Today marks International Day of Women and Girls in Science – a UN holiday that highlights the gender gap in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and activism to close said gap. Since the day’s formal recognition in 2015, February 11 continues to be a day where we celebrate women for their critical roles in the fields of science and technology.
We asked Beth Dyer, our Technical Support Specialist, and Stacy Taylor, our Product Manager of Passport, what it means to be women in science.
Tell us about yourself and what you do for ProviderTrust.
Beth: My role at PT is a new one and I am a Technical Support Specialist. This is a new and changing role which means that I get to do a bit of everything in pretty much every department. PT has grown to need its own internal IT squad. I have a background in Website Development and Cybersecurity.
Stacy: I am originally from South Carolina, and came to Nashville for my undergraduate work at Vanderbilt University where I earned my degree in Psychology and Neuroscience. I’m currently the Passport Product Manager at ProviderTrust. In my nearly 9 years at the company, I’ve transitioned from being a Client Success Manager to directing the Client Success Team, then shifted to the Product Team full time a few years ago. I’ve bottled my natural affinity towards science and technology, through my time at Vandy studying how people think, into a career where I can translate what people want and need into inventive product solutions.
What does smarter and safer healthcare mean to you?
B: It means having accessibility without so many hoops to jump through. No one should have to wait for approval or have a delay of care because of paperwork or something not functioning correctly.
S: I think the American healthcare system is riddled with norms that do much more to serve special interest groups than the average person needing care. A smarter and safer healthcare means finding ways to disrupt and transform the parts of our system that are absurdly expensive, inefficient, and often harmful to our most vulnerable community members.
Why did you choose a career in science and technology?
B: I wanted to be able to make a difference at a unique level. I have worked in 911 dispatching and other various medical fields. I realized there was a need for more women behind the scenes at a more fundamental level. I also wanted more flexibility in my work schedule and work choices.
S: I’ve always been drawn to science and technology even when I was a child. I was the kid that asked to have my grandparents’ old typewriter so that I could take it apart over the next week to figure out how it worked, and how to put it back together again. I used to sit on the computer in the 90s for hours playing The Incredible Machine finding new ways to set up conveyor belts, tunnels, and pulleys to get the virtual ball from one side of the screen to the other.
What are the current opportunities and challenges for women in science?
B: I think finding role models and peers. It is still a male dominated industry. It makes it harder to build confidence and have discussions because you have to be willing to expose your insecurities.
S: One of the biggest opportunities for women in science is that we often do see problems differently. That means you may find ways to distinguish yourself by bringing perspectives that have never before been considered. Being different, however, can also be a challenge when it comes to mainstream American culture. Women are often dismissed or bulldozed over by the boys club. I think it’s incredibly critical that women in science and technology place a tremendous amount of value on studying and working in spaces that are excited for the value they bring. Not tolerant of difference, but truly valuing difference as the way forward.
Who is a woman that has inspired you professionally or personally?
B: I will say my mom because she was always trying new things in new fields and was always willing to learn a new trade or job skill.
S: My mother is my biggest inspiration. She instilled in me a strong sense of seeking truth and understanding, as well as working hard. She was a science teacher when I was growing up, and we bonded over geeking out about how things worked. She was the consummate teacher, and taught me to appreciate that everything in our world can be interesting if you look closely enough.
What words of wisdom would you offer to young women considering a career in the field of science or technology?
B: Always reach out to other women. Find conferences and connections. Just be open and talk. Don’t think you need to prove yourself as a woman but as a person and just do your best. Never stop learning and grow in the uncomfortable challenges.
S: If you’re considering it, go for it. The industry needs differing voices and perspectives. So much of this space is filled with a very specific type of person and way of thinking, and it can really limit the creativity of our solutions. Different genders, ethnicities, backgrounds, and educational experiences allow a team to look at a problem from critically different perspectives and expands the possibilities of solutions.