8 women in the STEM field who made a name for themselves in 2021

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With the start of the pandemic in 2020, the tectonic focus has shifted more than ever to healthcare and an emphasis on scientific reasoning. With the rise of sociopolitical movements around the world, there has been an intersectional and often empathetic approach to these areas of science, technology, and medicine that inevitably highlights the importance of the contributions of women and other marginalized groups to these arenas. It should be noted that women and other historically oppressed gender, class and caste minorities have been marginalized and their contributions to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) have been neglected the longest, despite anomalies. From ASHA employees who have always done the most footwork to ensure the wellbeing of the local people, to Scientists at the helm With the manufacture of COVID-19 vaccines, the pandemic led to a shift in focus to women’s work in STEM as we know it today.

In their closer home in India, women in the STEM field have also made history. From Neena Gupta, professor at the Indian Statistical Institute, who was the fourth Indian mathematician to receive the prestigious Ramanujan Prize, to the four IIT Rourkee professors who made it onto the list of top women in the STEM field of the Confederation of Indian Industry, we as a country shine with pride in their achievements in an area that has traditionally been viewed as a patriarchal domain.

Also read: 6 queer people who made headlines with their achievements in 2021

From Neena Gupta, professor at the Indian Statistical Institute, who was the fourth Indian mathematician to receive the prestigious Ramanujan Prize, to the four IIT Rourkee professors who made it onto the list of top women in the STEM field of the Confederation of Indian Industry, we as a country shine with pride in their achievements in an area that has traditionally been viewed as a patriarchal domain.

1. Annie Sinha Roy

Annie Sinha Roy is Project Senior Resident Engineer at Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation. Probably the only female tunnel engineer in the country, joined Senbo in 2007 after graduating from Nagpur University with a degree in mechanical engineering. She started working for Chennai Metro in 2009 and later for Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation. She single-handedly steered the tunnel boring machine called Godavari, which recently finished building an underground stretch from Sampige Road to Majestic.

This year she was nominated for the ETPrime Women Leadership Awards 2021 together with Beena Kothadia (Plant Manager, Gestamp), Geeta Uppal (Senior Vice President and Head of SCM Procurement at Reliance Industries), Sarala Menon (Executive Vice President at Colgate-Palmolive), Seema Gupta (Director Operations at Power Grid India) and Sukla Mistry (Executive Director & Refinery Head at Indian Oil Corporation).

2. Dr. Neena Gupta

Dr. Neena Gupta is a well-known Indian mathematician at the Indian Statistical Institute in Kolkata. She previously won the Indian National Science Academy’s Young Scientists Award in 2014 for her solution to the Zariski extinction problem for affine spaces.

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That year she won the Ramanujan Prize 2021 for her commendable contribution to affine algebraic geometry and commutative algebra. She is the fourth Indian mathematician and the third woman to receive the prestigious award. This award is jointly presented by the International Center for Theoretical Physics, the International Mathematical Union and the Department of Science and Technology of the Government of India.

3. The four IIT Roorkee Professors from CII

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has named four faculty members of the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee as the best female STEM graduates, a recognition also featured in the e-book published by the CII entitled ” WiSTEM-2021: Promote and celebrate women in STEM. All four faculty members have made significant contributions to academic research and have inspired several students to pursue careers in the STEM field.

IIT Roorkee

Dr. Davinder Kaur Walia is Senior Professor in the Physics Department and Center for Nanotechnology. Her research focuses on nanoscale thin films and aims to improve devices that are useful in the energy sector. She is a knowledgeable member of the physical-scientific boards of DRDO, CSIR and SERB-DST.

Debrupa Lahiri - Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee

Dr. Debrupa Lahiri is an Associate Professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering and Center for Nanotechnology. Her research concerns biomaterials, multi-scale mechanics and tribology as well as composite material systems with nanofillers. Last year she started three funded projects that were funded by LSRB-DRDO, DST-SERB and DST-SERB-IRPHA. All three projects are currently running.

Also read: 11 MINT women who made us proud in 2020

Pranita P. Sarangi - Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering, Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee

Dr. Pranita P Sarangi is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and Bio-Engineering. Cellular and molecular immunology, immunopathology, and immuno-oncology are some of her areas of interest. Her research on the effects of yoga and meditation in combating stress-induced immunosuppression was funded by DST-SATYAM in 2021.

Kusum DEEP |  Professor |  Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee, Roorkee |  University of Roorkee |  Department of Mathematics

Dr. Kusum Deep is a professor at the Institute for Mathematics and at the Center for Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. Her work focuses, among other things, on operations research, numerical optimization and evolutionary algorithms. In 2021, NPTEL funded their Operations Research project.

4. Dr. Bushra Ateeq

Dr. Bushra Ateeq is an Associate Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur. She has published over 75 magazine articles and book chapters. Her expertise lies in the areas of cancer biology, cancer genomics and molecular oncology. Last year the Indian government recognized her contribution to her field by awarding her the S Ramachandran-National Bioscience Award for Career Development and the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology in Medical Sciences. She also received the Senior Fellowship Award from the Wellcome Trust and the DBT India Alliance.

In 2021 she successfully led Anukriti Singh’s doctoral thesis entitled “Investigation of Mechanisms Involved in AGTR1 Positive Cancer: Implications in Therapy”. The Life of Science also presented them in its 2020-21 Indian women in scienceence calendar. The feature was then published in a book entitled, 31 fantastic adventures in science.

5. Esha Cyril

Esha Cyril is an Indian-American high school student at Quarry Lane School. Previously, she secured the first position in the JoinJade Stanford University Advocacy Challenge at the Asian and Pacific Islander Health Conference. She has received a number of leadership awards and prizes, including the George Eastman Young Leaders Award from the University of Rochester and the Outstanding Performance and Leadership Award from the Mayor of Central Chile.

That year, she won the prestigious Hyundai Women in STEM Scholarship 2021. The scholarship offers each recipient US $ 10,000 to bridge the gender gap by promoting and supporting young women pursuing an education and careers in STEM disciplines . Esha is not only among the five winners, but also the only high school student to have secured the scholarship.

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