University of East London Trainee Teachers Celebrate Ada Lovelace Day

Guest post by David Wells, Senior Lecturer, Secondary ITT, University of East London

Uni East London ALD14

Six female Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) student teachers lead an evening session to celebrate Ada Lovelace Day; Dana Addo, Jagdeep Matharu, Melissa Thomas, Hamda Ahmed and Sabrina Sahebdin.

They talked about Ada Lovelace and her later followers. They researched current female involvement in technology, giving an enlightening overview of their history.

Melissa and Dana pointed out that women hold only 28 % of IT jobs and discussed the possible Influences on this. They suggested that from their research it’s very strange because 92 % Year 5/6 girls enjoyed IT and 86% wanted to continue to study the subject in secondary school but only 3 wanted to undertake it as a job.

They had researched a range of initiatives to try to counteract the stereotyping of women in IT, including:

Geek gurl diaries: This is a website designed and managed by an ex UEL student IT teacher, Carrie Anne Philbin. She has set up a network for students and professionals and has written and published resources for teaching IT and Computing.

Following this Stacey Pogoda, a UEL Senior Lecturer in Gaming and Games Design, told her personal story and that of others who have been persecuted for being women in the field of IT and Gaming.

The trainees made a powerful case for using female role models when teaching classes about IT and Computer Science. They offered advice about how to encourage primary school girls to enjoy and take up the subject.

They finished by saying “We think making a difference begins at school.”

US art exhibit highlights women in STEM 

Science editor and writer Maia Weinstock (@20tauri) describes a unique ALD event in the United States this fall. 
Go Ahead And Do It
To mark the sixth annual Ada Lovelace Day, artistic portraits of more than 30 pioneering women in the STEM fields will be on display for one month at the Art.Science.Gallery. in Austin, Texas. The exhibit, Go Ahead and Do It: Portraits of Women in Science, opens on Saturday, Sept. 13th and runs through Ada Lovelace Day, Oct. 14th.

The show will feature paintings, drawings, collages, a quilt, and framed LEGO figurines depicting STEM heroines throughout history. Scientists represented include classic STEM icons such as Hypatia and Marie Curie as well as more recent role models like Grace Hopper, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle, and Shirley Ann Jackson.

The idea for the show was hatched earlier this year when I published a photo essay for Scientific American on the same theme entitled, 15 Works of Art Depicting Women in Science. One of the artists I interviewed, Hayley Gillespie, happens to run the Art.Science.Gallery., and after chatting about the possibilities, we decided to bring the virtual exhibit into the real world. The 11 featured artists in Go Ahead and Do It — the title of which is borrowed from a famous Grace Hopper quote — all have unique styles and reasons for covering the topic of women in science, so we will be including notes about their motivations and inspirations as part of the show.

In keeping with ALD tradition, the last two days of the exhibit will encourage action from the public. On the penultimate day, the gallery will host a Wikipedia edit-a-thon that will teach attendees how to add images of women in STEM to Wikimedia Commons, the repository of photos and other media used on Wikipedia articles. On Ada Lovelace Day itself — the final day of the show — the gallery will host an ALD party that will include a brief talk by yours truly on some of the history and sociology behind portraiture featuring women in STEM.

We’d love to see visitors from around the globe attending our show, so please help us spread the word! We fully acknowledge that most visitors will be from Texas, but we absolutely hope to see you there if you can join us. Of course, if you know of anyone who lives in or travels to Austin, please send them our way! The gallery will include a shop with items related to the show, and all original artworks will be for sale, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting Girlstart, a non-profit that provides opportunities for girls to become involved in STEM fields.

Wikimedia seeks organisation to host editathon intern

Wikimedia UK is a charity that supports Wikipedia and other open knowledge projects in the UK. It has been running ‘Women in Science’ editathons for the last two years, during which 15-30 people gather for an afternoon to learn how to contribute to Wikipedia. They then create or improve articles about women in science, and other relevant pages. In 2013 their editathons received extremely positive responses from the attendees and in general.

In 2014, Wikimedia UK is seeking support for further Women in Science events in partnership with another organisation that is committed to the issue of the gender gap in science. They are thus planning to create an internship, starting in September and lasting several months, to help organise these events and are looking for an organisation keen to host the intern. The aim of the project would be to run events both in association to the host institution, but also any other organisations that the host is linked to. The events could be linked to the Ada Lovelace day, but can be spread across October and beyond, and they would like to organise a minimum of five events.

Wikimedia UK would provide funding for the internship and as well as past expertise in running Women in Science Wikipedia events. If you are interested please email Daria Cybulska by 17 July.

Calling all unpublished STEM writers

We have always supported up-and-coming talent with Ada Lovelace Day Live, giving new speakers a platform alongside established names, and now we want to do the same thing with our second collection of essays about women in STEM. Science writers Veronique GreenwoodJennifer Ouellette and Ed Yong have agreed to mentor two unpublished writers, providing structural and stylistic feedback and helping them to improve their craft.

We’re looking for two women who have never been professionally published before (not counting academic papers or blog posts). We are looking for enthusiasm, potential and a passion for communication. There are no age limitations, so if whether you’re at school or university, or looking for a mid-career change of direction, we want to hear from you. We don’t mind what you do, where you live, or what your area of expertise is, we just want you to be able to tell the story of a woman or group of women in STEM in a compelling and captivating way.

If you’d like to apply, please take a look at our our briefstyle guide, and author notes, and submit your idea via this web form before 21 March. And please do help us by spreading the word about our mentorship programme as widely as you can!

Chapter submission deadline extended

A Passion for Science cover smallWe have had a fantastic response to our call for submissions for our next book, with some fascinating women suggested for inclusion. There has been, however, a focus primarily on women in science and medicine, so in order to get a more balanced anthology we’d like to urge people to volunteer chapters on women in engineering and maths, as well as women inventors. We’d also like to encourage people to explore the amazing women in STEM from minority groups, as well as living women, so that we can broaden the types of stories that we tell and really shine the spotlight on women who are too often overlooked.

We’re also lacking diversity amongst our writers with, so far, not a single man proposing a chapter and no one from minority groups (as far as we can tell, though names aren’t the best way to assess diversity!). If you’re a guy, or identify as a member of any minority group, then please do consider becoming a part of this project! It’s very important that we have a wide variety not just in the women we celebrate, but in the voices joining that celebration. 

If you want to contribute a chapter, or can encourage a man you know to take part in the project, then all you need to do is fill in the form at the bottom of this page before 21 March. And any help you can give us in spreading the word about the projects, and the mentorships on offer, would be much appreciated!