8 Ways To Make Real Progress On Tech’s Diversity Problem

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diverse cartoon characters standing to represent diversity in tech

Leaders from Snap, Google, and more share their ideas for making 2018 the year that tech finally becomes more inclusive.

On Ayanna Howard’s first day at NASA leading a robotics team, she walked into her office and was greeted by a man who told her, “The secretaries aren’t here. They moved their meeting down the hall.”

Her response? “Hi, I’m Dr. Ayanna Howard. You’re working for me on this project.”

Despite her qualifications, Howard, a black woman, couldn’t help but feel deflated by the assumption that she didn’t belong there.

The tech sector is hampered by unconscious biases that distort perceptions. And it’s a big problem. Tech will continue to lose top talent if we don’t make significant progress in changing the ratios. By several measures, the tech world is stagnating or even moving backwards when it comes to achieving greater equity for women and people of color.

According to LinkedIn’s research, only 28% of software engineers are women, and that number has only gone up 3% over 15 years. Even worse, women in leadership roles has risen a measly 2.3%.

The numbers are even more bleak in the funding world: Between 1999 and 2013, there was a 40% drop in female VCs, according to Babson’s. Furthermore, only 3% of VC funds have black and Latinx people on their teams. In 2017, women-led companies made up 4.4% of all VC deals, a 2% increase in 10 years, according to Pitchbook. For women of color, the numbers are utterly dismal: Only 0.2% of venture capital went to startups founded by black women, according to #ProjectDiane.

The nonprofit I founded, Women Who Tech, aims to change the ratio in tech. Through our Women Startup Challenges and other work, we’ve worked with 1,700-plus women-led ventures, numerous investors, and engineers. One big lesson that’s emerged is that the tech culture has relied on pattern recognition for too long.

Based on our learnings, here are eight ways founders, investors, and engineers can start shaking things up to fix tech’s diversity and inclusion problems in 2018.

FOUNDERS

1. Think of diversity from the start. Sarah Kunst, founder of Proday, recommends using the “mirror rule”: Making sure that people you bring on–employees, service providers, etc.–don’t always look like you. “Empowering your teams with the mirror rule means they can gently and easily ensure that more diverse and inclusive groups are being formed across all company touch points.”

And diversity has to be baked in, says Cindy Gallop, founder of MakeLoveNotPorn. “One key way for startup founders to address diversity and inclusion “is to be diverse and inclusive from ground zero.” And for good reason: “Women challenge the status quo because we are never part of it.” She also advises focusing on finding “the least represented and championed group in tech: black women.”

2. Address unconscious bias in your hiring. Another hiring bias is prioritizing top engineering schools as recruitment pools. Language app Duolingo changed their recruitment process to achieve a 50:50 gender ratio for new software engineer hires. In addition to building partnerships with inclusive organizations, they took a data-driven approach and prioritized recruiting from schools with more than 18% women undergraduate computer science majors.

Lukas Blakk, mobile release manager at Snap, says another way to address your own hiring biases is to create a list to review to remind yourself of your own biases before each interview you conduct.

3. Untap understanding of consumer needs with diverse engineering teams. To ensure products and services have wide appeal, get input from people who reflect the full range of end users. “If we don’t get women and people of color at the table — real technologists doing the real work — we will bias systems,” Fei-Fei Li, Google’s chief artificial intelligence and machine learning scientist, told Wired. Undoing that bias later, she says, may be “close to impossible.” Building for your entire consumer population can also help avoid accusations of bias and embarrassment, as Apple learnedwhen its facial recognition feature struggled with black and Asian faces, sparking charges of racism.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How Deja Baker overcame long odds and finally landed her dream job

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Her title may be unremarkable—software engineer at a Chicago trading firm—but the journey she took to land it is a triumph that doesn’t fit neatly on a resume.

The phone call that ended the military career of Midshipman Deja Baker came on a rainy morning in Hawaii in late May 2017. Having recently completed her third year at the U.S. Naval Academy, Baker was on leave, one week into a month of R&R—hiking, beachcombing, and Netflix-bingeing at her fiancé’s apartment in Oahu. The voice on the phone was her company officer’s. He told her she was to return to Annapolis immediately and pack up her things. Her time at the academy was over.

“It put me in panic mode,” she says.

That spring, a mysterious bruise on her leg had prompted Baker to visit the doctor, a decision that tipped one unlucky domino after the next: The doctor ordered blood tests; the results were alarming, and he hospitalized her; after a five-day stay, she received a diagnosis of a rare blood condition she chooses not to reveal. Simply put, her blood didn’t clot right. The U.S. Navy insists that its officers bleed properly. So, even though she had already served a tour in Japan as an enlisted sailor, had completed advanced training in cryptologic intelligence, was one year from completing a computer science degree, and was aiming to work in the information warfare command far removed from battle, she was out. She had no job prospects, no cash, and as soon as she packed up her things back on the mainland, no home.

“For the next 24 hours, I just bawled,” she says.

By the next morning, however, Baker had regrouped. Having persuaded her company officer to let her finish the remaining three weeks of her leave, she spent that time researching coding boot camps she could apply to.

Recruiters and industrial psychologists stress the importance of attributes such as resilience and determination (a recent survey by LinkedIn identified four soft skills most coveted by companies—leadership, communication, collaboration, and time management), and employers are devising new methods to assess these kinds of intangible qualities, but the relentless drive Baker possesses can be hard to spot on a résumé. She doesn’t present as tough. She’s soft-spoken and doesn’t like talking about herself. She dresses in startup-employee casual—cropped jeans, Toms shoes, and hoodie. At 27, she still gets carded whenever she orders a beer. Baker’s most valuable talents, the formidable inner strength and insatiable curiosity she’s exhibited since she was a child, are traits that might only emerge over the course of the kind of probing face-to-face interview with a perceptive manager that seems to happen less and less often in this era of job application portals and chatbots. Does an algorithm yet exist that will discern the extent of Deja Baker’s tenacity?

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

Google Doodle Celebrates Mary G. Ross. Here’s What to Know About the First Native American Woman Engineer

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Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the 110th birthday of Mary G. Ross, the first Native American woman engineer. Over the course of her five-decade career, Ross achieved many firsts and made major contributions to the aerospace industry.

Here’s what to know about the trailblazer, born on Aug. 9, 1908, who opened the doors for future female engineers in the field.

Who Was Mary G. Ross?

Great-great granddaughter to Chief John Ross of the Cherokee Nation, Mary G. Ross was born in the small town of Park Hill in Oklahoma. Raised with the Cherokee value of learning, Ross pursued a path considered nontraditional for women. After receiving a degree in math from Northeastern State College, Ross taught math and science until she returned to school to earn her master’s in math from Colorado State College of Education.

What were her contributions to aerospace?

In 1942, Lockheed Missiles and Space Company hired Ross as mathematician. But after a manager recognized her talent, Ross was sent to UCLA to earn a classification in aeronautical engineering. Lockheed then rehired her as their first female engineer. Ross would go on to work on major projects such as the Agena rocket, which was a crucial step in the Apollo program to land on the moon. She also was a part of SkunkWorks, a top-secret 40-member think tank where she was the only women aside from the secretary. Ross’ work there involved developing initial design concepts for interplanetary space travel, including flyby missions to Venus and Mars.
“Often at night there were four of us working until 11 p.m.,” she once said according to Google. “I was the pencil pusher, doing a lot of research. My state of the art tools were a slide rule and a Frieden computer. We were taking the theoretical and making it real.”

How did she open the door for women?

Ross also devoted herself to encouraging women and Native Americans into careers in the field of STEM. She was a fellow of the Society of Women Engineers, where she established a scholarship in her name to support future female engineers and technologists. To support fellow Native Americans, Ross also worked closely with the American Indian Science and Engineering Society and the Council of Energy Resource Tribes to develop their educational programs.

Continue onto TIME to read the complete article.

Marie Tharp, The Woman Who Discovered The Backbone Of Earth

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Marie Tharp was born July 30, 1920, in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Already in early years she followed her father, a soil surveyor for the United States Department of Agriculture, into the field. However she also loved to read and wanted to study literature at St. John’s College in Annapolis, but at the time women were not admitted there. So she went to Ohio University, where she graduated in 1943. The Second World War changed dramatically the situation. The United States needed a replacement for the men who went into war and women were now encouraged to obtain degrees also in ‘manly’ disciplines, like science and technology. Marie enrolled in a petroleum geology program, becoming so one of the first ‘Petroleum Geology Girls’ when she graduated in 1944. She worked for a short time in the petroleum industry, but found the work unrewarding and decided to resume her studies at Tulsa University. In 1948 she graduated in mathematics and found work at the Lamont Geological Laboratory of the Columbia University. As the Cold War between the United States and the Sowjet Union got hotter, the U.S. Navy was interested in a map of the seafloor, believed to be of strategic relevance for future battles with submarines. Marie started a prolific collaboration with geologist Bruce Charles Heezen (1924 -1977), specialist for seismic and topographic data obtained from the seafloor. As women, Marie was not allowed on board of the research vessel. Instead, she interpreted and visualized the obtained data, producing large hand-drawn maps of the seafloor. She co-authored with Heezen a book and various papers on their research.

Between 1959 until the death of Heezen in 1977 she continued to work on various large-scale maps that would depict the still unknown topography of the entire seafloor. The results were astounding. The following original sketch by Tharp and Heezen of the topography of the Mid-Atlantic shows in green and yellow a mountain range located between the coasts of Africa and America. The preliminary map shows also a series of parallel transform-faults cutting through the mountain range. Based on such sketches Tharp and Heezen published in 1977 the famous World Ocean Floor Map.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

How Shavone Charles Created Her Dream Job In Tech

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Shavone Charles holds many titles. From being a musician and artist to her role as Head of Global Music and Youth Culture Communications at Instagram and recent founder of a passion project, Magic in Her Melanin, Charles is undoubtedly known to her peers and the surrounding tech and entertainment industries as being a renaissance woman and connoisseur of culture.

The term, “Do It For The Culture”, according to the Urban Dictionary, is a statement requesting that someone carry out a specific action for benefit of their shared culture. Charles is doing just that with not only her work in Silicon Valley but for black creatives globally. With her deep Trinidadian roots, Charles is passionate about maintaining her self-identity while creating an environment of inclusivity for women of color in tech.

Before she was trailblazing a new path for future generations, millennials and black women in tech, or creating her own job title at multi-billion dollar companies like Twitter and Instagram, she was a San Diego native and first-generation college graduate from UC Merced, just trying to figure it out. Upon graduating in 2012, Charles snagged several high-profile entertainment and communications based internships at Google, BET Networks, Capitol Hill and The Department of Justice. Her big break happened when she was the presented with the opportunity to create her own role and title at Twitter.

At Twitter, Shavone established her niche career focus on culture-focused communications and social marketing, business partnerships and data analysis with a close lens on music, online communities and youth culture. Upon joining the Twitter team, Shavone created her own role, as the first person to join her team and head up the company’s global music and culture communications, with a focus on data, often working on efforts tied music partnerships and high-priority product launches and acquisitions (including Vine and Periscope). During her time at Twitter, Shavone also remotely oversaw all of the company’s communications efforts for Brazil and Canada out of San Francisco and employed a number of successful global culture-driven communications programs tied to major entertainment and consumer moments in market (including Rock In Rio, Brazil’s Fashion Week, Juno Awards and more). She led content management and curation for the official @TwitterMusic account and helped grow it by over 5 million followers, as result of social campaigns with talent and highlighting the best uses of Twitter and Vine in music.

In addition to launching PR and social campaigns, Charles had the unique opportunity to create the first-ever employee resource group for African-American employees, aptly named Twitter BlackBirds. Her role at Twitter, catapulted her into a new realm of visibility and influence, leading her to head up communications and culture at Instagram. Charles has always been intrigued by the notion of connecting diverse groups of people through social media and cultivating an accepting community for people to have the choice to share commonalities.

Technology has allowed the culture to be seen on a global scale, with creatives now at the forefront of the movement and art form. It’s not a “niche” community anymore and people are using the internet to build a community around their interests,” which she said at Forbes I.D.E.A Summit.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

This Coder Wants You to Ignore the Techie Stereotypes

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What is one thing Camilo Hurtado wants people to know? Coders are more than a stereotype. Picturing someone sitting in their cube, scowling at their screen and tapping furiously at the keyboard? Or perhaps surrounded by empty soda cans and pizza boxes, clad in oversize headphones? This couldn’t be further from the truth, Hurtado says. “The job is highly collaborative!” he adds. And, as long as we’re debunking myths, he says they’re not all trying to become billionaires before they hit age 25 either.

Hurtado, a young software engineer at JPMorgan Chase, is keen to set the record straight. He wants to fight off the social stigmas surrounding coders so more people know what an exciting and rewarding career it is. Technology, he believes, is the key to solving problems and improving lives. “The possibilities are endless,” he says. “Every day, people are inventing new technologies and coming up with new ways to use existing ones,” he adds, including ways to battle social issues.

Hurtado tells us how he began his career as a technologist, how the tech space is more diverse than meets the eye, and why this field has been so rewarding.

Did you always want to be a coder?

No, I wanted to be an archaeologist. I used to watch the Indiana Jones movies, and I thought traveling the world and having adventures while learning about other cultures would be a very fun job. But it turns out technology is an adventure too.

As I grew up, technology became the vehicle I used explore the world on a daily basis. I became interested in careers that allowed me to have an impact, while working with people from around the world. And although I wouldn’t call myself Indiana Jones, I do get the opportunity to solve complex global problems every day.

How did you get into coding?

I wanted a career where I would always be learning, and I saw that JPMorgan Chase had a great development program for college graduates—the Technology Analyst Program (TAP). I joined the company fresh from college, and, after graduating from TAP, I learned they offered lots of other programs to help technologists advance and grow. I liked how they seemed to understand how important it is to continually develop tech knowledge. I’ve been here seven years now and just recently completed the Expert Engineer development program, which is for high-performing technologists who want to keep moving up the ladder. The learning never stops!

You view technology as a force for good in this world. Why?

There is tremendous potential from the ideas coders create when they come together—anything from nonprofit cost reduction to life-saving innovations. That’s why I jumped at the opportunity to volunteer for one of JPMorgan Chase’s Code for Good coding challenges, where the company teams up with a nonprofit and poses a challenge to a group of students who are interested in pursuing tech jobs. The students, with help from mentors like me, have 24 hours to work together and come up with tech solutions to the nonprofit’s real-world problems. To date, the company has hosted 45 Code for Good challenges across 15 cities around the world.

Continue onto JP Morgan Chase Newsroom to read the complete article.

30-year-old Mareena Robinson Snowden is the first black woman to earn a PhD in nuclear engineering from MIT

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When Mareena Robinson Snowden walked across the commencement stage at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.) on June 8th, she became the first black woman to earn a Ph.D. in nuclear engineering from the storied university.

For her, there was one particular word that the experience brought to mind: grateful.

“Grateful for every part of this experience — highs and lows,” she wrote on Instagram. “Every person who supported me and those who didn’t. Grateful for a praying family, a husband who took on this challenge as his own, sisters who reminded me at every stage how powerful I am, friends who inspired me to fight harder. Grateful for the professors who fought for and against me. Every experience on this journey was necessary, and I’m better for it.”

Snowden’s Ph.D. was the culmination of 11 years of post-secondary study. But the 30-year-old tells CNBC Make It that a career in STEM wasn’t something she dreamed of as a child.

“Engineering definitely was not something I had a passion for at a young age,” she says. “I was quite the opposite. I think my earliest memories of math and science were definitely one of like nervousness and anxiety and just kind of an overall fear of the subject.”

She credits her high school math and physics teachers with helping to expand her interests beyond English and history, subjects she loved.

“I had this idea that I wasn’t good at math and they kind of helped to peel away that mindset,” she explains. “They showed me that it’s more of a growth situation, that you can develop an aptitude for this and you can develop a skill. It’s just like a muscle, and you have to work for it.”

When Snowden, who grew up in Miami, was in the 12th grade and studying physics, she and her dad were introduced to a friend of a friend who worked in the physics department at Florida A&M University. At the time, she says, she was considering colleges and decided to make a visit to the campus.

“We drove up there and it was amazing,” says Snowden. “They treated me like a football player who was getting recruited. They took me to the scholarship office, and they didn’t know anything about me at the time. All they knew was that I was a student who was open to the possibility of majoring in physics.”

Continue onto CNBC News to read the complete article.

Top 5 STEM Jobs

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Black software engineer

As more and more jobs come under threat from automation, many Americans, particularly college freshmen, would be wise to enter a science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) field, according to one workplace authority.

“Technology is advancing at a record-setting pace, and the workforce needs to reflect this trend. The jobs of the future, no matter the industry or level, are no doubt going to involve at least a rudimentary knowledge of technology. Those who enter a STEM profession will have a leg-up in the new economy,” said John Challenger, chief executive officer of global outplacement and executive coaching firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

According to the Department of Education (DOE), studying science or math in college leads to a higher employment rate and salary than other majors after graduation. Indeed, the STEM fields have shown an increase in total postings over the past several years. In fact, in May 2015, there were nearly 8.6 million STEM jobs or 6.2 percent of US employment, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Employment in STEM occupations grew by 10.5 percent, or 817,260 jobs, between May 2009 and May 2015, compared with 5.2 percent net growth in non-STEM occupations, according to the BLS. Computer occupations and engineers were among the categories of STEM with the highest job gains, too.

The STEM group that has the highest projected growth is the mathematical science occupations group, at 28.2 percent growth, compared to the 6.5 percent average projected growth for all occupations. This group includes occupations such as statistician, mathematicians, actuaries, etc.

Computer occupations make up the highest representation of STEM jobs. In May 2015, they made up nearly 45 percent of STEM employment, with engineers following in second making up 19 percent. Computer occupations also show the highest projected job openings according to the BLS. “The computer occupational group is projected to yield over 1 million job openings from 2014 to 2024, with the smallest number of projected job openings in the architect, surveyors, and cartographers group, at only 52,500 projected openings.”

While women are increasingly prominent in medicine, law, and business, they are underrepresented in STEM fields.

“Women are an important aspect of any workplace, as is all diversity hiring. According to McKinsey, companies with a racially and ethnically diverse workforce outperform industry standards by 35 percent, and those with high gender diversity outperform by 15 percent.

“Companies, especially those who primarily recruit from one of the STEM fields, would be wise to invest in implementing diverse hiring practices, as well as programs that encourage women and minorities to enter STEM fields,” Challenger said.

The wages for STEM occupations vary vastly, but the national average wage for all STEM occupations was $87,570, according to the BLS. This is nearly double the average wage for non-STEM occupations ($45,700). Additionally, 93 percent of STEM occupations had wages higher than the national average mean wage. The highest paying STEM occupation is petroleum engineers with an annual mean wage of $149,590—more than $100,000 higher than the national average across all occupations.

Challenger offered a list of the top five STEM jobs.

  1. Computer Systems Analysts – Implement and design computer systems for an organization.• 118,600 Projected Jobs
    • $85,800 Median Salary
    • 2.4% Unemployment Rate
  2. Statisticians – Collect and analyze data to solve problems or create efficiency within an organization.
  • 10,100 Projected Jobs
    • $80,110 Median Salary
    • 0.8% Unemployment Rate
  1. Software Developers – Create programs that allow people to work more efficiently or perform new tasks.
  • 135,300 Projected Jobs
    • $98,260 Median Salary
    • 2.0% Unemployment Rate
  1. Mathematicians – Apply mathematical techniques to analyze data. These workers typically work for the federal government and public and private engineering and science research.
  • 700 Projected Jobs
    • $111,110 Median Salary
    • 0.8% Unemployment Rate
  1. Financial Advisors – Advise consumers and businesses on best ways to manage assets.
  • 73,900 Projected Jobs
    • $89,160 Median Salary
    • 2.0% Unemployment Rate

Source: challengergray.com

A Scientist-Turned-Investor Is Helping Female Entrepreneurs Build And Scale Their Businesses

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Dr. Silvia Mah, investor and founding partner at Ad Astra Ventures, and her team are equipping female entrepreneurs to build, run and scale investable businesses. With her primary focus on empowering, nurturing and launching women-owned businesses, Mah is investing in new ventures that allow women to break through barriers in order to excel.

In addition, Mah serves as the Executive Director of Hera Labs, a business accelerator for women-owned small businesses. She also is the founding member of Hera Angels, an early stage female angel group.

Initially, Mah earned her doctorate (Ph.D.) in Molecular Marine Biology preparing to work as a researcher in a lab. Her pivot to investing began the day she was offered a position to lead a program focused on service learning projects for multidisciplinary undergraduate engineering students at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Working with the students ignited her entrepreneurial spirit. She knew she wanted her next step to be in business, wanting to work with scientific companies. “I really wanted to be in this arena of commercialization and service learning,” she stated. “I began asking myself ‘how do I teach these students to be entrepreneurial as engineers?’” In order to prepare for her next pivot, she went back to school and earned a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Rady School of Business at UCSD.

“During that time,” Mah details, “my father passed away. He was an entrepreneur in Venezuela. I received an inheritance. Instantly, I became an investor. I didn’t want to buy a new house, I wanted to purposefully ‘give it away’. I thought this was pretty cool because as an entrepreneurial advocate, and a startup advocate, I knew access to capital is the number one thing that is so challenging for entrepreneurs. I also saw women are not getting enough funding, but I could actually make a big impact with the inheritance I received. So I became an investor in only female and minority-led startups. Fast forward, I have 21 companies in my portfolio.”

Working as a scientist enabled her to develop a strong foundation, which ultimately made it easier for her to transition to the investment world. “There are two things going on here,” Mah recollects. “One is a practical thing, and the other one’s more strategic. The practical aspect is that a lot of investors, or what I come up against, is that the science part of it, or the engineering part of it is a little bit daunting. Most investors have had great businesses and they understand the business side of it [investing], and then they come to the science part. They’re like, ‘oh, my gosh, I don’t understand it.’ For me, I understand the science part because I’ve been in the field.”

“The strategic part of it,” she continues, “is more that the scientific method is similar to the business development method.”

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Google is working with community colleges to train future IT professionals

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Google is going back to college. The company announced today that it is bringing its IT Support Professional Certificate to over 25 community colleges to help graduates get in on the estimated 150,000 well-paying jobs currently open in IT departments around the country. The program will be available in the 2018-2019 school year. Google will also help workforce development nonprofit JFF expand its work in seven states, including California, Texas, New York, and Michigan.

The new community college program comes from its Grow with Google program, which helps workers improve their digital skills to prepare them for the new online economy. Launched in January on the Coursera learning platform, Google’s IT Support Professional Certificate takes students from know-nothings to know-it-all IT professionals in about eight months, no previous experience required. Some 40,000 people have already enrolled in the program, and the new community college outreach should add to the rolls.

There’s also some job-hunting help: Graduates of the online program can now share their information directly with more than 20 top employers who are looking to hire IT support talent, including Bank of America, Walmart, Sprint, GE Digital, PNC Bank, Infosys, TEKSystems, UPMC, and Google itself. Today, Google announced 14 more companies have signed on to consider resumes from applicants who have completed the online program.

Continue onto Fast Company to read the complete article.

How Today’s Google Doodle, Dr. Virginia Apgar, Made A Big Difference

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Today is the birthday of Dr. Virginia Apgar, who has helped make many, many, many birthdays possible.  The pioneering doctor lived from June 7, 1909, to August 7, 1974, and is the subject of today’s Google Doodle. You can’t really go through medical school without knowing Apgar’s name, at least her last name. Here’s why.

In 1952, Dr. Apgar unveiled the Apgar score. Besides being her last name, Apgar stands for the following five domains “Appearance, Pulse, Grimace, Activity, and Respiration” of the score. Basically 1 minute and 5 minutes after a baby is born, doctors, nurses, and midwives will score the baby from 0 to 2 (with 2 being the best) for each of these domains. The following table from the KidsHealth website shows how this scoring is done:

You then sum the 5 domain scores to get a sense of the baby’s overall health. If you do the math, you will see that the total score can range from a 0 to a 10 with a higher score being better. A baby rarely scores a 10, because most babies have at least blue hands and feet when they are born (hey, life ain’t easy and not everyone is the best at everything). A score of 7 or higher is normal. Lower than 7 merits immediate medical attention such as potentially oxygen, clearing out the airway, or physical stimulation to get the heart beating faster as the U.S. National Library of Medicine describes. Time may be all that the baby needs, since low scores at 1 minute frequently become normal at 5 minutes. Sometimes a doctor, nurse, or midwife may check an Apgar score 10 minutes after birth if any questions remain.

Of course, an Apgar score is only an immediate assessment and usually does not forecast either good or bad health in the future. So putting your good Apgar score on your resume will impress no one. A high Apgar score doesn’t necessarily mean that everything will be beer and Skittles from thereon. Similarly babies with low initial Apgar scores can go on to have very healthy lives.

While it may seem routine now, using a standardized way to check a baby’s health was not standard practice before Dr. Apgar invented the score. Newborn care was a lot more haphazard, making survival among infants, especially those born prematurely, more challenging.

It was an accomplishment for Dr. Apgar even to get to a position to make such an important invention. Back when she graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1929 and then from the Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1933, the “Apgar” score for the medical careers of women and minorities was very, very low. Very few were even allowed into medical school, let alone progress in their careers afterwards. But Dr. Apgar was a persistent pioneer, eventually becoming the first woman to achieve the rank of full professor at her medical alma mater in 1949. Things aren’t smooth sailing for women and minorities today in medical and academic careers. But you can thank Dr. Apgar for at least making some initial inroads.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.