Today we celebrate International Women’s Day! International Women’s Day is a global opportunity to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women—it is also a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The 2022 theme for International Women’s Day is “Break the Bias”—a theme we consider daily as we work to achieve gender parity in STEM fields.

Women make up only 28% of the STEM workforce and men far outnumber women majoring in most STEM fields in college. But women are making significant contributions to scientific, technological, and social progress and deserve recognition for their work. So in celebration of International Women’s Day, we selected five amazing women currently working in STEM fields, to celebrate the present and future of women in STEM. The work these women do is itself a celebration of the women who came before them, and a beacon to those coming up after them.

Danielle Forward, Product Designer and Founder

Danielle Forward
Danielle Forward is a product designer at Facebook, and the Founder of Natives Rising, an organization that promotes the visibility of Native Americans in the tech industry and provides mentorship and networking opportunities for Native Americans interested in tech. After working for 10 years to pay her own way through college, Forward graduated first in her class with a BFA in Interaction Design from California College of the Arts, securing two internships with Facebook during that time. Her thesis focused on economic empowerment through tech and design—a focus she has maintained through founding Natives Rising. As she explains, part of her resilience and success was learning to focus on what truly matters—”Your attention is your life. So I try to be mindful of where my attention goes, and why it went where it did. Would the future me be proud of where I put it?”

Learn more about Danielle Forward from the Computer History Museum, or in her Women in Silicon Valley interview

Pussana Hirunsit, Nanotechnologist focusing on renewable energy 

Dr. Pussana Hirunsit is a nanotechnologist fighting climate change with her work on recycling carbon dioxide. In her lab at the National Nanotechnology Center within the National Science and Technology Development Agency of Thailand, Dr. Hirunsit runs simulations to find ways to convert carbon dioxide into carbon and even into renewable energy sources.

Dr. Hirunsit received the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science National Award in 2017. She has explained that her goal is “to solve global warming using my carbon dioxide conversion research… I wish to create a neutral carbon cycle in the atmosphere by recycling waste carbon dioxide.”

Learn more about Pussana Hirunsit in her interview with Asian Scientist.

Nicole Hernández Hammer, Climate Scientist and Environmental Justice Activist

Nicole Hernandez Hammer
Nicole Hernández Hammer is a Guatemalan-American climate scientist and environmental justice activist researching sea-level rise. She also studies the increased impacts of climate change on communities of color, and specifically educates and mobilizes Latino communities to learn about and address climate change’s impacts on their neighborhoods and communities. Hernández Hammer’s drive comes in part from personal experience—when she was 15, Hurricane Andrew destroyed her family’s house in South Florida.

She is a climate advocate for the Union of Concerned Scientists, the former deputy director of the Florida Center for Environmental Studies, and has previously worked with Moms Clean Air Force. She currently works in Rhode Island as project director for the Clean Energy States alliance, focused on solar projects in low- and moderate-income communities. Hernandez Hammer told NBC that part of her motivation to do this work is for future generations. “I want my son to know I was part of the effort to achieve environmental justice. We should all use whatever platform we have to make a better world for our future generations.”

Learn more about Nicole in this NBC profile, or watch her 2017 climate change panel with Amy Poheler’s Smart Girls

Lama AlAbdi, Biochemist researching vision loss 

Lama AlAbdi is a biochemistry doctoral graduate working on vision loss. In 2020, she was honored by the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Middle East Regional Young Talents Program for her breakthrough research. AlAbdi’s current research explores questions of how gene expression affects vision loss, by studying chromatins. Although she began studying vision loss as an undergraduate AlAbdi explains that her research focus has unfolded as she has chased her curiosity—”when I first started pursuing chromatin, I was just starting my Ph.D. and my professor invited a speaker,” she said. “The speaker started talking about modifications on the DNA, which, to me, was shocking because I had never heard of it before. I was just in awe because I thought I was quite well immersed in the field of genetics, but that was a whole new discovery, and I found that I knew nothing. That was the start and I was hooked.”

Read more about Lama AlAbdi in the press release for the Women in Science Middle East Regional Young Talents Program, or in this profile in Arab News.

Kizzmekia Corbett, Viral Immunologist 

Dr. Corbett is a viral immunologist and a scientific lead for the NIH’s Coronavirus Vaccine Program. Dr. Corbett is part of the team that worked to develop a safe and effective vaccine for COVID-19. Dr. Corbett had been studying coronaviruses for more than six years when the NIH formed a team to develop a vaccine for COVID-19.

Over the last two years, Dr. Corbett has clearly communicated her expertise with COVID-19 as well as coronaviruses in general (she was breaking down everything we knew about the virus as far back as January 2020) and shared her experience as a black woman leading scientific progress while the world watches — and how that can involve being doubted, overlooked, and insulted. Dr. Corbett continues to make history and enormous strides in viral immunology — and to communicate that science in approachable ways…and she continues to be proud about being a data-loving scientist. When she received the first dose of the vaccine in early 2021, she celebrated by making a slide tracking her antibody response—a scientist to her core, which we admire.

Technovation Girls & Alumnae & their Mentors

And of course, today we recognize and celebrate some of the women and girls in STEM we admire most—the Technovation community. Technovation Girls participants show up every year to show the world how they’re using technology to solve big problems. Girls ages 8-18 tackle the same problems that the five incredible women we just highlighted, and the same problems as world leaders. They take on climate change, public health, environmental degradation, education, and equitable access to resources. And they are supported every step of the way by volunteer Chapter Ambassadors or Club Ambassadors, their mentors, and their peers who are Student Ambassadors.

You all inspire us daily with your curiosity & commitment to solving today’s biggest problems. You are making history.

Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and TikTok to learn more about the amazing work girls around the world are doing using science and technology.