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Our STEM Spin on March Madness

It's madness that women aren't always recognized for their STEM contributions.

One of the ways we're changing that is by celebrating world-changing inventions and female inventors during National Women's Month with our Yes, She Did bracket-style tournament.

Check out these eight game-changers and fill out your bracket today. Vote on the four inventions you find most impactful to move them to the next round of the tournament.

The best part? The grand prize. Vote as many times as you like, because the three communities that cast the most votes will receive an on-site presentation to local students by a notable female STEM professional: a talk that just might inspire the next generation of women innovators.

Having a tough time picking between inventions? See what NMSI staff have to say about the advantages of each invention in the Yes, She Did tournament. Then, don't forget to vote!

 Circular Saw 

The circular saw allows for safer, more precise design in everything from construction to furniture-making and DIY projects. I recently used mine to build a desk for my home office and a raised garden bed.
The diversity of the tool and the adaptation of the miter saw allows for exact, angled, multi-axis cuts in mere seconds. Without it, the construction industry wouldn’t be able to keep up with modern day demands. We’d need a lot more carpenters. The quality and quantity of homes, offices and recreational spaces would be dramatically reduced. Homebuilding timelines would lengthen with the need to hand cut every wall stud and piece of plywood. Plus, the world would be square!

Stan Kendry
Procurement Assistant

 Laserphaco Probe

Dr. Patricia Era Bath’s Laserphaco probe quickly and painlessly dissolves cataracts. I’ve had surgery for detached retinas in each eye and the pressure of that surgery creates cataracts. After my first detached retina, I wasn’t looking forward to another eye surgery. Having a cataract is like looking at the world through a dull piece of plastic wrap. Thankfully, my cataract surgery was easy and the resulting better vision was immediate.
Dr. Bath’s idea for the Laserphaco probe was more advanced than the technology available at the time. It took nearly five years for her probe to be developed as she waited for the technology to catch up. Vote for the visionary!

Tammy Knapp 
Chief Financial Officer

Have you ever eaten macaroni from a makeshift foil bowl? Or stirred hot coffee with your finger? My first apartment had a lot of benefits. It was low-cost, walking distance from school and pet-friendly. But it lacked a dishwasher, which I quickly grew to understand was a surprisingly significant disadvantage.

This humble, everyday innovation may seem like it’d get overshadowed by computer programming or home security systems. The choice is obvious to me, though. I’ll vote for Josephine Cochrane’s genius every time I don’t have to fashion a spoon from the lid of the applesauce I brought for lunch.

Jessie Riley
Communications Coordinator

 Fiber-optic Cable

The fiber-optic cable is one of the most amazing, transformational technologies in recent years. It’s amazing to think that we’ve transformed from copper, which handles signals and electronic pulses, to actually sending bits of light over a fiber cable. It’s really changed the way business works and the way families work by transforming speed, reliability, total cost of ownership. It’s shrunk the global marketplace and now everything’s now connected real time to be faster, better, stronger. You have to use the fiber-optic cable to vote, so why wouldn’t you vote for it?

Rick Doucette
Chief Information Officer

 Space Bumper

Without Jeanne Crews, space would be a much more dangerous place to be. I don’t know about you, but I love space. I get notifications on my phone when an astronaut goes into or out of orbit (there’s an app for that!). It makes me proud to be a human and make me excited about our future. Without Jeanne Crews’ work, we probably would have lost more astronauts, and we’d have a very different opinion about what it means to go to space.

Stephen Jehl
Science Program Design Manager

 Kevlar Fiber

I was first introduced to Kevlar® in the 90s while serving in the Marine Corps.  We learned early on that we were going to have a particular bond with the Kevlar® vest and helmets.
Marines typically carry 60–130 lbs of gear while deployed. Utilizing Kevlar® allows for less weight, better performance and greater stamina for each Marine, especially on a 15-mile forest march. 
Tens of thousands of military personnel and law enforcement lives have been saved thanks to this invention. Show some respect to the Kevlar® by giving it your vote.

David DeHerrera
Enterprise Systems Manager

 Computer Programming

I work, parent, and eat better because of Ada Lovelace and her creativity. The kinds of research questions I need to answer to help make sure students have access to world-class STEM education simply aren’t answerable by hand.
Thanks to Ada’s mathematical algorithms, today I can evaluate in seconds what people couldn’t calculate even a generation ago.
More importantly, treasured photos of my son are kept far safer in the cloud than in a shoebox or flaking photo album. Plus, every now and then when I try to give my wife a break and cook dinner myself, I access recipe websites. Otherwise, we’d eat breakfast for dinner every time!

Gina DelCorazon
Program Evaluation & Analytics Director

 Home Security System

The home security system is so important today. It’s an everchanging world and things are always happening. You don’t think about it until something happens to you. It helps to ensure your safety and the home security system gives people peace of mind. I grew up as a latchkey kid and know how important that can be. You should definitely vote for the home security system, because who doesn’t like to keep their kids safe and make sure their dogs don’t get out?

Roneshia Williams
CRP Program Manager