FMU honors women in science

Ada Lovelace Day celebrates remarkable women


Photo by: Dani Isgett

Shanae Giles, FMU admissions counselor, and Dr. Jon Tuttle, English professor, talk with professor volunteers wearing “FMU Women in STEM” t-shirts. The volunteers spoke to students and faculty about notable women in history as part of Ada Lovelace Day.

On Oct. 14, the Science, Math, Engineering and Technology departments (STEM) held their annual Ada Lovelace Day, a program to celebrate women in STEM.

The program included several activities available to students and faculty throughout the day. They could write the name of their female role model in the STEM fields on Post- it notes, or write about a woman who inspired them in general.

Senior biology major Brittani Owens wrote her grandmother’s name on her Post-it.

“She has survived two heart attacks,” Owens said. “That’s why she’s my inspiration.”

Students could also create a biography card at the program’s table. The biography card listed their name and their interests in the STEM fields.

Dr. Shayna Wrighten, a biology professor, said that over 75 students visited the table during the day. Each student entered their name into a raffle for STEM- themed prizes. Students also entered the raffle by wearing a shirt with their favorite inspirational woman in STEM, completing a scavenger hunt and watching the movie put on by STEM at the end of the day.

The scavenger hunt, a 33-question matching game, was set up in Leatherman Science Facility in the halls. Students walked around the halls to find biography cards of inspirational women in STEM, matching their names to short descriptions on the scavenger hunt handout.

In the afternoon, the STEM departments showed a movie titled“Makers:Women in Space.” Refreshments and candy were served before the movie, and the board of Post- it notes was placed outside of the auditorium. Several students hung their Post-its before viewing the movie.

Senior biology major Mark Anthony Holden was one of the students who hung a note before attending the movie. He wrote three names on the Post-it note: his mother, Dr. Lorianne Turner and Dr. Erin Eaton.

Wrighten said she was enthusiastic about watching students visit the table.

“I hope students can learn about women in STEM and maybe be inspired by one of the women,” Wrighten said. “Hopefully they might also learn that they can be just as inspiring.”

Wrighten said she sees a bright future for women in STEM, an ever-expanding field.

“I see [young women in STEM] growing and creating everything, changing the world and making it a better place,” Wrighten said.

The movie, shown in Lowrimore Auditorium, was about the critical role women have played in the U.S. space program.

Dr. Lisa Pike helped run the event and movie showing, and she participated in helping students learn more about Ada Lovelace and other women in STEM.

Ada Lovelace was a British mathematician, and her work inspires many women in STEM today. The Ada Lovelace Day flyers focused on her work on the analytical engine. Her passion for STEM fields and her work in research and experimenting has helped scientists in their work today.

At the end of the program, more than 100 students had participated in the activities. Students were excited to learn about these women, and several students engaged in conversations with professors about STEM topics.

Holden enjoyed the program, but he also had ideas on how to improve it for next year.

“Maybe next year [the professors] can give away some t-shirts to the first few people who visit the table,” Holden said. “It would be a better way to promote Ada Lovelace Day.”

Ada Lovelace Day is an annual program that takes place in October.