Stories from the Field preserves and celebrates the contributions of women working in chemistry and related sciences. The project captures scientific adventures and career insights in short, conversational audio interviews.
Each week we feature one new story here on CHF's website and through iTunes.
While the number of women in scientific careers has increased steadily over the last few decades, true gender equity in science, technology, engineering, and math professions has yet to be achieved. It’s widely acknowledged that role models are essential in encouraging young women to pursue scientific professions, and Stories from the Field will offer an online bank of reflections from successful working female scientists to serve as a starting point for career exploration.
We at CHF thank all our Stories from the Field participants for sharing their experiences with us—and with generations of scientists to come.
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July 15, 2013
In 1941 Helen Free was studying to be a Latin and English teacher—that is, until Pearl Harbor changed her fate. With the country’s young men being drafted into the war, there was suddenly a need for more women in science. Free switched her major, and a long and illustrious career began.
July 8, 2013
After getting her master’s degree Kristine Chin found herself working in industry as the first woman in an all-male lab. It was a challenging experience, and one that she left to eventually find her true calling.
July 1, 2013
In the mid-1980s only 10 of the 100 on-scene coordinators at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were women. Mary Ellen Ternes was one of this formerly rare breed. She talks about the isolation once felt by women chemical engineers and how making choices based on what you love leads you to exactly where you want to be.
June 24, 2013
After the launch of Sputnik in 1957 the new emphasis on science education in the United States helped spark an interest in a young Mary Jo Nye. She talks about an inspiring mentor who taught graduate-school material to her high-school class and discusses how understanding the humanities as well as technology can open up a “spectrum of choices.”
June 14, 2013
For Wendy Young Reed, life is too short for disliking a job. To find a career you enjoy, she says, the key is to network the old-fashioned way: without a computer.
June 10, 2013
When navigating the career path, advises Cynthia Palmer, make sure the jobs you take are the ones you actually want. She talks about the importance of confidence, taking small steps, and getting a copy of the job description.
June 3, 2013
It was a tough decision, she says, but Terri Taylor left grad school to become a high-school chemistry teacher. She talks about the importance of following your passion and taking your career one step at a time.
May 27, 2013
Mary Kirchhoff didn’t go about her education the usual way: she had four children before pursuing her Ph.D. She talks about what was “the most organized time” of her life and the importance of sticking to goals.
May 20, 2013
Marinda Wu chose her particular graduate program because she wanted to work for a famous professor. But when she arrived, she was told the professor didn’t accept female students.
May 13, 2013
Women chemists who are also trying to raise a family can get a lot of heat, even from other women, says Bevin Parks. It helps, she says, to get to know and understand those women who are pushing back—ideally over dinner and drinks.
Follow the adventures of eight leading women in chemistry and celebrate their life-changing, chance-taking, thrill-seeking love of science.
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