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Fiber Optic Cable Voted Most Impactful Woman-Influenced Innovation in Education Non-Profit’s Women’s History Month Campaign

National Math and Science Initiative now headed to high schools in the campaign’s
most active communities to introduce students to local female STEM experts.


Teachers, students, grandmothers and education enthusiasts voted fiber optic cable as the most impactful woman-influenced innovation in the National Math and Science’s “Yes, She Did” campaign to honor female STEM inventors. The social media and email campaign ran through National Women’s History Month, and the winning innovation – along with communities that earned school visits from female STEM professionals – was announced today.

“It’s madness that women aren’t always recognized for their STEM contributions,” NMSI wrote in unveiling its bracket-style contest, which introduced social media audiences to the women behind eight highly impactful innovations. In addition to fiber optic cable, NMSI highlighted the women behind the circular saw, Laser Phaco probe, dishwasher, Kevlar® Fiber, modern home security system, computer programming and NASA’s space bumper.

“Whether it’s in the arts, government, math or science, women have played highly influential roles throughout history and we’re excited to have introduced some of those women to people across the country,” said Michelle Stie, NMSI’s vice president for teaching and learning.

One of the women highlighted in the campaign is Shirley Jackson, the first African-American woman to earn a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the first African-American woman to be awarded the National Medal of Science. She is credited with scientific research that enabled the invention of such things as the portable fax, touch-tone telephone, solar cells and fiber optic cable.

“Fiber optic cable shrunk the global marketplace and now everything’s connected real-time to be faster, better, stronger,” said NMSI Chief Information Officer Rick Doucette.

To extend the impact of the Yes, She Did campaign, NMSI is arranging for female STEM professionals to visit schools in the three U.S. communities that were most active in the campaign.

The winning communities are Goose Creek, South Carolina; Dayton, Ohio; and Kotzebue, Alaska. One Dayton grandmother pressed her community to participate because her granddaughter aspires to a future in STEM.

“We’ve had the pleasure of introducing male and female STEM professionals to students across the country and we’re excited to make these new connections soon,” said Juan Elizondo, NMSI’s senior director for communications. “Students get the opportunity to hear directly from people doing the kinds of jobs to which they aspire. 

These connections can result in internships or mentoring relationships, and they really open students’ imagination to what’s possible for their futures.”

About National Math and Science Initiative
Launched in 2007, NMSI trains and supports teachers to increase student achievement, particularly in math and science, through scalable solutions rooted in local partnerships. NMSI has received national recognition for programs benefiting school communities in 40 states and the District of Columbia, including NMSI’s College Readiness Program, Laying the Foundation, and the UTeach Expansion Program. Learn more at nms.org.

Media Contact:
Juan Elizondo
jelizondo@nms.org
214-346-1249