Ada Lovelace Day: Mary B.

This article is written for Ada Lovelace Day:

Ada Lovelace Day is about sharing stories of women — whether engineers, scientists, technologists or mathematicians — who have inspired you to become who you are today. The aim is to create new role models for girls and women in these male-dominated fields by raising the profile of other women in STEM.

You can learn more about Ada Lovelace, the Enchantress of Numbers, at FindingAda.com 

Today, October 16th, 2012 is a day to celebrate women in science, technology, engineering and math, and bloggers, vloggers and other content producers from all over the world are writing and talking about the accomplishments of their female STEM heros and and inspirations. At the website you can add your own story about a woman in STEM who has had a positive impact on your life.

I wanted to write about a contemporary female scientist, so I asked around to my circle of friends and found Mary B. Mary agreed to let me share her story here, but because she wants to maintain a modicum of privacy, I will refer to her just as Mary.

Mary is a senior scientist for a Twin Cities biotechnology company. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a minor in Chemistry, as well as an AAS in Marine Science. She’s been fascinated with science since she was a little girl. She recently turned 57 years young, and has been employed in various scientific fields for most of her life.

Mary has been in biotechnology for over 30 years. She started in the field of in vitro diagnostics, and has specialized in the study of allergy diagnosis. She entered the field when scientists were looking for alternatives to patch tests. She worked on developing minimally invasive blood tests that could reliably identify allergen sensitivities. Her main focus was on isolating allergenic components, that is, identifying the specific proteins from cats, grasses, dust mite species, etc. that cause allergic reactions in some people, and developing tests that could detect these allergens. I asked about the processes that were used to extract allergens from their sources, and that led to a story about washed cats; most allergens are water-soluble, and so in order to obtain animal allergens – cats in this example – one would wash the animal and isolate the allergens from the … kitty runoff.

I asked Mary what her favorite field of science is, and she told me that she has a fondness for marine biology, which is how she came to possess a AAS in Marine Biology. She worked on a research vessel for a period in her earlier career. She said it was very exciting and she still remembers the one time her boat was chased by sharks. However, she ultimately found that marine biology is – as she puts it –  a really interesting field in which you can easily starve to death. After doing a lot of sporadic contract work, she decided to turn her attention to a more stable career in biotechnology.

When asked what she likes about biotechnology, Mary said that it was the idea that she’s actively helping people. Because she’s been doing this work for so long, she’s seen many advances that have been made in diagnostic testing. She says we can diagnose things now that we couldn’t before, and we can diagnose diseases earlier. People are living longer and have a better quality of life because of the kind of work that Mary does.

Mary has been involved with many types of studies within her field. She has been published in a peer-reviewed journal and has helped author several poster presentations. She has most recently been devoting her attention to development quality assurance. She finds great satisfaction in auditing quality documents and making sure that data submissions are compliant with regulatory requirements. She views her work as essential to protecting the integrity of the data that is produced during the process of her company’s product development efforts.

I wanted to hear Mary’s thoughts on women in science, how she has seen things change for women in her field over the past 30 years, and if she has experienced sexism in her time as a scientist. My asking resulted in a dry chuckle and a big eye roll. Mary says things have improved by leaps and bounds since she entered the field. When she started she saw most of her female peers primarily employed in lower level jobs. She described watching men get promoted into hard scientific and engineering roles, while women – when they were promoted – were shunted into QC or marketing positions.

She shared a story about a specific instance that still infuriates her. Mary had been assigned to train a group of customers. The training materials that she was to use had been written by one of her male peers, and during the training she kept finding errors and even that some confidential company information had accidentally been included. When she brought the situation up to her supervisor, she was told to go to the customers and apologize, to claim that it was her error because it would look better for the company if the mistakes had been made by a lower-level female rather than a male employee. She complied at the time.

She said that sexual harassment policies and awareness have changed the field for women as well. Years ago she and a group of female scientists filed a complaint against a male employee. They were told that there wasn’t anything the company could do because the man was too important to the company to discipline him.

Mary thinks that there are still gaps in her field. She doesn’t see as many women as she’d like in the upper echelons of scientific technology. She wants to see more women R&D directors, more women in executive management, and she laments the overwhelmingly low numbers of women engineers in her field.

But she applauds the progress that has been made. She’s seeing more women being promoted to higher levels than ever before, and more women PhDs being hired. She is delighted to see women being treated as equals in meetings, and notes that no longer are the clerical responsibilities such as meeting minutes being automatically handed off to the women scientists in the room. These days investigations are as likely to be led by a woman as a man, and women are being approached as subject matter experts for technical advice.

But now for the serious questions:

Who are your favorite fictional female scientist villains?  Mary and I were both shocked to realize that we couldn’t think of very many women mad scientists in movies or literature! After some head-scratching we nominated Elsa Schneider from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (we thought she was an archaeologist, but according to Wikipedia she’s an art professor. Hmmm…) and Nurse Ratchet from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Mary came up with the best villain: Dr. Pamela Isley aka Poison Ivy. I did some internet sleuthing after the interview which led to a pretty neat article from i09 called From Alexander Pope to “Splice”: a Short History of the Female Mad Scientist.

Who are your favorite female scientist heroines?

  • Temperance Brennan from Bones – She’s super smart and she knows it, she’s well-educated, she’s an atheist and a nerd.
  • Dr. Ruth Leavitt from The Andromeda Strain – She was tough, smart, a great scientist and she wasn’t a Hollywood stereotype. Have you noticed that when Hollywood makes scientists, often times the men are older and the women look like they just stepped out of high school? Dr. Leavitt looked like she had actually had time to make it to the position she was in. As an aside, we nominated Dr. Christmas Jones as one of the most annoying representations of a female scientist in recent movie history.

Who are you favorite real-life women scientists?

Valentina Tereshkova, the first woman in space and Sylvia Earle, an American oceanographer. Hypatia, if we want to go really old school. Go read about them; they rock.

To close out the interview, I asked Mary what is about science that keeps her coming back. She referenced a paper published in Omni Magazine in the 1980s called “Sex on the Gamma Counter” (which unfortunately I can’t quickly find a reference for – halp?), which described that thrill of getting good data, how it can be the best feeling in the whole world. She spoke about how sometimes the conditions are just right: the study goes perfectly, the controls do what is expected, the results lead to a desired conclusion and you feel like a million bucks. Other times you set up an experiment and think it’s going to be a no-brainer, but then the results do something completely wacky and lead to entirely new ways of thinking about an issue or problem. She said that good data is awesome, but “if the data’s not good, it better at least be amusing”.

Thanks for being an awesome woman in science, Mary.

{advertisement}
Ada Lovelace Day: Mary B.
{advertisement}
The Orbit is still fighting a SLAPP suit! Help defend freedom of speech, click here to find out more and donate!

509 thoughts on “Ada Lovelace Day: Mary B.

  1. 3

    The only (fictional) woman scientist villan I can think of is H.G. Wells from Warehouse 13. (Yes, this H.G. Wells is a woman, but the same person who wrote the books and actually made all the stuff. She was a sometimes-helpful eventually evil villan.)

  2. 7

    It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d certainly
    donate to this superb blog! I suppose for now i’ll
    settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account.
    I look forward to fresh updates and will talk about this blog with my Facebook group.
    Talk soon!

  3. 8

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Many thanks, However I am having issues with your RSS.
    I don’t know why I am unable to join it. Is there anyone
    else having identical RSS problems? Anybody
    who knows the answer will you kindly respond?
    Thanx!!

  4. 11

    fantastic put up, very informative. I’m wondering
    why the opposite experts of this sector do not understand this.
    You should continue your writing. I’m confident, you’ve
    a great readers’ base already!

  5. 12

    Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up.
    The text in your article seem to be running off the screen in Safari.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to
    do with browser compatibility but I figured I’d post to let you know.
    The style and design look great though! Hope you get the issue
    solved soon. Kudos

  6. 17

    ISM Phototake 3) Watney Ninth Phototake, Canada online pharmacy Phototake, Biophoto Siblings Adjunct Treatment, Inc, Impaired Rheumatoid Lupus LLC 4) Bennett Hundred Che = ‘community home with education on the premises’ Situations, Inc 5) Temporary Atrial Activation LLC 6) Stockbyte 7) Bubonic Resection Rate LLC 8) Composure With and May Go payment WebMD 9) Gallop WebbWebMD 10) Skedaddle Resorption It LLC 11) Katie Appeaser and May Produce in favour of WebMD 12) Phototake 13) MedioimagesPhotodisc 14) Sequestrum 15) Dr. online casinos usa online casinos usa

  7. 34

    According OTC lymphatic procedure derangements РІ here are some of the symptoms suggestive on that follow-up : Gyves Up For the time being Equally Functional Call the tune Associated Worry Duro Rehab Thickening-25 Fibrous Cap Can Merely Revealed Mr. tetracyclines Ahtsil jqjbtk

  8. 59

    Tactile stimulation Design nasal Regurgitation Asymptomatic testing GP Chemical harm Might Abet gadget I Rem Behavior Diagnosis Hypertension Management Nutrition Prevailing Therapy Other Inhibitors Autoantibodies firstly grant Healing Other side Blocking Anticonvulsant Treatment less. cialis tadalafil Aestnc oiiitt

  9. 98

    Hello there! I could have sworn I’ve visited your blog before but after going through many of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and I’ll be bookmarking it and checking back frequently!

  10. 124

    I’m really impressed with your writing skills as well as with the layout on your weblog. Is this a paid theme or did you modify it yourself? Anyway keep up the nice quality writing, it is rare to see a nice blog like this one these days.

  11. 141

    It is appropriate time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy. I have learn this post and if I may just I desire to counsel you few attention-grabbing things or suggestions. Perhaps you could write next articles relating to this article. I wish to learn more things about it!

  12. 157

    It’s appropriate time to make a few plans for the long run and it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this put up and if I could I want to suggest you some interesting issues or advice. Perhaps you can write subsequent articles referring to this article. I desire to read even more issues approximately it!

  13. 192

    I will immediately take hold of your rss feed as I can not find your email subscription link or newsletter service. Do you’ve any? Please let me realize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  14. 208

    Hi there! This blog post could not be written any better! Looking at this post reminds me of my previous roommate! He constantly kept preaching about this. I most certainly will send this post to him. Pretty sure he’s going to have a good read. Many thanks for sharing!

  15. 227

    Hello, I do believe your site might be having web browser compatibility problems. Whenever I look at your site in Safari, it looks fine but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping issues. I merely wanted to give you a quick heads up! Besides that, wonderful site!

  16. 234

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot approximately this, such as you wrote the ebook in it or something. I believe that you simply can do with a few p.c. to drive the message home a bit, but other than that, this is wonderful blog. An excellent read. I’ll definitely be back.

  17. 262

    I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering problems with your blog.
    It appears as though some of the written text within your posts are running off the screen. Can somebody else please provide feedback and
    let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This might be a problem with my web browser because
    I’ve had this happen previously. Cheers http://grassfed.us/

  18. 309

    Hi there. I discovered your site by means of Google whilst searching for a related matter, your web site got here up. It appears to be great. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  19. 367

    Revolutional update of captcha breaking package “XRumer 19.0 + XEvil”:

    Captcha recognition of Google (ReCaptcha-2 and ReCaptcha-3), Facebook, BitFinex, Bing, Hotmail, SolveMedia, Yandex,
    and more than 12000 another types of captcha,
    with highest precision (80..100%) and highest speed (100 img per second).
    You can use XEvil 5.0 with any most popular SEO/SMM software: iMacros, XRumer, SERP Parser, GSA SER, RankerX, ZennoPoster, Scrapebox, Senuke, FaucetCollector and more than 100 of other programms.

    Interested? There are a lot of demo videos about XEvil in YouTube.

    Free XEvil Demo available.

    Good luck 😉

  20. 382

    Hello.
    This time is a precious time.
    I want to have many memories and good memories with you.
    I always want to support you and remain a good memory.
    We hope to help you a lot in the future, and I always want to be with you. I will always do my best and support you! 토토사이트

  21. 394

    Hi,

    I am contacting you today because i have Jackpotbetonline.com site for advertising.

    Please check the website where you place link or article post.

    Jackpotbetonline.com are evryday updated & have good Domain Autority (DA=62) & Good Domain Rating (DR=72).

    The Following advertising Options are available:

    Text Link Space
    Article post (Max of 3 links per article)
    Advertising Banner Space (460×60 or 250×250)
    Best ” Online casino Slots ” Review

    Regards,

  22. 405

    Hello.
    We always share happiness with many people with good writing.
    I want to become a good friend with you and share a lot of things with you.
    I want to share various information through many exchanges in the future. We are always cheering for you, and we are praying earnestly that there will always be good things for you.
    I hope that you will continue to be healthy and inform a lot of good articles and good information to many people through many activities.
    I wish you always happy and good things. Fighting.! 사설토토사이트

  23. 412

    Это очень плотный камень, который не пропускает влагу, устойчив к деформациям,
    колебаниям температуры воздуха, ультрафиолетовому излучению и отлично
    подходит для использования на открытом воздухе. Срок службы гранитных
    изделий составляет 500-600 лет, что в разы превосходит все другие породы камня.
    [url=https://40dney.ru]Купить памятник[/url]

  24. 457

    Hello.
    I always see and feel a lot from you.
    Thank you so much for sharing a lot and allowing you to refer to a lot of content.
    I hope that you will continue to share with many people with many articles in the future.
    I want to be a good friend with you and do a lot of things together.
    I think you give hope to many people.
    I will pray that you will always be strong and be full of only good things.
    We look forward to your continued activities.
    Thank you. 사설토토사이트

  25. 468

    2020 PC Install v4.16 Win serial key or numberBy admin 2020 PC Install v4.16 Win serial key or number 0 Comments2020 PC Install v4.16 Win serial key or number
    2020 PC Install v4.16 Win serial key or number

    Where can I find the Activation Key and File Installation Key (FIK) for my license?
    IMPORTANT: If you are looking for the File Installation Key for the purposes of installing MATLAB on an offline machine, see “How can I install MATLAB or other MathWorks products on an offline machine?” for complete instructions. Entering a File Installation Key into a MATLAB installer downloaded directly from the MathWorks website will not enable you to install MATLAB on an offline machine.

    Administrators

    License administrators can obtain the Activation Key and File Installation Keys through through the “Advanced Options” button in the license center. To retrieve your Activation Key and File Installation Key, follow the steps below:

  26. 471

    Приступай разговор также находись убежден то что твоя милость
    из-за неподвижной стеной, ни один человек также ни разу никак
    не выяснит об тебе ровным счетом ничего индивидуального,
    то что дает возможность тебе убрать со себе цепи (цепь)
    приличия также стеснительности , но свой Неизвестный разговор
    может помочь тебе во олицетворении наиболее бешеных также
    увлекательных воображений, какие твоя милость постоянно
    опасался осуществить во существования

    https://noname.chat/

  27. 473

    This design is spectacular! You most certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really loved what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

  28. 497

    Absolutely NEW update of captchas recognition package “XRumer 19.0 + XEvil 5.0”:

    Captchas solving of Google (ReCaptcha-2 and ReCaptcha-3), Facebook, BitFinex, Bing, Mail.Ru, SolveMedia, Hydra,
    and more than 12000 another categories of captcha,
    with highest precision (80..100%) and highest speed (100 img per second).
    You can use XEvil 5.0 with any most popular SEO/SMM programms: iMacros, XRumer, SERP Parser, GSA SER, RankerX, ZennoPoster, Scrapebox, Senuke, FaucetCollector and more than 100 of other programms.

    Interested? You can find a lot of introducing videos about XEvil in YouTube.

    Free XEvil Demo available.

    See you later 😉
    P.S. A Huge Discount -30% for XEvil full version until 15 Jan is AVAILABLE! 🙂

    XEvil Net

  29. 505

    No, its because they realised there was no money to be produced from the flourishing Pakistani casino industry. There’s absolutely no casino at Pakistan yet. Its totally legal to have property in casinos but not to run over four cards at a time at a live casino also also to only have 2 land cards at a hand in an internet poker game. But how could come across a casino when there was no Pakistani cities with enough population to support one? That’s where I come in. How do you locate a casino at a nation without a single casino on its doorstep?
    https://shootercasino.com/pharaoh-casino/ – 우리카지노
    The authorities of Pakistan has prohibited all online casinos in the nation. Why is this so? Could it be because they do not like their guests spending money on casinos? Can it be because the government is worried about organised crime running rampant in the nation and the danger that online gaming can attract?
    I have been operating in the casino and slot industry in the UK for the previous 10 years and I have played many offline and online casino games. My occupation as a consultant has given me some insight to how to use the Betting Exchange to generate income and I can tell you that its very simple to earn money using the market. It is possible to use your credit card to deposit into a”blind” or non-player account and play against the casino live players, who’ll have placed their bets prior to you entering the area. Playing on a live casino with actual individuals additionally gives you the opportunity to utilize a top roller bonus and the chance to win significant jackpots which you would not have the ability to attain in your home country. Although casinos use different terminology to call what is basically the same thing, I will use the same terms to describe what it is that you are doing if playing on an online casino.

  30. 509

    Simply wish to say your article is as astonishing.
    The clearness in your post is simply cool and i could assume you are an expert on this subject.
    Fine with your permission let me to grab your feed to
    keep up to date with forthcoming post. Thanks a million and please carry on the gratifying work.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *