Funding Friday: Women in STEM Holiday Cards

I backed this project the minute I saw it.

Maybe you might like to back it too and get some holiday cards that might inspire the girls in your life to grow up and be like these amazing women.


Comments (Archived):

  1. PhilipSugar

    That is great and I was happy to see Katherine Johnson represented. Well before the movie The Numbers Delaware State named their major halls and classrooms after these women putting their pictures and biographies outside each room. It is great that the State Lego Robotic Championships are held in these rooms.Interesting fact about me was that my mother went to The Ohio State University for her Masters in Math in 1955 paid by NASA where she met my Dad in the program.

  2. Richard

    https://uploads.disquscdn.c… The outstanding director Ida Lupino, nothing as beautiful as a beautiful strong woman

  3. Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya

    Thanks for sharing and backing the project @fredwilson! And for helping us remind girls, everywhere, that they have the potential to make an impact in STEM.

  4. Kirsten Lambertsen

    Nice! You’re on a roll this week 🙂 Well done.

  5. sigmaalgebra

    Formight inspire the girls in your life to grow up and be like these amazing careful what you wish for because you might get it.I tried that. It was by far the worst mistake of my life. I fervently urge men — DON’T DO THAT.E.g., early in our dating, one evening, sitting on a bench next to a stream in a romantic location on a college campus, I told her, IIRC:”I DO want and intend to get married. I want to get my Ph.D., get a good job, get a car bought and paid for, get a house, have some savings, have money enough to support a wife and family, find a nice girl, about 18, right away get her married and pregnant, maybe not in that order, and have a nice family, home, etc.”Right away she responded:”Women don’t have to just be cared for. Women can do things, too. I want a career.”Well, she certainly looked like she was a terrific bet: She was finishing her college sophomore year as nearly a straight A student — had gotten just one B. She’d shown impressive signs of brilliance. E.g., she was in a pre-med program and had just aced the standard flunk out course in organic chemistry. She’d been Valedictorian of her high school class. In two more years she’d been graduated PBK, Summa cum Laude, had won a Woodrow Wilson fellowship and two years of NSF Fellowship in one award, and was accepted to graduate school at University of Chicago. So, lots of people thought that she was a good bet.Lots of people were happy and proud; no one voiced any dangers.Nearly all the rest was downhill from there. One evening she was missing, and in a day or two her body was found floating in a lake.She’d gotten her Ph.D. in essentially mathematical sociology.What happened:(1) She was genuinely talented, astoundingly so, actually brilliant, not just in sociology but whatever she attempted including at times applied math and computing, along with piano, clarinet, voice, prizes in cooking, sewing, raising chickens.(2) But, and accepted as independent of being brilliant, she was afraid. She’d been afraid, nearly terrified, essentially all her life. So, she had anxiety disease and, then, starting at about age 22, which supposedly is common, some of the common consequences, e.g., perfectionism, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), social phobia, low self-esteem, and stress. The stress was very high and led, as common, to depression. The stress of her Ph.D. was very high, and the day she received her Ph.D. she was in a clinical depression. She never recovered. With her mother at her family farm trying to recover, she said”I feel like all my life I’ve been pulling some terrible load, and now I just can’t pull it anymore.”Right away I responded:”I don’t want you pulling any terrible loads. If there are terrible loads to pull, I’ll pull them.”That assurance, with hundreds more, didn’t work.(3) Genetics? Her mother and sisters were also brilliant and afraid, but they never tried to do anything as challenging as a Ph.D. Her sisters are all still alive and, like her mother, all had children, 2 or 3 each.The crucial problem was the stress of her Ph.D. Her brilliance was much more than the work needed, but her anxiety disease, social phobia, and OCD made even simple things very difficult. Her Ph.D. dissertation was perfect but fatal.I worked hard to understand what the heck happened. E.g., the explanation above took me years to understand — as needed to understand her, I got a tough course, off and on, in clinical psychology and some of psychiatry. Now I have some decent level of understanding — IMHO only a tiny fraction of husbands have understood their wives even 10% as well as finally I understood my wife. But I did learn. I paid “full tuition”, and it was very high; e.g., often to help her I sacrificed my career.My basic conclusion and warning:First, DON’T, just don’t, just NEVER, without a LOT of knowledge, care, understanding, and a good safety net and fall back position, EVER send a woman to a Ph.D. program or to anything potentially stressful or to anything that traditionally is seen as men’s work. NEVER do it.More generally her family should work HARD to protect her from advice such as in Fred’s post, feminism, smoking, drinking, drugs, promiscuous behavior, sexually transmitted diseases, single pregnancies, contempt for men, marriage, love, home, and family, pop culture, etc. Instead, she should be encouraged to be more traditional, e.g., sweet. meek, pretty, feminine, darling, adorable, precious, CARED FOR, cherished, treasured, loved, “sugar and spice and everything nice”, socially skilled, sympathetic, empathetic, caring, respectful of her husband, concentrating on home and family, etc.Second, bluntly, women who try to pursue men’s work will very likely end up, as my wife did, removing their genes from the gene pool — they will be weak, sick, or dead limbs on the tree. Darwin is on the case with a solution to the problem.One reason for this disaster was the terrible suffering of a huge fraction of US women during the Great Depression. So, from that, a lot of women saw that they were not able to depend financially on their husbands. So, a lot of women concluded that they had to do well in “men’s work”, e.g., do fantastically well in academics, e.g., through Ph.D.Totally obviously, MUCH more important for women, society, and civilization is doing well at motherhood instead of the STEM fields.But, I guess actually we all know these things and at times to fit in with a tribe, to be politically correct, say that women should be encouraged to pursue the STEM fields.With the US national politics of the last three years, we have a new norm — say things, just say them, absurd, outrageous things, things from a funny farm, just say them, and expect that they will not be taken literally and, thus, will be harmless. For a big example of such absurd things not to be taken at all literally there is a compilation at…That video clip is sickening — I can’t watch it again.With this norm, absurd statements, never to be taken literally, are acceptable; rational statements with good evidence and to be taken literally are no longer expected or respected.But an excuse that absurd statements, frequently repeated, won’t be taken literally and are harmless, IMHO is not true: Instead such statements WILL affect some people. In particular, with statements pushing girls into STEM fields, some girls will be seriously hurt or KILLED.Yes, I know; I know: We count on any pretty girls meeting Mr. Right who ASAP gets her married and pregnant and maybe not in that order. Then with another baby each 2 years or so, after several babies she will settle into and accept the mommy track with all that STEM field nonsense nearly fully forgotten, gone with the wind. Life is awash in broken dreams; we just expect the STEM field dreams to add to that big collection with no more harm than at 4 she wanted to be a ballet dancer, at 8 wanted to be a movie actress, at 10, wanted to be a famous scientist curing cancer, etc. Besides, if she is dreaming of a STEM field career at 10, then in high school maybe we can keep her concentrating on academics instead of, right, boys.Or maybe it was mostly just because the girl in the video clip was cute???It remains: The girls need to be cherished, cared for, etc, and each perfect daughter who dies will, for any normal, respectable father, result in one seriously unhappy father.Much that I’m saying, especially about the girls and women and their dreams, is standard stuff, so standard that long ago Hollywood put in a movie, no doubt assuming that nearly everyone in the audience would agree. E.g., there is the Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor movie Father’s Little Dividend, (1951), at…where the mother laments that when her friends were graduating from college, she, married just a year, was giving birth. She should have been happy: She’d already GOTTEN her college degree, her Mrs. AND a family! So, she was WAY ahead of her college cohort still looking for Mr. Right! Still, she’s lost her dream of a college degree and, 18 or so years later, still resented the broken dream.Ah, have to break some eggs to make a good omelet, and maybe have to break some woman’s dreams to make a good family.I’ll add an important point about good research university Ph.D. work: The three most important parts of such a degree are research, research, research. Usually coursework is not very relevant; sometimes no coursework is required. Sometimes no courses are offered to help students get ready for the qualifying exams, and all the graduate courses are introductions to research by experts in their fields. E.g., some world famous prof won a big prize, and his course is what students might want to know to do follow on work and also win such a prize. It’s nice, cute, sweet, that some student made straight As in college and in their MS program. Good. All other things equal, better than not. But it remains that what is important is RESEARCH,. Or the prof and the university are getting paid mostly just for research, NOT teaching (certainly not vocational education). So, as one explanation of the role of research and the common challenge of straight A students, buried in D. Knuth’s The TeXBook is a comment:The traditional way is to put off all creative aspects until the last part of graduate school. For seventeen or more years, a student is taught exams-man-ship, then suddenly after passing enough exams in graduate school he’s told to do something original.For most straight A students, that change to doing “something original” is a big challenge. Or, even if the research is easy enough, there is the question of how it will be received, judged. Or, for courses, good students learn how to please a professor and get an A. Such positive feedback for research is much less certain. Commonly parents without Ph.D. degrees don’t know anything about research and have just emphasized making As.

  6. amedeo testa

    Hello, we are Davide Storino and Luca Costamagna cofounders of DL Novel Food an italian startup based on the automation of the insects livestocks.We want to present you our project called AUTOMATIC FARM……we are on Kickstarter from a bit less a week and we would ask you if possible to pay for avertise an article about us on your great blog.We are looking forward your reply and we hope in a good newsThanks and regardsDavide & [email protected] Novel Food