In honor of International Women’s Day, Girls Inc. of Greater Indianapolis is celebrating Indiana women who work in science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) fields. According to The Status of Women in the United States, only 25.7 percent of Hoosiers working in STEM  are women. However, the national average of women in STEM fields is higher, at 28.8 percent. This lower percentage is indicative of why science-based programs for young girls are so important, and why Hoosier women who have entered the field should be acknowledged.

Girls Inc. is celebrating women and girls in STEM as part of our spring fundraising campaign. Gifts throughout the month of March will be matched by community donors to continue and improve our programs, many of which include an emphasis on STEM. Make a gift today to help educate and inspire Indianapolis girls to be strong, smart, and bold!

Read below to learn about three women from Indiana who served as pioneers in STEM:

Ruth Gentry

(1890-1917)

Ruth Gentry was born in Indiana and received degrees from the Indiana State Normal School, which is now known as Indiana State University, the University of Michigan, and Bryn Mawr. During her time, it was incredibly rare for colleges to admit women. In fact, the University of Michigan became one of the first universities to allow women to pursue Bachelor’s degrees in 1870.

She spent time as a Fellow in Mathematics at Bryn Mawr, expanding her knowledge and network through travel to international locations such as France and Germany. In 1896, Gentry earned a PhD in mathematics and physics. She was the first woman from Indiana to earn a PhD in mathematics. After finishing her education, she went on to become the Associate Principal and Head of the Mathematics Department at a private school in Pennsylvania.

Janice E. Voss

Janice Voss.jpg
(1956-2012)

Janice Voss was an engineer and astronaut from South Bend, Indiana. After being selected by NASA in 1990, Voss served as a mission specialist on five space shuttle missions, including the only repeat flight in the program’s 30 year history. She helped conduct biomedical and material science experiments in an orbiter’s pressurized laboratory. In total, she spent over 49 days in space and traveled nearly 19 million miles. Her five missions tied her with the record for the most spaceflights by an American woman.

Karen Ramsey-Idem

Karen Ramsey-Idem is the Director of Global Technical Resource Planning and Management for Cummins Inc., serving in various roles for the company for over 20 years. She holds multiple degrees: a B.S., M.S., and PhD in mechanical engineering. In 2017, Ramsey-Idem was awarded the Global Leadership Award from The Society of Women Engineers for her work with Cummins and continued advocacy for women in the engineering field, which includes regularly volunteering for educational outreach programs in the United States and overseas.

Do you know a Hoosier woman who works in STEM?

Share this article & give them a shout-out for International Women’s Day!