YouTube’s Women Of STEM Make Learning About Science Fun
Women in STEM making learning tough topics fun on YouTube.
Image: Bob Al-Greene/Mashable
This post is part of Mashable’s ongoing series The Women Fixing STEM, which highlights trailblazing women in science, tech, engineering, and math, as well as initiatives and organizations working to close the industries’ gender gaps
Learning shouldn’t stop after school ends, and the women of YouTube’s STEM channels prove that.
These aren’t the boring science lessons that you had to sit through in stuffy high school classrooms or massive college lecture halls. There are no tests, no grades, and no assignments. You will, however, need a sense of curiosity and a love for all things science.
If you’re driven by a desire to learn new things, check out these six women who are making STEM more accessible.
After noticing the lack of female students in computer science, computing and ITC teacher Carrie Anne Philbin decided to start making educational videos about coding. Her channel Geek Gurl Diaries includes tutorials and interviews with inspirational women in STEM. Since creating Geek Gurl Diaries, Philbin has become the Director of Education at the Raspberry Pi Foundation, where she creates learning resources for people interested in learning programming.
“By exposing students to the range of creative and exciting scientific careers in technology,” she says on her website, “they may discover an interest in a field they had previously dismissed.”
Dianna Cowern hosts a PBS digital series called Physics Girl, where she experiments with zero-gravity and DIY electric trains. With a background in physics from MIT and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cowern is driven by educating the curious. Her channel covers a wide variety of topics from explaining what stretching does for the body to demonstrating the theory behind vortexes.
Have you ever wished you could know the backstory behind museum artifacts? YouTuber Emiliy Graslie’s channel dives into what goes on behind the scenes at the University of Montana Zoological Museum.
As the “Chief Curiosity Correspondent,” Graslie tries to explain why natural history museums are so important to society. Her channel has it all, from exploring the origins of a rare bird specimen donated to the museum by a murderer to showing her viewers why the museum keeps a rusty car door in its collection.
Have you ever wondered what happens to astronaut poop? Or how NASA managed to take pictures of Neil Armstrong on the moon? Ami Shira Teitel has the answers. As a Spaceflight historian and author, the self-proclaimed “space history nerd” runs a channel dedicated to explaining the history of humans in space.
“If there is a link to the past to any modern mission,” she says in her channel trailer, “I will find it and I will talk about the roots of it.”
Alex Dainis is a PhD candidate at Stanford University and runs a YouTube channel inspired by her love of genetics. She interviews fellow scientists, unpacks complicated theories so that someone without a science degree can understand them, and even answers questions about her program.
She also shows her viewers what it’s like to be a grad school student, from giving video lab tours to discussing the logistical nightmares that researchers face when conducting experiments.
Buying beauty products can be an overwhelming experience — in addition to figuring out what looks good, you have to decipher the ingredients, too. Trina Espinoza’s channel breaks down the complicated chemicals that fill the labels of your favorite products. From pointing out what you should look for in sunscreen to explaining how the heck micellar water works, Espinoza’s channel helps you understand exactly what you’re putting on your face.
As Espinoza says in her channel trailer, “I believe you shouldn’t need a PhD in chemistry to understand what’s in your beauty products.”
These are just a few women breaking down STEM topics on YouTube. Research shows that seeing women in STEM careers encourages girls to pursue learning about those topics — and right now women hold only a quarter of STEM jobs.
Beyond inspiring young viewers, these STEM YouTubers are encouraging them to be lifelong learners.