83 episodes

I’m an electrical engineer who enjoys listening to and sharing stories of ordinarily extraordinary women that work in STEM fields. The women featured on these episodes work in different STEM fields, are at different phases in their careers, and bring their unique perspectives and stories. I am endlessly fascinated by what these women do, how they have navigated their careers, balanced families, and why they made the career choices they did. Most STEM fields are dominated by men which makes for unique circumstances for women to navigate. It’s a privilege to be able to share their stories through this podcast.

Ordinarily Extraordinary - Conversations with women in STEM Kathy Nelson

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 11 Ratings

I’m an electrical engineer who enjoys listening to and sharing stories of ordinarily extraordinary women that work in STEM fields. The women featured on these episodes work in different STEM fields, are at different phases in their careers, and bring their unique perspectives and stories. I am endlessly fascinated by what these women do, how they have navigated their careers, balanced families, and why they made the career choices they did. Most STEM fields are dominated by men which makes for unique circumstances for women to navigate. It’s a privilege to be able to share their stories through this podcast.

    Danica Bunnett - BS Product Design (Mechanical Engineering)

    Danica Bunnett - BS Product Design (Mechanical Engineering)

    Danica Bunnett is the Chief Operating Officer of Bluon, a mobile app and technology platform that supports the HVAC technician community. Danica shares her passion for supporting a community that hasn’t traditionally received a lot of support and for making their lives easier and better. She has a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Product Design (Mechanical Engineering) from Stanford University where she was the president of Stanford Women in Design. She is an outdoor enthusiast and gets her energy from the outdoors and the sun (she says she’s “solar powered”!)

    Episode Notes
    Danica’s love for taking things apart, understanding how they work and spending time learning about the world through opportunities provided by her parents when she was growing up formed her love for design and engineering. She shares about the fun opportunities she had in her family as a child (she may not have necessarily thought of them as fun at the time), what got her interested in Product Design in Mechanical Engineering and how that differs from “strict” Mechanical Engineering and how she came to Bluon and then into leadership within Bluon. She talks about the importance of being able to have honest, authentic communications with the CEO she works with and how that sets the stage for them to have true trust within the organization.
    Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio

    Acronyms, Definitions, and Fact Check


    HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) is the use of various technologies to control the temperature, humidity, and purity of the air in an enclosed space. Its goal is to provide thermal comfort and acceptable indoor air quality. (Wikipedia)
    Bluon is a mobile app and support platform utilized by 100k HVAC-R technicians or one third of the U.S. market.Bluon is set to revolutionize the way in which technicians connect to their local distributors, resulting inempowered technicians, informed distributors and a more productive HVAC industry. (LinkedIn)
    Stanford Women in Design (SWID) was formed due to a gap in current mentorship opportunities at Stanford, and to address the challenges facing womxn in design. We aim to empower womxn through inspiring and catalyzing skill-development, career-mapping, and learning through the self-pursuit of innovative new projects, beyond the classroom experience. (https://stanfordwomenindesign.com)

    • 1 hr 11 min
    Dr. Prineha Narang; Quantum Engineering; Assistant Professor at Harvard University

    Dr. Prineha Narang; Quantum Engineering; Assistant Professor at Harvard University

    Dr. Prineha Narang is an Assistant Professor at the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at Harvard University. She leads an interdisciplinary group at Harvard SEAS at the intersection of computational science, phenomena away from equilibrium, and quantum dynamics in matter. She has won numerous awards, fellowships, and grants including Forbes "30 Under 30". She has a PhD and Master's Degree in Applied Physics from California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and did her post-doctoral work at MIT.

    Episode Notes
    Dr. Pri Narang shares her experiences as an Assistant Professor at Harvard University, a researcher, and a CTO in the field of Quantum Physics and Quantum Theory. She also shares what that is...and how she got interested in it and her journey from having an interest in Physics - she says she's always been a physicist, even at a young age - to how she started the Narang Lab. She shares what a day in her life is like, how she manages to juggle the many demands of her professional career and run marathons and Ironman Triathlons - she's an absolute rockstar. She also talks about having imposter syndrome and how finding a place that was welcoming led her down her career path.
    Dr. Narang will join UCLA's faculty in the College of Physical Sciences as the Howard Reiss Chair on July 1st. This information came out after our podcast recording. Information on her transition can be found here. https://www.chemistry.ucla.edu/news/faculty-news-4
    Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio
    Acronyms, Definitions, and Fact Check
    Quantum theory describes the behavior of things — particles or energy — on the smallest scale. In addition to wavicles, it predicts that a particle may be found in many places at the same time. (https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/quantum-world-mind-bogglingly-weird)
    Quantum mechanics is a fundamental theory in physics that provides a description of the physical properties of nature at the scale of atoms and subatomic particles. It is the foundation of all quantum physics including quantum chemistry, quantum field theory, quantum technology, and quantum information science. Classical physics, the collection of theories that existed before the advent of quantum mechanics, describes many aspects of nature at an ordinary (macroscopic) scale, but is not sufficient for describing them at small (atomic and subatomic) scales. (Wikipedia)
    Quantum entanglement is the physical phenomenon that occurs when a group of particles are generated, interact, or share spatial proximity in a way such that the quantum state of each particle of the group cannot be described independently of the state of the others, including when the particles are separated by a large distance. The topic of quantum entanglement is at the heart of the disparity between classical and quantum physics: entanglement is a primary feature of quantum mechanics lacking in classical mechanics. (Wikipedia)
    A dilution refrigerator is a cryogenic device first proposed by Heinz London. Its refrigeration process uses amixture of two isotopes of helium: helium-3 and helium-4. When cooled below approximately 870 millikelvin, themixture undergoes spontaneous phase separation to form a 3He-rich phase and a 3He-poor phase. As with evaporative cooling, energy is required to transport 3He atoms from the 3He-rich phase into the 3He-poorphase. If the atoms can be made to continuously cross this boundary, they effectively cool the mixture. Becausethe 3He-poor phase cannot have less than 6% helium-3 at equilibrium, even at absolute zero, dilution refrigerationcan be effective at very low temperatures. The volume in which this takes place is known as the mixing chamber.  (https://en-academic.com/dic.nsf/enwiki/249751)

    • 1 hr 15 min
    Dr. Moira Gilchrist - PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences

    Dr. Moira Gilchrist - PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences

    Dr. Moira Gilchrist is the Vice President of Strategic and Scientific Communications at Philip Morris International (PMI). She has a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences and in 2006, came to PMI to help launch the company’s smoke-free products, which were developed as better alternatives to cigarettes for adult smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke. Her journey to PMI was as personal as it was professional: as a smoker, she understood the potential for these better alternatives to become a breakthrough for smokers like herself who would otherwise not quit.

    Episode Notes
    Moira shares her personal and professional journey of getting a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences, starting her career in cancer research and then working in the pharmaceutical industry before joining PMI – which as she will share in this episode – was not a place she ever thought she’d work. Today, she leads a team whose job it is to translate the robust science behind the company’s smoke-free alternatives into information policymakers and the public can easily understand.
    Ok…so getting beyond the tobacco conversation…Moira shares how she got interested in becoming a pharmacist – almost left her major – and then had a class in industrial pharmacy that redirected her and led to her getting a PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. We talk about the importance of developing communication skills and how having the backs of other women in the rooms we are in can have a big impact.
    Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio
    Acronyms, Definitions, and Fact Check
    Women’s share of jobs in the largest STEM category—Computers and Math— decreased from 44% in 1990 to 27% in 2018 and women hold the fewest share of STEM jobs in the Engineering and Surveying sector at 16%(https://extension.ucsd.edu/getattachment/community-and-research/center-for-research-and-evaluation/Accordion/Research-Reports-and-Publications/Women-in-STEM-Workforce-Index-FINAL-for-CRE-7_22_20.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US)
    In 2020, there were almost 6.6 million female scientists and engineers in the EU, 254 500 more than in 2019, accounting for 41% of total employment in science and engineering. By sector, women were underrepresented in manufacturing (where only 22% of scientists and engineers were female), while there was more of a gender balance in the services sector (46%). Among the EU Member States, the proportion of female scientists and engineers varied widely in 2020, ranging from 52% in Lithuania, Portugal and Denmark to 30% in Finland and 31% in Hungary. (https://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/products-eurostat-news/-/edn-20220211-2)
    "Lean In" by Sheryl Sandberg. https://leanin.org/book
    Neuro Linguistic Programming - a pseudoscientific approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, United States, in the 1970s. (Wikipedia)

    • 1 hr 5 min
    Dr. Claire Christensen - Senior Education Researcher

    Dr. Claire Christensen - Senior Education Researcher

    Dr. Claire Christensen is a Senior Education Researcher at SRI International. She is a principal investigator with expertise in educational media research. While she studies many areas of media and its impact on youth, the focus of our conversation was mostly around STEM media. Claire is extremely knowledgeable and passionate of educational media research. She has a PhD and MA in Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has a BS in Mass Communications (Television Production).

    Episode Notes
    Claire shares the importance of research on the impacts of media on youth. She shares specific examples of research she has done and is doing and how that research helps inform children's programming. STEM programming and showing diverse representation of people who work in STEM fields is critical in getting more women and POC to enter STEM careers. We talk about the importance of this and how this is changing and growing.
    We also talk about kids and screen time and how the pandemic has impacted how we view our kids' screen time. It's not always a bad thing! 
    Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio
    Acronyms, Definitions, and Fact Check
    SRI International - a 75-year pioneering research institute with a rich history supporting government and industry. SRI International (formerly Stanford Research Institute) is organized around broad disciplines and capabilities, from research and development divisions and labs to groups who excel at identifying new opportunities, developing products and creating custom solutions. 
    Analytical Engineer - a modern data team member that is responsible for modeling data to provide clean, accurate datasets so that different users within the company can work with them. Their role entails transforming, testing, and documenting data. (https://www.altexsoft.com/blog/analytics-engineer/)
    The Magic School Bus - an animated children's television series, based on the book series of the same name by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen. Running originally from 1994 to 1997, the series received critical acclaim for its use of celebrity voice talent and combining entertainment with an educational series. (wikipedia)
    Claire's LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clairegchristensen/
    Claire's Twitter Handle: @research_claire
    "Molly of Denali" - The daily adventures of 10-year-old Alaska native Molly Mabray, her family, her dog Suki and her friends Tooey and Trini. 
    Molly of Denali research study press release.
    Informational Text - a subset of the larger category of nonfiction (Duke & Bennett-Armistead, 2003). Its primary purpose is to inform the reader about the natural or social world. (https://umaine.edu/edhd/research-outreach/lifespan-literacy-community/programs/correll-book-award/what-is-informational-text/)
    Adaptive Learning - an educational method which uses computer algorithms as well as artificial intelligence to orchestrate the interaction with the learner and deliver customized resources and learning activities to address the unique needs of each learner. (wikipedia)
    "The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That" - designed to spark a love of learning and an interest in science and engineering in preschool-aged children. (https://www.pbs.org/parents/shows/cat-in-the-hat/about)

    • 42 min
    Katherine Hamilton - "The Energy Gang" podcast former co-host; Clean energy lobbyist

    Katherine Hamilton - "The Energy Gang" podcast former co-host; Clean energy lobbyist

    Katherine Hamilton co-hosted "The Energy Gang" podcast for over eight years. She is the co-founder and Chair of 38 North Solutions, a public policy firm focused on clean energy and innovation. She currently serves as Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Clean Electrification. She was the President of the GridWise Alliance, served as a policy advisor for Good Energies, Inc. She served as a federal and state policy advisor for a number of years for Energy Storage Association. Katherine was named Ambassador to the Secretary of Energy’s Clean Energy Education and Empowerment (C3E) under the Clean Energy Ministerial and was Co-Chair of the World Economic Forum’s Global Future Council on Advanced Energy Technologies.

    Episode Notes
    Katherine Hamilton has an extensive career in public policy in the clean energy space. She co-hosted the podcast "The Energy Gang" for over eight years and brought her deep knowledge, expertise, and viewpoints to the show. She shares how she got involved with the podcast and what it was like co-hosting the podcast.
    Katherine also shares how she went from a bachelor's degree in English from Cornell University and a master's degree in Culture and Civilization from Université Paris-Sorbonne into energy public policy and how her initially non-technical background provides a great foundation for the technical work she does now. We get into a fun discussion about the importance of verbal communication and how to develop that skill.
    Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio
    Acronyms, Definitions, and Fact Check
    "The Energy Gang": https://www.greentechmedia.com/podcast/the-energy-gang
    Stephen Lacey - produces and hosts The Energy Gang and Interchange podcasts, two of the most popular podcasts on energy and cleantech. (https://www.greentechmedia.com)
    Jigar Shah - co-host of The Energy Gang. The director of the Loan Programs Office of the US Department of Energy. (Wikipedia)
    Podcasting began to catch hold in late 2004. (Wikipedia)
    38 North Solutions: https://38northsolutions.com
    World Economic Forum's Global Future Council on Clean Electrification's Mission and Objectives: Achieving net-zero carbon targets will require clean electrification of energy uses, especially for buildings, transport and industry. In addition, to meeting these targets, electrification needs access to renewable energy sources at scale combined with the availability of grid infrastructure to connect them. The Global Future Council on Clean Electrification will bring together subject matter experts from industry, academia and civil society to amplify the value and role of clean electrification in the energy transition. (https://www.weforum.org/communities/gfc-on-clean-electrification)
    An integrated resource plan is a roadmap that large utilities use to plan out generational acquisitions over five, 10, or 20 years (or more). Many utilities use integrated resource plans for coal, natural gas, and smart grid energy. (https://www.energyacuity.com/blog/what-is-an-integrated-resource-plan-why-is-it-important/)
    National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) focuses on creative answers to today's energy challenges. (https://www.nrel.gov)

    • 1 hr
    Estefannie - Computer Scientist; Instagram and YouTube content creator

    Estefannie - Computer Scientist; Instagram and YouTube content creator

    Estefannie is a Computer Scientist and Instagram and YouTube content creator. She shares her designs, experiments and prototypes on her Instagram and YouTube channels. Esteffanie was born in Mexico and moved to Houston for college. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science and a Mathematics Minor.

    Episode Notes
    Estefannie brings engineering and science to life through her fun and engaging videos. She brings her viewers along as she designs and prototypes a number of different experiments and creations in a wide variety of areas from computers and software to electrical and mechanical designs. She builds, constructs, tests, modifies and shares her experiences along the way.
    In addition to sharing how she became a content creator and why she left the corporate world, we talk about the challenges girls face in the technology industry, why representation is important, how she is the hardest boss she's ever worked for, and what she hopes to bring to the world through her content.
    Music used in the podcast: Higher Up, Silverman Sound Studio
    Acronyms, Definitions, and Fact Check
    Estefannie- This is the place to find a lot of Esteffnie's content (https://www.estefannie.com)
    Estefannie's YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/Estefanniegg
    Estefannie's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/estefanniegg/?hl=en
    Estefannie's Blog: https://www.estefannie.com/blog
    Estefannie's Guacamole Machine Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s5XuHML646k
    Raspberry Pi - a series of small single-board computers (SBCs) developed in the United Kingdom by the Raspberry Pi Foundation in association with Broadcom. The Raspberry Pi project originally leaned towards the promotion of teaching basic computer science in schools and in developing countries. (Wikipedia)
    Arduinos - an open-source hardware and software company, project, and user community that designs and manufactures single-board microcontrollers and microcontroller kits for building digital devices. (Wikipedia)
    Computer Science Girls Club at University of Houston: https://csgirls.org

    • 59 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
11 Ratings

11 Ratings

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