Top research centers around the world are studying the role of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Many of these researchers are interested in learning about ways to close the achievement gap for women in STEM fields. The researchers now have some new top female performers to investigate as models of success. This is because four outstanding women in STEM disciplines were named to both the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences (AAA&S) this year.
About the National Academy of Sciences
The National Academy of Sciences was established via a charter of the United States Congress. In 1863, this charter was signed by President Abraham Lincoln. Today, the National Academy of Sciences operates as a private, nonprofit organization. Members, who are elected based on their scientific achievements, provide guidance on science, engineering, and health policy to members of the U.S. federal government and other policy-setting organizations.
About the American Academy of Arts & Sciences
In 1780, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences was established in order to promote learning and knowledge for the common good. Today, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences operates as both an honor society and as a research center that recognizes high achievement and leadership in a wide range of fields. Members are chosen through an election process, and more than 13,500 have been elected throughout the organization’s history.
An Increase in female members
The National Academy of Sciences accepted its first female member in 1925, 62 years after its inception. Similarly, according to the archives of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, its first female member was elected in 1848, with the next woman elected 95 years later. Over the years, the number of women has increased in both organizations, although the total number elected to each still lags behind the total number of men. Here is a look at the four women who were elected as members in both groups in 2020.
Giulia Galli is the Liew Family Professor in Electronic Structure and Simulations with the Institute for Molecular Engineering at the University of Chicago. Moreover, she is a professor of chemistry at the university and is also the director of the Midwest Integrated Center for Computational Materials and a senior scientist at Argonne National Laboratory. Among her research interests are optimizing systems for harvesting sunlight and solving problems with water resources. In addition to being honored by the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, she was previously named a fellow of the American Physical Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She also received an Award of Excellence from the US, among other awards.
A Regents professor, Diana Liverman is the director of the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona (UA). She is also the Professor of Global Change and Professor of Arid Lands Resources Sciences in the UA Graduate Interdisciplinary Programs. In a recent interview with UA News, she described her research as focusing on ways to reduce the risks associated with climate change, including the loss of biodiversity, while simultaneously eliminating poverty and hunger and ensuring access to clean water and energy. Previously, Liverman was honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as awards from the Association of American Geographers, the American Geographical Society, and the Royal Geographical Society, among others.
Molly Przeworski serves as a professor of biological sciences and a professor of systems biology at Columbia University. She is also affiliated with Columbia University’s Center for Computational Biology and Bioinformatics Program for Mathematical Genomics. Her research focuses on population genetics, specifically how natural selection works in humans and other vertebrate species. Previously, she was named an Alfred P. Sloane Fellow, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist, and a Rosalind Franklin Young Investigator.
Suzanne Walker is a Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics at Harvard Medical School. Moreover, she is affiliated with the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. She focuses her research on two primary areas, antibiotic resistance and the glucose metabolism process in humans. In 2003, she became the first woman to attain full professorship status in chemistry at Princeton University, where she worked prior to assuming her current position at Harvard. The news story also revealed that among her many accolades, she was named an Alfred P. Sloan Fellow and was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology.