STEM PioneersScience

Legacy STEM Pioneers – George Washington Carver

A pioneer of agriculture and botany, George Washington Carver learned to read and write from his slave owners who raised him following his father’s death and mother’s abduction. According to the State Historical Society of Missouri, Carver was born approximately 1865. He became fascinated with plants while gardening as a child, pursuing an education in Iowa and, after years of travel, graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the State Agricultural School at Ames, Iowa in 1894, followed by a master’s in 1896. Carver began working with Booker T. Washington at Alabama’s Tuskegee Institute by educating local farmers regarding how to maximize quality by planting peanuts, which improved the soil quality of former cotton plantations. His experiments with peanuts led to the development of soap, milk, cheese, and a special polio treatment with massage oil derived from the nut. Read more about George Washington Carver.

Today’s STEM Leaders – Ainissa Ramirez

The key to encouraging students to pursue STEM is to generate genuine enthusiasm. This is the goal of scientist Ainissa Ramirez, a STEM pioneer who has taught at Yale, worked for Bell Laboratories and Lucent Technologies, authored  “Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists” and more than 50 technical papers, holds six patents and has been recognized by media, including Time and Scientific American, as the inspiration for a new American scientific movement. Ramirez studied materials science and engineering, gaining an Sc.B. from Brown University and a Ph.D. from Stanford University. At Ted2012, Ramirez explained, “I shouldn’t be one of the lone scientists of color in my corner of the world. It should be possible for any inner city girl to be a scientist if she wants. We need to remove as many barriers as possible.” Ramirez is tackling a serious issue by introducing fun to the formula. Hear Ainissa Ramirez explain the chemical foundations of ice cream!