Did you know that only about two of every five full-time scientists and engineers in the United States are women? For the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we honor the scientific achievements of women and girls, including some of our own recent female Addiction Science Award winners, who make up more than half of the winners from the past 5 years—10 out of 17!
Here are some of the young women whose scientific research has been recognized by NIDA over the past few years.
Mia Yu and Daphne Liu received first place at the 2018 Addiction Science Awards for their work in helping identify unreported suicides. They developed a bioinformatics program that can better identify when a death resulting from a drug overdose is a suicide. Their work could improve the ways treatment professionals recognize and help people who have both drug problems and other mental health problems.
Emily Garcia of Texas received an honorable mention at the 2018 Addiction Science Awards for her work on a safe drug disposal project. Emily’s project focused on helping parents safely manage medicines in the home. She discovered (among other things) that parents who felt confident about their plans and abilities to safely store medication were more likely to intentionally store medicines correctly. This type of confidence (called self-efficacy), paired with the facts about safely storing medication, is a powerful combination that could help reduce opioid misuse.
Nkima Stephenson of Georgia won the second place Addiction Science Award in 2017. Nkima looked at data on genes directly related to alcohol exposure and at data on genes modified by environmental influences and related to alcohol exposure. In comparing the two groups of genes, she identified genetic and environmental factors that could indicate when someone is more likely to have a drug problem. Nkima’s work is now part of a gene database used by researchers around the world!
These young women, and many others like them, are helping to inspire more women to join the field of science. Learn more about the Science Fair Award for Addiction Science and find your own scientific inspiration!