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Discovery Place celebrates International Women's Day
Happy International Women's Day! This global day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
According to the Census Bureau's 2009 American Community Survey, women comprise 48% of the U.S. workforce but just 24% of workers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields.
Across Discovery Place museums, 64% of our staff is female.
So we asked some of these outstanding women: What inspired your interest in STEM?
Catalina Stegmann, Lab Coordinator
Bachelor's degree in biochemistry (Boston College)
“It was my love for teaching science that inspired me the most. I love those 'aha!' moments – not so much telling kids what to do but guiding them to figure it out for themselves.”
Robyn Levitan, Manager, Collections
Master's degree in experimental archaeology (University of Exeter)
“The first excavation I ever went on, I pulled a skull out of the ground in Peru that hadn’t been touched in 1,200 years. That was really empowering and I was only one of two women out of 12 archaeologists.”
Juliann Chavez, Director, Discovery Place Science Labs
Bachelor's degree in zoology (Ohio State University) and master's degree in biology (Miami University)
“What inspired me was a Girl Scout overnight trip. I went to one at the zoo, I was in second grade and I loved the whole thing. Afterward I told my mom that was what I wanted to do. Then all through college I worked at the Columbus Zoo and I ran overnight events for Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and all kinds of clubs. After that I got a degree in Zoology from Ohio State University.”
Andie Anderson, Program Manager, Professional Development
Bachelor’s degree in biology (Boston College) and master’s degree in education (Wake Forest University)
“I was inspired by the courageous and brilliant women who came before me in this field. When I was a little girl I dressed up like Jane Goodall for Halloween. Last year I was Marie Curie. These are the women who fuel my purpose in this line of work. I want all young ladies to feel empowered and inspired to drive our scientific community forward.”
Charla Fields, Senior Director, Community Engagement & Impact
Bachelor’s degree in molecular cell biology (Dominican University of California)
“STEM allowed me to dive deeper into the understanding of life. I like cause and effect. I like if/then. That’s how life works – if you eat this, then this will happen. I like numbers, systems and processes, and the cool thing about science is that as you embark on these processes, there is no shame in failure. In other lines of work, if you don’t follow protocol you might get a slap on the wrist, but in science, if you are experimenting and diverting, you could discover the next great thing.”
Rachael Marks, Lab Educator
Bachelor’s degree in wilderness leadership and experiential education (Brevard College)
“Over time, my love for playing outside and interest in the natural world morphed into a passion for science and environmental education.”
Sarah Macey, Assistant Vice President, Design & Exhibitions
Bachelor’s degree in industrial design (Rochester Institute of Technology) “I struggled for a long time trying to figure out what I wanted to do for my career. When I was younger, I excelled in math and science so I was pushed toward computer sciences, but I wasn’t very interested in the work. I basically broke the career aptitude test receiving career suggestions like worm farmer, truck driver and secret agent. Eventually I was placed in remedial classes to figure out why I broke the test. The answer actually ended up coming in the mail by way of Carnegie Mellon, with an advertisement for a summer program in industrial design. I signed up for the program and was the only girl out of 30 students that summer. Most people who study industrial design go into careers focused in commercial product design, but I didn’t want to take that path. I ended up working for a local museum throughout college doing aquarium and exhibit design, like determining and testing environments for penguins, and it lead me to where I am now. For me it’s not about creating the shiny new design, I enjoy creating positive experiences and making things that have a positive impact on people.”
Mary Anne Mariner, Greeter
“I started out at Discovery Place because my son was in college and I decided I needed to get out into the workforce. I was working as a part-time receptionist in the afternoons. Freda Nicholson (Discovery Place’s first president) asked me to go full time. Then I was promoted into Marketing. I learned so much there, more than a college education could have taught me. Then they asked me to take over the Call Center, and later to take on Admissions and the front line. I liked it the best because I was working with the people. It was quite a challenge to keep everything straight, but that’s really what I wanted to do and I loved it.”