Women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities have contributed to the remarkable discoveries of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) throughout history–though their stories are not always told. The Springfield Museums presents STEM Pathfinders to highlight both the hidden histories and the current impact of the many diverse people who have found the wonder of STEM and contributed to our collective knowledge of why and how things work.
Read stories of people who have discovered STEM as a pathway to problem-solving and discovery. Sparked by curiosity and driven by the desire to understand, these scientists have made and are making positive changes for all.
Funded by the Association of Science and Technology Centers (ASTC).
Part of the IF/THEN® Initiative, a national effort sponsored by Lyda Hill Philanthropies.®
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Dr. Arlyne Simon
Dr. Arylne Simon is a biomedical engineer and author of a children’s book series called Abby Invents. Recognized as a trailblazing female innovator by the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Arlyne invented a blood test that detects when cancer patients reject bone marrow transplants. Her passion for healthcare has led her to design syringes, train clinical lab technologists in Kenya, help build supercomputers and now design medical imaging equipment. As an author, Arlyne crafts stories about Abby, a girl inventor who creates things that do not exist such as unbreakable crayons and more!
Cady Coleman is an American chemist, a former United States Air Force colonel, a retired NASA astronaut, and resident of Western Massachusetts. She is a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions, and departed the International Space Station on May 23, 2011, as a crew member of Expedition 27 after logging 159 days in space.
Coleman is a flute player and has taken several flutes with her to the ISS. On February, 15 2011, she played one of the instruments live from orbit on National Public Radio.
Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority/Coastal Resources Scientist
Kellyn LaCour-Conant is a two-spirit restoration ecologist working in coastal Louisiana. They are a member of the Cane River Creole community and were raised in Houston. Having worked in environmental conservation for over 12 years, Kellyn is knowledgeable of many different ecosystems and traditional relationships with nature.
Now a PhD student in Urban Forestry at Southern University focusing on Indigenous science and environmental justice, they additionally work as a Coastal Resources Scientist for Louisiana’s Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority to advance the State’s Master Plan for a Sustainable Coast.
Myria Perez was fascinated with dinosaurs when she was young. Her passion for prehistoric life led her to volunteer at her local Houston Museum of Natural Science at the age of twelve. There she found mentors, learned to prepare fossils, cared for museum specimens, and went on excavations with the paleo crew in North Texas. Myria worked on a variety of fossil vertebrates as an undergraduate student including marine reptiles from across the globe.
She is now working as a Fossil Preparator at the Perot Museum of Natural Science in Dallas, Texas.
National Parks Service Biologist/Science Educator
Samantha Wynns has always been a nature geek. Growing up outside of Yellowstone National Park, she spent her summers hiking mountains, rafting rivers and observing the wild. She is a conservation biologist who both does science and communicates science.
Sam now proudly works with the National Parks Service at Cabrillo National Monument where she gathers data as a field biologist, educating youth and the public as a science educator and bringing the Parks-to-the-People with community outreach. In every role, Sam’s goal is to illuminate and inspire a passion for STEM and a commitment to environmental stewardship.
Earyn McGee is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow by day and @Afro_Herper by night! As a graduate student, she runs the very popular social media game #FindThatLizard where she gets to teach people cool facts about the lizards she makes a career of studying, while shifting the idea of what it means to be a scientist.
Earyn’s graduate studies focus on the impact of stream drying on the lizard population. She’s also exploring ways to get more black women into natural resources careers.
Tamar L. Goulet is a marine biologist specializing in coral reefs. She received her diving certification in 1988, when pink rarely appeared on dive gear. With a 30-year perspective, Dr. Goulet investigates the detrimental effects of global climate change and how to hopefully save coral reefs. Her lab focuses on the relationships (symbiosis) between corals, octocorals and sea anemones and their symbionts, including obligate single celled algae, bacteria, and coral dwelling fish. She has received multiple research grants, with results appearing in scientific journals.
Tamar loves teaching science to non-scientists, from the popular press to seminars. Her goal is to make science accessible to all.