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Depicting Science, Engineering, and Technology
Get Women Involved!

A Spotlight Message from EIC President & CEO 
Brian Dyak

Current statistics show that women are fast surpassing their male counterparts in receiving advanced degrees and furthering their education. In the coming years, these women will play an increasingly crucial role in the field of engineering by making significant contributions to the qualified workforce.

Contradictory to these observations, there is currently  a lack of female role models in the media for young women interested in pursuing these careers.  The creative community has an unparalleled ability to influence the perception of women in engineering, and we believe any efforts to encourage women to explore this field could lead to great social change. 

Consider encouraging your audience to view women in engineering in a multifaceted and interesting way, just like the field of engineering itself. Young women are a capable and important part of our future efforts towards keeping the U.S. competitive in the engineering field.

Profile On: Anna Gunn

In the spirit of getting women involved in fields related to science, engineering, and technology, EIC’s External Communications and Program Director, Skylar Zwick sat down with Anna Gunn at the Inaugural  S.E.T. Awards to discuss her role as Marie Curie, in Alan Alda’s Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie. Curie is best known for her research of radioactivity and holds two Nobel Prizes; the first for Physics awarded in 1903 and the second for Chemistry awarded in 1911. Fitting with Curie's many achievements, Anna's responses focused on the affect this role could have on young people, especially girls, when it comes to taking an interest in these fields.

When asked how she prepared to portray this scientific heroine, Anna – a self proclaimed “unscientific person” – found inspiration for the character in the passion of director Alan Alda who gave her a crash course in the work that Marie and Pierre Curie did, the discoveries they made, and the work she continued to do even following his death. Anna explained that what she truly found exciting was being able to share what she learned from this role with her daughter. “My daughter is very interested in science, so to take on this role and have the ability to share with her and see her becoming interested in the topic, asking me questions, and for me to be able to answer them was exhilarating.”
Poster Art,
Radiance: The Passion of Marie Curie


Marie Curie is truly an inspiration and a role model for women in science.  With that in mind, Anna described the reaction her daughter and friends had when they first watched the story of this female scientist. “They were enthralled, really and truly taken by the story and the science that was involved… they did not realize that at one point a woman could not go into any field and just achieve the same things along side a man.” She attributed the engaging nature of Marie’s story to Alan Alda’s commitment to representing the scientists and mathematicians he puts on stage as full characters.  “The people are really, really fascinating and they make kids look at them and say maybe we could do that, maybe it’s possible for us to get into that field and if she is able to do that against all odds, then what could I accomplish?”

Anna’s character of Marie Curie, showcases the passion Marie had for her field and her research making the story engaging and inspiring for all ages. When depicting the fields related to science, engineering, and technology it is important to always showcase that passion, which Anna summed up with a speech made by her character Marie Curie. “It’s not about the hard work, it’s not about the fame, it’s not about winning a Nobel, it’s about the plotting of the points. It’s about plotting these curves point by point, because there’s beauty in the work of it…” Anna also stated, “I think in any field that is the answer, do what you do because you love it; you have a passion for it.” 

Watch Anna Present the S.E.T. Award to The Universe in the
Documentary Category at the Inaugural S.E.T. Awards!

Depiction Suggestion

Though gains have been made in attracting women into engineering disciplines there is still a lack of female engineering role models leaving engineering, in general, an unpopular career path for women. Through accurate depictions the entertainment industry has the ability to promote the idea that engineering can be for anyone who is creative and wants to make a difference.
  • Engineering remains a male dominated industry. Where possible, look for opportunities to explore the life of a female involved in engineering or other technological field, and avoid downplaying their expertise by having them taken less seriously by their male counterparts.
  • Consider reinforcing, through your strong female characters, the idea that no person can tell them what they can and cannot do or that a job is not for them because they are a woman.
  • Engineering is a highly creative and team oriented career. Consider depicting an engineering professional that is both social and people oriented. These types of characters challenge preconceptions that engineers, especially female engineers, are one dimensional and only gifted scientifically.


2012 S.E.T. Awards
Call for Entries is now OPEN!

Click here to download the full
S.E.T. Awards Call for Entries!

Startling Statistics from

Picture This: Engineering

  1. Though their numbers are increasing, women, blacks, and Hispanics remain underrepresented in the technical workforce.
  2. 3 million: the projected shortage of workers with U.S. college degrees, associates or better, by 2018.
  3. 69%: Share of U.S. Students who graduated from high school with a regular diploma in four years (2007).

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Portions of this Newsletter Adapted from:

Picture This: Engineering
Read the full publication here!

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