Marlyn Barrett K-12 STEM educator – Marlyn Barrett is a coordinator of science instruction for Worcester County Public Schools and a project director for a grant that provides professional development for 135 teachers in 14 counties throughout Maryland. Her responsibilities include directing the grant, meeting with other county coordinators and higher education partners, and teacher training, impacting thousands of Maryland students and inspiring them to become the future of science.
This year’s theme of Women’s History Month recognizes women who have made great strides in a field where women are still underrepresented. The field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics is better known as STEM. Eighteen women are being honored for their extraordinary work in the fields of medicine, robotics, computer programming, atmospheric chemistry, architecture and primatology. Not only does their work accomplishments vary, they too, come from different cultural and ethnic backgrounds.
The theme and recognition of these honorees should encourage women and young girls alike to explore their dreams and interest in the world of STEM so that one day women will be more represented than unrepresented.
Capt. Caitlin Curran – Capt. Caitlin Curran, 86th Operations Support Squadron aircraft commander for the C-130J Super Hercules, is part of an elite force of pilots. Curran is a pilot for the 37th Airlift Squadron, which conducts nearly 100 contingency operations per month. As a female pilot in a mostly male dominated career field, Curran is grateful for the inspiration from female Airmen of the past. “I love that picture of those four WASPs (Women Air Force Service Pilots) walking off the flight line. They look so cool to me and their example was definitely a source of strength throughout my pilot training.”
Photo by Airman 1st Class Holly Cook Senior Master Sgt. Joanne Bass – Senior Master Sgt. Joanne Bass, 86th Operations Group superintendent, is one of the few women in the Air Force to be selected as a chief master sergeant. She has shown that being selected for chief means being ready to complete the Air Force mission at any time. “The opportunity to roll out, deploy and execute our nation’s mission was always very rewarding to me. It gave me a huge sense of pride and respect for what each of us brings to the fight.” This senior master sergeant’s commitment to excellence, integrity and selfless service shows today’s Airmen that anything is possible. “I remind myself every day that the decisions I make potentially impact our mission and the careers of our Airmen.”
Mary G. Ross (1908-2008) Mechanical engineer – Mary Ross was the first woman engineer at Lockheed’s Missiles Systems Division (1952) and the first known Native American woman engineer. At Lockheed, Ross designed missiles and rockets and developed systems for human space flight and interplanetary missions to Mars and Venus. After retiring, she began a second career as an advocate for women and Native Americans in engineering and mathematics.
Photo by Airman 1st Class Holly Cook – Col. Christine Taylor, 86th Medical Group commander, strives to make the best out of anything that is thrown at her. Taylor was the recipient of the 2009 Fifth Air Force/Pacific Air Forces Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Women of the Year Award, as well as many other awards. One of her most rewarding achievements is becoming the medical group commander. “I will say, there are victories to be won and the only one that can really stop you from achieving what you want in life and reaching your goals is you!”
Grace Murray Hopper (1906-1992) Computer scientist – Grace Hopper was a pioneering computer scientist and rear admiral in the U.S. Navy. Hopper joined the Navy Reserve during World War II and worked as one of the first programmers of the Harvard Mark 1 Computer. She later wrote the first computer programming compiler (1952) and conceptualized COBOL, one of the first modern programming languages (1954). Upon her retirement she was awarded the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, the highest non-combat award given by the Department of Defense.
Mechanical engineer and roboticist – Helen Greiner is co-founder and former president/chairwoman of iRobot Corporation, a world leader in consumer and military robots, and current CEO of CyPhyWorks. She is also a trustee of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Boston Museum of Science, serves on the robotics advisory board of Worcester Polytechnic Institute and Army War College, and is a member of the Army Science Board.
Photo by Airman 1st Class Holly Cook Dorothy Goulet – Dorothy Goulet, Ramstein High School French teacher, has spent 18 years perfecting her teaching skills. Over the years, she won several awards, including the 2001 Guam High School Teacher of the Year and 2009 Department of Defense Education Activity Teacher of the Year, which she won out of more than 12,000 teachers. “The awards are great, but I find them important because they give me a voice for other teachers. I’m not done cookin’ yet. I still have lots to do.”