MMWSS 2020 Headquarters

So, with our virtual online shortened version of the Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium this year, I was faced with a bit of a conundrum.  I thought it most appropriate to station myself in the Mitchell House.  Anywhere else, didn’t seem quite right to me.  But, the Mitchell House has no electricity and nowhere to sit or set up.  Plus, the further I get from the electricity and WiFi in my office, the harder it is – the WiFi does not work well and I need power!

This was my solution.  I was in the 1825 Kitchen.  I would have rather been in the Front Sitting Room, but I managed to have Maria’s Dolland telescope in the Kitchen and set myself up with my small scaffold that I use for doing some larger conservation projects in the House.  Worked pretty well – and while the chair looks like it is part of the collection – it is not.  This is what I have mentioned before – the only “sitable onable chair” (as I like to call it) in the entire House.  Used by volunteers, visitors who may need a break, and even myself when I have something I can work on in a chair with no electricity!

It worked pretty well.  And if you have not done so already, the recording of the MMWSS is available for you to watch here.


A MMWSS Thank You!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for our “mini” online version of the Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium.  It was sad to not be in-person for a two-day event but I believe – and people have said – that it was a wonderful experience.

A special thanks to our keynote Catalina Martinez and to our panelists: Dorene Price, Amy Bower, Serra Hoagland, and Sabine von Sengbusch.  And thank you to our MMWSS co-chairs Gwyneth Packard and Joe Santucci as well as out presenters Celia Mulcahey and Jocelyn Navarro.  And another thank you to Gwyneth Packard who also acted as our moderator.

We must not forget our sponsors who support this online effort: The American Astronomical Society, Novartis, and the Tupancy-Harris Foundation of 1986.

It was an inspiring, emotional and educational three hours and though we were spread across the country and the world (yes, the world), we were able to overcome ZOOM issues that come about with such a gathering and come together.

We hope you can join us in 2021 when we hope to meet in person September 23-25, 2021.  And shortly, we will have the recorded meeting available for everyone.

Keep your eyes on the MMWSS website at for the recording and for more information about 2021.  Be well!


“Science Needs Women”

The Maria Mitchell (Virtual) Women of Science Symposium October 2, 2020 1-4PM

In my younger days when I was pained by half educated, loose and inaccurate ways which we all had, I used to say, ‘How much women need exact science.’  But since I have known some workers in science who were not always true to the teaching of nature, who have loved self    more than science, I have said, ‘How much science needs women.’  – Maria Mitchell

In 2018, in part to honor Maria Mitchell’s 200th birthday’s anniversary, the Nantucket Maria Mitchell Association hosted its first Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium in Wellesley, Massachusetts.  It was a fabulous success with a sold out crowd – and a wait list. We welcomed women and men from around the country and at all levels of their STEM path – from undergraduates to early and mid-career to late-career and retirees.  All were active in STEM whether it be as a mathematician, a professor, a middle school teacher, an engineer, or an undergraduate student – all came together to discuss the place of and difficulties for women in STEM.  We heard from women leaders in STEM at all stages of their careers and met in small salon discussion groups to developed real-word solutions to bring back to our places of work and education.  It was an exhilarating and rewarding experience and one that was incredibly well-received.

While we had intended to meet for a two-day event again this year, the COVID-19/Coronavirus Pandemic brought that plan to a halt (And, we all need to be safe and cautious so it’s a good halt!).  Happily, we were able to create a mini-online version which we will be hosting on October 2 from 1-4PM.  It is FREE but registration is required at .  While it will be different, not meeting and working together in-person, we hope this will give people an idea of what the MMWSS is all about.  Our focus for this shortened event will be on diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality with a keynote and one panel discussion.  More information about these incredible women in STEM who will be joining us can be found at the MMWSS website – where you can also register to join us and what is already well over 200 attendees!

I’d like to share with you two anonymous testimonials from two undergraduate women in STEM who joined us at the first MMWSS in 2018 – they are in the early stages of their STEM path and their words give you a sense of what everyone in attendance was feeling and what they gained:

The Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium (MMWSS) was an incredible, empowering experience . . . . during the salons I had the opportunity to interact with the symposium attendees on a more intimate level and discuss these issues in detail. The salons were the highlight of the entire event for me; this unique format allowed me to learn about the specific experiences of other women in STEM and brainstorm ideas for solutions to problems. It was also very empowering for me, a young graduate student, to be able to contribute to discussions in this small group setting and have my input valued by the other, more senior members of the group. This symposium provided me with a wonderful opportunity to network with female mentors and also to be a mentor to younger, undergraduate students.

Attending the Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium was a truly transformative experience for me. To be in a space filled with women and allies for women in the STEM field was honestly overwhelming at first. As an undergraduate, I am a beginner and I used to think that I needed to have more experience or education before I could help facilitate change within the STEM community. After being a part of this conference, I am now in touch with my personal power and I was shown that advocates need to be at every level. I no longer feel the need to wait to start doing outreach, and I have already started working with a science teacher (remotely).

Many of 2018’s attendees, speakers, and panelists will be with us in attendance so we hope you can join us for this important and ongoing conversation as we make sure we support and find ways to bring everyone to the STEM table!


Maria Mitchell Women of Science

Save the date! 

We are hard at work on the 2020 Maria Mitchell Women of Science Symposium (MMWSS).  Our 2018 MMWSS was a resounding success with a sold out crowd – and a wait list!  For 2020, we aim to expand with room for at least 180 participants.

We have a wonderful group of women in STEM who will be us.  They include: Chiara Mingarelli of the Flatiron Institute, Tara Spann of Eversource, Jen Heemstra of Emory University, Catalina Martinez of NOAA, Simil L. Raghavan of EngineerGirl and the National Academy of Engineering, Dionne Hoskins Brown of NOAA, Serra Hoagland of the US Forestry Service, Nicole Cabrera Salazar of Movement Consulting and many more!

Topics to be included are: the state of women in STEM, inclusion, diversity, intersectionality, mentoring, and retaining and supporting women in STEM.

We will have speakers, panel discussions, and our salon-style gatherings that proved to be a fantastic and constructive vehicle for creating real-world solutions for women and girls in STEM.

Please plan to join us.  Keep your eyes on the website at with further updates and tickets.