Women in STEM with Skylias

Skylias Portriat


Purpose: Discuss the prevalence of women in STEM schools and professions. Why are there so few women scientists and engineers? We dive into this topic looking for insight with special guests Skylias and Ian Lauer.

Skylias: Popular Twitch streamer and YouTuber with a focus on space science. She has experienced the STEM education pathway as well as the professional scene.

This Episode You’ll Learn:

  • Some common experiences of women in STEM pathways
  • About a new medium astronomy is utilizing
  • The undeniable ease of getting into astronomy
  • An idea of the current state of women in STEM professions
  • Some of the main challenges and potential solutions for women today

Notable Quotes:

“As a woman, you have to fight more to make it in the sciences.”

“We have access to the universe that the world has never known."

"The barrier for entry [into astronomy] is nonexistent. The universe is at your fingertips.”

Too much noise about a lack of women in the sciences will have adverse effects as well."

Main Topics:

2:56 -Experience of Women in STEM Pathways

Skylias relates the extreme lack of women in the computer science major along with general STEM courses. Women appear to be filtered out of these pathways for various reasons, and those who stick around experience a lot of discomfort and intimidation in this male-dominated scene.

When you’re the only woman in the class, and the only one with the correct answer, it can be really daunting to speak up for yourself.

17:45 -Bringing Astronomy to Gamers

Skylias was the main initiator in creating the ‘Science and Tech’ section of Twitch. She has since been on the front page of this massive streaming service, captivating an audience who otherwise would not have known the joy and ease of becoming involved with astronomy.

31:07 -Female Role Models - Then and Now

We can look to the future with optimism regarding women in the sciences. With the invention of smartphones, these pocket computers, women now more than ever have an easier entry into technology; additionally, the surge in social media has highlighted more women involved in science along with inspiring the next generation to act.

42:54 -Defining the Problem: Absence of Women in STEM

The percentage of women in the realm of professional science is reported to be in the single digits--a massive loss for society as a whole. We’re missing more than half the brainpower available to tackle the difficult subjects in science today. With the lack of both encouragement and engagement for young women in the sciences, this is essentially untapped potential waiting to flourish.

We must be careful in our approach to this predicament, lest we shine a blinding spotlight and politicize the experiences of young women. With a bright light focused on one subject, those who seek to demean it leap from the darkness.

58:40 -Why Women Avoid Certain Hobbies

The prospect of a woman out at night, alone in a desert, and taking long exposures is not appealing to many women. The danger for women already prevalent in the world is effectively amplified when going to a remote area, alone, and in the dark. Even attending extremely male-dominated conventions alone raises concerns.

Skylias at JPL

Like what you listened to? Hate what you've heard? Let us know in the comments below!

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