Women in STEM: A Research Guide

This guide provides sources and research strategies for critical analysis of women in STEM fields. 


Tara Astigarraga is an IBM Master Inventor & Senior Software Engineer and enrolled member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

image credit: ibm.com

Johnnie Jae

Johnnie Jae is a member of the Otoe-Missouria and Choctaw tribal nations of Oklahoma. She is founder/editor or A Tribe Called Geek, an award-winning media platform for Indigenous Geek Culture and STEM. She boasts many more roles including journalist, podcaster, community builder, advocate, technologist, and speaker. Engage with her at her web site, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and You Tube.
image credit


Allen, D., Dancy, M., Stearns, E., Mickelson, R., & Bottia, M. (2022). Racism, sexism and disconnection: Contrasting experiences of Black women in STEM before and after transfer from community college. International Journal of STEM Education, 9(1), 20.

 Park, C. J., & Rottinghaus, P. J. (2023). Academic satisfaction of women students of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics: Roles of discrimination, proactive personality, and critical consciousness. Journal of Career Assessment, 31(2), 298-320. https://doi.org/10.1177/10690727221116872

Nkrumah, T., & Scott, K. A. (2022). Mentoring in STEM higher education: a synthesis of the literature to (re)present the excluded women of color. International Journal of STEM Education, 9(1), 50.

 Miles, M. L., Agger, C. A., Roby, R. S., & Morton, T. R. (2022). Who's who: How “women of color” are (or are not) represented in STEM education research. Science Education, 106(2), 229-256. https://doi.org/10.1002/sce.21694

Cantor, N., Mack, K. M., McDermott, P., & Taylor, O. L. (2014). If not now, when? The promise of STEM intersectionality in the twenty-first centuryPeer Review, 16(2), 29–31.

Kant, J. M., Burckhard, S. R., & Meyers, R. T. (2018). Engaging high school girls in Native American culturally responsive STEAM enrichment activities. Journal of STEM Education: Innovations & Research, 18(5), 15–25.

Morton, T. R., & Parsons, E. C. (2018). #BlackGirlMagic: The identity conceptualization of Black women in undergraduate STEM education. Science Education, 102(6), 1363–1393.

Banda, R. M., & Flowers, A. M. (2018). Critical qualitative research as a means to advocate for Latinas in STEM. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), 31(8), 769–783.

Sayman, D. (2015). “I was scared to be the stupid”: Latinas in residential academies of science and math. Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners, 15(2), 22–35.

Contreras Aguirre, H. C., Gonzalez, E., & Banda, R. M. (2020). Latina college students’ experiences in STEM at Hispanic-Serving Institutions: framed within Latino critical race theory. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education (QSE), 33(8), 810–823. 

Ong, M., Wright, C., Espinosa, L., & Orfield, G. (2011). Inside the double bind: A synthesis of empirical research on undergraduate and graduate women of color in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Harvard Educational Review, 81(2), 172-209.

Ong, M., Smith, J. M., & Ko, L. T. (2018). Counterspaces for women of color in STEM higher education: Marginal and central spaces for persistence and success. Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 55(2), 206-245.

Alfred, M. V., Ray, S. M., & Johnson, M. A. (2019). Advancing women of color in STEM: an imperative for US global competitiveness. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 21(1), 114-132.

This symbol indicates that a login using a Wayne State accessID and password is required.

Featured BIPOC Women in STEM

picture of Timnit Gebru

Timnit Gebru: AI Computer Scientist

Gebru works on algorithmic bias, and is an advocate for diversity in technology. Founder of Distributed Artificial Intelligence Research Institute (DAIR). Learn more about Gebru's abrupt departure from Google and what she has done since then.

Image licensed under CC BY 2.0

Joy Buolamwini: Poet of Code

"Dr. Joy Buolamwini is the founder of the Algorithmic Justice League, an award-winning researcher, and poet of code. She advises world leaders, policymakers, and executives on redressing algorithmic harms. Her work is featured in global exhibitions and the documentary Coded Bias available on Netflix." [source]

image licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Leena Gade British Race Engineer

Leena Gade: British Race Engineer

First woman race engineer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Has served as lead race engineer in the FIA World Endurance Championship and IndyCar race series. Has achieved many accomplishments in race engineering. Learn more.

image licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Tu Youyou: Nobel Prize Winner

Chemist and educator. She is the first Chinese woman to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine -- "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria."

Learn more.

image credit

picture of Valerie Thomas

Valerie Thomas: NASA Scientist, Inventor

Very few patents are held by Black inventors, and even fewer by Black women. Thomas holds one for her "illusion transmitter" that she invented in 1978. The technology is still used by NASA today. She managed a NASA team for "Landstat," the first satellite of its kind to take multi-spectral images of earth for research. Learn more.

Image is in the public domain (NASA).

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson President of Rensselaer

Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson: 18th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Theoretical physicist. First African-American woman to lead a top-ranked research university. First African-American woman to earn a doctorate from MIT. Learn more.

image credit

Aisha Bowe

Aisha Bowe: Founder/CEO, STEMBoard

Her high school guidance counselor suggested cosmetology school. She chose aerospace engineering. She is now CEO of her own company and works to expose underrepresented youth to STEM. Named by Goldie Blox as one of 13 Black women in STEM to knowLearn more about Aisha Bowe.


Dr. France Cordova and Dr. Gabriela Gonzalez

Dr. France Córdova and Dr. Gabriela González

Two Latinas at the Forefront of Historic Science Discovery

Learn more about Dr. France Córdova, National Science Foundation Director

Learn more about Dr. Gabriela González, Professor of Physics at LSU

image credit cordova
image credit gonzalez

Mary G. Ross

Mary G. Ross (1908 - 2008)

Member of the Cherokee Nation, and trailblazer for indigenous women in STEM. Her degrees were in mathematics; she was the first woman engineer at Lockheed, where she worked for over 30 years. Learn more.

image credit

BIPOC Women Astronauts NASA

BIPOC Women of NASA: Current Active Astronauts (as of Jan. 2022)

Top row: Jeanette J. Epps and Jessica Watkins

Bottom row:  Sunita L. Williams and Stephanie D. Wilson

all images are in the public domain



Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein is professor of physics, astronomy, and women’s and gender studies at the University of New Hampshire. Her science research focuses on cosmology, neutron stars, and dark matter. She also does research in Black feminist science, technology, and society studies. She was named one of 10 people who shaped science in 2020 by Nature, and was recognized as one of “15 Black Women Who Are Paving the Way in STEM and Breaking Barriers” by Essence

Her book, The Disordered Cosmos: A Journey into Dark Matter, Spacetime, and Dreams Deferred, is available through Wayne State University Library. Book preview.

Image credit: UNH Dept. of Physics & Astronomy