overcome the drawbacks of current prostheses, such as extrusion or suboptimal performance”. She also worked on research testing two different techniques to create copolymer scaffolds, similar in size to natural eardrums and “designed to host cellular growth”.

On the eleventh day of STEMmas… Amaya Lopez-Carromero

Our eleventh exceptional woman in  STEM is Amaya Lopez-Carromero, who the studies the acoustics of brass instruments.

Amaya started her academic career in civil engineering, before taking a master’s in environmental and building acoustics. Also a musician, her research examines the “sound production process” in brass instruments, developing models that she then tests experimentally. In particular, she is focused on understanding “non-linear phenomena such as wave steepening in the resonator, acoustically relevant effects taking place in playing gestures, as well as some lip reed behaviours.”

On the ninth day of STEMmas… Merritt Moore

Our ninth noteworthy woman in STEM is Merritt Moore, quantum physicist and professional ballet dancer.

Merritt is studying for a PhD in quantum optics, specifically the quantum entanglement of large numbers of photons. She has danced as a member of the Zurich Ballet, Boston Ballet, English National Ballet and London Contemporary Ballet Theatre, and recently starred on BBC’s Astronauts: Do You Have What It Takes?

Twitter: @PhysicsonPointe