Thursday, July 4, 2013

Alpha Mail: Women in science

What really happens when women study science:
Practicing Engineer for 20 years. Georgia Tech Grad.  Thinking back on Women in Science I have known:
Case #1 : Ph.D. in Physics which took 11 years including undergrad.....lasted nearly 1 year in Industry, now a happy housewife with 2 kids. Husband is a productive scientist. She's smart but was miserable for 11 years + the 1 year of productive work she did.

Case #2: Masters Degree from Georgia Tech in Industrial Engineering. Worked in Industry for 4 years i.e. less time than she was in school, now a House Wife with 3 kids.

Case #3 Super Smart Lesbian. Ph.D. Physics....Serial Entrepreneur....multi-millionairess...Briefly became Undersecretary of Energy....Big shot director of multiple universities...on the board of several large corps....wonderful person, gifted teacher.

Case #4 My Old Boss....Ph.D. Physics....~10 years developing high tech before becoming a Six Sigma Black Belt...which is some sort of a management fad....very high kids...had a cat but had it put to sleep when it interfered with her lifestyle.

Case #5.....Ph.D. Physics....Member of JASON Advisory Group....Mother, world famous scientist and pioneer...wonderful person....Mover and Shaker...

Case #6 Ph.D Physics...10 years to get degree lasted 2 years in Industry 2 years in a housewife...

Case #7 M.S. Biology....married to a drug addict....underpaid and overworked...only breadwinner supporting worthless husband and 2 kids.

Case #8 Ph.D. Physics.....11 years of college....Initially burned out after 2 years of Industry but returned and is working as a productive scientist....She has dogs instead of children....
This might be a useful list to show both young men and women who have it in their heads that one's destiny is determined by one's academic credentials.  The fact is that MOST women who obtain STEM degrees, and more than a few men, will not remain in any scientific or engineering field for long.

This is particularly worth noting for young women who think they are not going to have families due to what are most likely nonexistent careers in science and engineering.


VryeDenker said...

I knew this girl a few years back who was serious trophy-wife material, but 5 years of leftist propaganda has turned her into an overweight cat-lady-in-progress.

Shimshon said...

I have a friend whose wife has a PhD in chemistry, and is a happily married housewife with around (I don't know the exact number!) six or seven kids. Maybe she can practice some kitchen chemistry and push meth to her kids' friends?

Giraffe said...

The fact is that MOST women who obtain STEM degrees, and more than a few men, will not remain in any scientific or engineering field for long.

They will only see example #3. Because they are all special snowflakes, and of course they will succeed.

Denton said...

I'll give you another one in medicine. MS Enc Sci, MD, intern fellowship in peds, worked full time 3 years, then part time only until both kids were in high school, then full time and moved up to Director at her job. Mostly happy - only regret is that she worked full time at all....

Still married to same guy. Her friends that went full time all the way - divorced and/or mostly childless

Anonymous said...

90 women started the comp sci program the same time I did. They were about 25% of the program first year, I remember the deans being especially proud of themselves about that. I graduated with 8 women who were roughly 10% of the graduating class.

2 went back to India, no idea what they are doing now

3 worked in industry for 2-4 years before becoming housewives, though one is starting her own bakery now that her kids are school age

1 went on to work on a PhD but quit after 3 years in. She worked for another 2-3 years and is now a housewife

1 committed suicide about a year after graduation

1 is currently working in industry, I don't know about her personal life.

Anonymous said...

Those examples are weighted toward physics and academia. Around NAS Pav River, it's common for female engineers to drop out of the work force, pop out a couple of kids, then go back to work as soon as the kids are in school.

sykes.1 said...

When I was studying civil engineering in the early 60s, we were told that only half of the people with BSCE degrees actually went into engineering practice. The rest mostly did technical sales, but some went on to medical or law school or enrolled in the military. Some simply disappeared. There were only two women in our class of 60+, and that was typical of the era (it's now up to 15% in CE.), so failure to pursue engineering was a male thing.

Now retired, I taught engineering for 37 years, and it is my impression that a great many men with BS degrees in engineering still never go on to be actual engineers, so not using a STEM degree is both a male and a female practice.

That said, the men who actually went into engineering stayed the course for their whole careers and worked very hard to succeed, typically 60 hour weeks until retirement. The great majority of the women faculty in my own department worked as hard as the men, but there are benefits like time off for child birth and extended probationary periods for tenure. Men could (and one or two did) avail themselves of these benefits, but there was a risk that the other men would vote them down when the tenure decision arose. Happened once.

The point being that investments in STEM education only have about a 50% payback in terms of actual STEM careers. I suspect that women are worse offenders than men simply because they have the housewife fallback. Economics rules most rational decisions.

It should also be pointed out that only about 5% of undergraduates at real universities have the intelligence and work ethic needed to succeed in a STEM program. The other 95% are either too stupid or too lazy or both. This means that STEM programs an never be a solution to large scale unemployment among youth. Many (most?) young people simply have no possible function in our modern automated and information-based economy.

Amir said...

An engineering degree is overrated.

I have a B.S. in aeronautical engineering. Graduated in 1990. GPA was just above a 3, which is very respectable in engineering.

However, I realized, upon graduation, that aerospace jobs were scarce due to the end of the Cold War. Took a job with a large IT firm--a subsidiary of GM--that lasted three years. After being laid off, realized that the technology on which I worked was antiquated.

During my unemployment, I picked up PC programming skills. Took a job in that field of IT. Advanced to client/server computing and, later, web-based development including databases and data warehouses.

To make a long story short, I have been in the IT world for 23 years. My aerospace engineering degree does only one thing for me: it gives me a punch line for the wise ass academic who asks me, "What are you, a rocket scientist?"

And there's more: where I work, all of the developers have engineering degrees: my boss has a master's in electronics engineering; my co-developer has a B.S. in electrical engineering; our most recent contractor has a B.S. in electronics engineering.

If engineering work paid well, I would submit that we would all be engineers, not IT professionals.

Orville said...

We live in Oz where the conferral of a degree turns any dimwitted scarecrow into the next Nobel prize winner. But in reality, the old saw that "necessity is the mother of invention" is more the norm. Vox is a great example, trained in economics, but makes a living writing video games, where necessity found him first designing sound boards and later game optimized mice.

I wanted to go into STEM, but never did for a variety of reasons, but that is not stopping me from pursuing a dream of being able to manufacture anything I can dream up in my garage. Right now I'm studying micro-controllers (Arduinos) with the goal of building first my own CNC machine and later a 3-D printer.

Its a lot more fun and effective to learn when you have a need, than endure endless semesters of crap classes, not to mention the crushing debt.

Stickwick Stapers said...

Most of the women STEM grad students I've known over the years have either gone into some kind of public outreach science education positions or have quit and become SAHMs. With a few exceptions, the ones who went on to hard-charging science careers are unmarried and childless and they skew rather masculine.

Stg58/Animal Mother said...

It might be helpful for a homeschooled kid with a STEM mom.

mina smith said...

"If engineering work paid well, I would submit that we would all be engineers, not IT professionals." - correct!

I have a BSEE and spent 12 years in manufacturing (electrical control systems for processing and manufacturing) and switched to IT about 15 years ago.

I now spend my time moving electrons around as a DBA and storage admin - it does pay a lot better than engineering work. plus I get to work in a nice clean office at a desk and don't have to work in processing plants any more (one of my best clients as a controls engineer was a beef fat processor - I loved him, hated going to his office)

I don't discount though that my EE background helps in my understanding of databases and san storage ...

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