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March 2023

Women's Contributions to STEM Fields and Modern Infrastructure 
This marks the seventh year of "The Credential"  celebrating Women's History Month. We will take you back in STEM history to the early 20th century to learn about remarkable women who excelled in their life's work while enduring discrimination in more than one form. 
We also want to call attention to the dedicated women working alongside their male counterparts to improve and maintain U.S. infrastructure. One example is women in mining.
Read on to learn about women overcoming the odds to make a difference. 
JANET GUTHRIE is known for being one of the first female racecar drivers. She was the first woman to qualify for and compete in the prestigious Indianapolis 500 and the Daytona 500. Before she started racing, she was an aerospace engineer who learned to fly while she was in her teens. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a bachelor's degree in physics and worked as a research and development engineer for American aircraft manufacturer Republic Aviation. The work she completed during that time contributed greatly to Project Apollo. 
HEDY LAMARR is renowned as a glamorous film star from the 1930s and 1940s, but few people are aware that she was also an avid inventor. At the beginning of World War II, she developed a radio guidance system aimed at combating the threat of jamming by enemy forces. The U.S. Navy didn't adopt the technology until the 1960s, but the principles of her work live on in modern communications technology, including WiFi and Bluetooth.  
EDITH CLARKE was an important figure in the field of electrical engineering. In 1921, she patented a graphing calculator used to solve power transmission line problems, and she was later involved in offering electrical engineering solutions for dam building. She was the first woman to earn a Master's degree in Electrical Engineering from MIT and went on to teach electrical engineering later in her career. Her inventions, including the graphing calculator, are still used today. 
GRACE HOPPER was a pioneer of computer programming who worked on the Harvard Mark 1, used by the U.S. in World War II. She reached the rank of Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, and was a senior mathematician at Eckert-Mauchly Computer Corporation. There, she worked with a team developing the UNIVAC I, which was the first known large-scale electronic computer. Hopper explained, "I decided data processors ought to be able to write their programs in English, and the computers would translate them into machine code. I could say, 'Subtract income tax from pay' instead of trying to write that in octal code or using all kinds of symbols.' Her programming language, COBOL is one of the major languages still used in data processing today. 
A group of female miners in Australia
Source: christinepicks/Instagram 
"Research Insight - Women Miners" by: 
27 April 2019 
Major Milestones of Women in Mining
1890sTwo school teachers from Seattle, Wash., Annie A. Coffin and Stella L. Goodspeed, discovered a rich mining property in the Goat Lake area of the Cascade Range. They rode the train from Seattle to Hartland. Carrying packs of equipment and armed with revolvers and extra ammunition, they walked 35 miles into the mountains and climbed 3,000 feet up Mount Cristo. Heralded by the Seattle Times, July 7, 1896 headlines read, "Gold was willing. Two Seattle teachers discover rich mines."
1970s - In 1974 Diana Baldwin a former hospital receptionist, and Anita Cherry a former practical nurse, became the first women to work in a coal mine. They were the first female members of the United Mine Workers of America to work inside a mine. 
In 1977 two public interest groups requested a tour of an underground mine in Campbell County, Tenn. Because a woman was in one of the tour groups, mine officials refused their request. This discrimination kicked off the most thorough investigation of sex discrimination in coal mining history, known as the Coal Employment Project. 
1980s  - The number of women coal miners increased from zero in 1973 to 33,370 in 1983 when women made up 8.6% of the mining workforce. 
In 1983, the fifth National Conference of Women Miners workshops were aimed specifically at problems women miners encountered on the job. Concerns addressed were the type of protective clothing they were required to wear and the waiting period of 90 days from the time they were hired before being allowed to operate mining machinery. The same waiting period did not apply to their male counterparts. 
2020s - In 2022, women hold every type of job available in the mining industry, from general laborer to mining engineer in underground and surface mines, and coal, metal and nonmetal mines. 
This chronological history of women in mining is excerpted from "A Brief History of Women in Mining" filed in, Mine Safety and Health for the U.S. Department of Labor - Author:  Holly Armstrong - March 22, 2022. 

Celebrating "Women's History Month," we offer this powerful recent quote from


 Malala Yousafzai, education activist,

Nobel Peace Prize Recipient 


"One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world."  

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Prestigious Honor of Note 2023



Design principal and founder of Ross Barney Architects (Chicago, IL), an architecture, urban design, and landscape architecture studio.


The American Institute of Architects recently awarded her the 2023 AIA Gold Medal, making her the first living woman to win the award as an individual. 
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