For over a century, International Women's Day has been celebrated annually, honoring the achievements of women all over the globe. As the theme for International Women's Day 2021 is "Choose to Challenge", today is a great time to highlight and celebrate some influential and talented women in STEM.
Virginia Man-Yee Lee
Professor Virginia Man-Yee Lee is a neuropathologist specializing in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS. She was awarded the 2020 Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences for her work, a prize given to researchers whose discoveries could help extend human life.
Born in 1945 in Chongqing, China, Professor Lee moved to London in 1962 to study piano. She went on to graduate from the University of London with an MS in Biochemistry, and obtained her PhD from the University of California at San Francisco.
Professor Lee is Director of the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research, and Co-director of the Marian S. Ware Alzheimer Drug Discovery Program. She is also the John H. Ware 3rd Professor in Alzheimer’s Research at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
Born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Angelica Ross is known for her acting roles in the television series Pose, American Horror Story, and Transparent. She is also a transgender rights advocate and self-taught computer coder and web developer, launching TransTech Social Enterprises in 2014.
TransTech Social Enterprises is a non-profit organization that helps employ trans and gender-nonconforming people in the tech sector, helping people “lift themselves out of poverty through technical training, digital work creating a social impact and bringing economic empowerment to marginalized communities.”
Angelica Ross was a featured speaker and the 2015 White House LGBTQ Tech and Innovation Summit and hosted the 2020 Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues on September 20, 2019. Hosting the 2020 Forum made her the first openly transgender person to host an American presidential forum.
Famously narrating the Perseverance landing on February 18, 2021, Dr Swati Mohan is the Guidance & Controls Operations Lead for the Mars 2020 mission and has been part of the project since 2013. Working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, she is responsible for making sure that the spacecraft carrying Perseverance was properly oriented.
Born in Bengaluru, India, Dr Mohan moved to the US when she was one year old. She became interested in space when watching Star Trek at age 9, saying that she remembers thinking "I want to do that. I want to find new and beautiful places in the universe."
Swati Mohan studied Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Cornell University, before completing her MS and PhD in Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. She has also previously worked on the Cassini mission to Saturn.