Role Models

The New Jersey STEM Pathways Network honors diverse STEM leaders who have made and continue to make significant contributions in STEM. 

"Do not let others define who you are. Define yourself. Do not be limited by what others think of you, but reach confidently for the stars."
Shirley Ann Jackson
American Physicist

I CAN STEM Role Models

Our “I Can STEM” historical and famous role models are individuals that have made a significant impact in STEM.

Shirley Ann Jackson

American physicist

Shirley Ann Jackson was the first African-American woman to have earned a doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the first woman and African-American to chair the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

Alberto Pedro Calderón


Alberto Pedro Calderón was an Argentinian mathematician. Calderón and his mentor, the analyst Antoni Zygmund, developed the theory of singular integral operators.

Flossie Wong-Staal

American molecular biologist

Flossie Wong-Staal was a Chinese-American virologist and molecular biologist. She was the first scientist to clone HIV and determine the function of its genes, which was a major step in proving that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

Erna Schneider Hoover

American Mathematician

Dr. Erna Hoover received one of the world’s first software patents for inventing a computerized telephone switching service that modernized the communication system. She worked at Bell Labs for 32 years and was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in 2008.

Bessie Blount Griffin

Physical Therapist/ Inventor

Bessie Blount was a physical therapist that invented a device that would feed soldiers with lost limbs after World War II. After spreading her ideas, she started a new career in forensic science for police departments.

Chien-Shiung Wu

Chinese-American physicist

Chien-Shiung Wu was known as the “First Lady of Physics”. She was the first female professor of physics at Princeton University and is perhaps most known for her work on the Manhattan Project, a research and development undertaking during World War II that produced the first nuclear weapons.

George Washington Carver

American Agricultural Scientist

George Washington Carver is probably the most notable black scientist of the early 20th century. In 1894, Carver became the first African American to earn a Bachelor of Science degree. He is best known for having developed more than 300 food, industrial and commercial products from peanuts, including milk, Worcestershire sauce, paper, cosmetics, and more!

Miguel Ondetti

Argentine-American Chemist

Miguel Ondetti was an Argentinian-American chemist. After emigrating to the United States in 1960, he worked for the Squibb Institute for Medical Research for thirty years where he created the first ACE inhibitor used to treat heart disease. 

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“I CAN STEM” Role Models