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Author Speaks About Historical Women Defying Expectations in STEM Research

Dr. Penny Noyce encourages women to explore STEM fields
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Dr. Penny Noyce

Contact: Josh Martin
Office of Institutional Communications
jmartin [at]

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Women have been breaking barriers in science fields for centuries, but often their accomplishments are lost in the past. Author and education advocate Dr. Penny Noyce will be speaking at Quinsigamond Community College as part of the STEM Starter Academy Lecture Series about raising awareness of women’s accomplishments in science and mathematics fields.

Dr. Noyce has published two books, “Magnificent Minds” and “Remarkable Minds,” that profile 33 women from Europe and the United States who defied social expectations to do research in the fields of science and mathematics over four centuries.

“Today only 12 percent of engineers are women, women are not choosing to go into STEM fields. I talk about the proud tradition of women in these careers,” Dr. Noyce said. “Understanding the barriers women have overcome in the past can give today’s women the courage to overcome their own barriers. If our foremothers can do this, we certainly can.”

Penny Noyce, MD, has been an internist, education advocate, author, and publisher. She serves on the boards of a number of education and other nonprofits, including the Libra Foundation and the Noyce Foundation, and has been an advocate for improving science education both inside and outside of school. As well as being the author or co-author of 10 books, mostly for children, she is the chairperson of Tumblehome Learning, a publishing company which dedicates itself to helping young people experience the excitement of science through both fiction and nonfiction tales.

For her talk, “Remarkable Minds: Four Centuries of Women Breaking Barriers in Science and Medicine,” she will highlight a few of the women she researched for her books, such as Hertha Marks Ayrton, who won the Hughes Medal in 1906 from the British Royal Society for her research and experimental investigation of the electric arc and her work on sand ripples. She also was involved in the British suffragette movement. Ms. Ayrton took out eight patents between 1913 and 1918, improving carbons, carbon electrodes and lamp houses. She also made original contributions to hydrodynamics.

Dr. Noyce hopes these examples will encourage women to explore STEM careers and better understand the history of women who have come before them. Her most recent books are geared to high school and college students. The books grew out of an exhibit at the Grolier Club in New York and introduces women who contributed to the fields of mathematics, physics, chemistry, astronomy and medicine.

The lecture will be Monday, Feb. 22, from 12:30-2 p.m. in the Harrington Learning Center, Room 109A, on the Quinsigamond Community College main campus, 670 West Boylston St., Worcester. It is free and open to the public. Dr. Noyce’s books will be available for sale and book signing.

Contact Darcy Carlson at dcarlson [at] for more information.

Quinsigamond Community College is the most affordable higher education in Worcester County. As a regional leader in education and workforce development, QCC serves the diverse educational needs of Central Massachusetts by providing affordable, accessible, and high quality programming leading to transfer, career, and lifelong learning.