Happy (Belated) International Women’s Day

March 8 is International Women’s Day, in case you didn’t know. I didn’t…oops 🙂

Coincidently, Nathalia Gjersoe published a piece via The Guardian examining gender gaps in STEM. She touches on whether or not they are socially constructed (they are), whether or not girls are worse than boys at STEM subjects in school (they’re not), and more.

Although many factors are at play here, I will point out one undeniable truth of the matter. A disproportionate number of gals are capable of entering technical fields, but don’t.

Society has come a long way in the last few decades. We are now dying to know why so many women choose to abandon their STEM potentials.

Well, I can tell you why I didn’t.

I’m a very proud member of academic and professional organizations wherein gender neutrality is strongly enforced. All the same, I would be lying if I said gender disparity and “social belongingness” never cross my mind as a woman, an engineering student, and an engineer.

My upbringing renders such thoughts irrelevant. Before I could even form memories, I was told I could do or be anything if I work hard. My dad spoke as though it is probable, not possible, for me to earn the same positions and salaries as he (a highly-specialized software consultant).

So I was bulletproof. No child, adult, teacher, professor, peer, male or otherwise could make me doubt my sense of belonging in a male-dominated field. Not Josh* in 5th grade, who was genuinely confused when I showed up to math league tryouts as I was known for my makeup, pocketbooks, and little else. Nor Spence* in college, who suggested I was too sensitive when I felt patronized by an administrator.

I’d like to hear from other ladies in STEM: Why didn’t you abandon your STEM potential?

*pseudonyms

Entrepreneur Jason Kelly Loves GMOs

dna-1889086_1280
PIXABAY

He says it here. And here.

Kelly, co-founder and CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks, shows unwavering support for an arena that often garners negative attention.

What are GMOs again?

An organism can be programmed to do something it wouldn’t normally do. This can be peculiar – for example, a mouse that fluoresces flamingly in the dark. But more often, we do this for practicality. For non-browning apples. For tomatoes that seem to stay fresh indefinitely.

It involves “borrowing” a desired trait from one organism and introducing said trait into another via transfer of DNA. GMOs refer to the genetically modified organisms themselves (i.e. plants, animals, micro-organisms). They take on forms and functions that would not exist in nature otherwise.

Continue reading “Entrepreneur Jason Kelly Loves GMOs”

Medical Device Tax Delayed For Two More Years

pexels-photo-164527.jpeg
PEXEL

Major news for medical devices sold in America over the next two years: Excise tax will remain un-imposed. This refers to a 2.3% tax enacted in 2010 to offset Affordable Care Act costs. Delayed a first time in 2015, this second delay saves medical device companies an estimated $3.75 billion between now and January 1, 2020, fostering innovation and protecting consumers from increased insurance expenditures. Right on time, too, as taxes were to resume imminently. STAT correspondent Erin Mershon talks about this here.

Three-Photon Imaging of Atherosclerosis

846
The inside of an aorta studded with atherosclerotic lesions (raw image provided by CDC/ Dr. Edwin P. Ewing, Jr. via PHIL)

The BMES blog posted recently about using multiphoton microscopy to study atherosclerosis, happening now at Cornell University. If you’re not familiar with atherosclerosis, you should be. It refers to the narrowing of arteries due to plaque buildup, and it will probably affect you or someone you love at some point.

This isn’t meant to frighten you; almost everyone over 60 has it to some extent, often without realizing. So when does atherosclerosis become critical?  Heart disease is the short answer, my friends, the leading cause of death across developing and developed countries alike. Heart disease is pretty damn scary.

Continue reading “Three-Photon Imaging of Atherosclerosis”