“The greatest benefit derived from the study of science is that it lifts you out of and above the littleness of daily trials.”

~ Maria Mitchell, Astronomer (1818-1889)

Welcome to STEM-Inspirations! Do you want to inspire

  • Yourself
  • Your students
  • Your friends and family

to pursue a career in STEM (Science+Technology+Engineering+Math)?

Who are your STEM Inspirations?

My dad was a nuclear engineer and my very first STEM Inspiration. Growing up in Atomic City, U.S.A. (Oak Ridge, Tennessee) I was surrounded by more Ph.D. scientists than the average kid. My dad, my cousin and my brother, all worked at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where not too many years earlier, the nuclear fuel for the first atomic bomb was developed in secret. You might say that my entire hometown was a STEM Inspiration!

When I was in the 5th grade and finished my seatwork before the rest of the class, Mrs. Hamrick let met visit the school library. That’s where I met the African American scientist & inventor George Washington Carver in a biography that still inspires me today – he became an early STEM Inspiration!

I loved books and I loved art, but I was good in math, so I struggled with choosing a college major. One of my teenage STEM Inspirations was oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, who I watched brave the waters of the deep on his weekly TV show, The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau. A female cousin of mine worked at the The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts—yet another STEM Inspiration.

In My Father’s Footsteps

Though I considered majoring in marine biology like my cousin, ultimately, I followed in my father’s footsteps, studying environmental engineering at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. I graduated in 1977, not long after the Women’s Movement began to impact the world of work.

At the time, many more women decided to go into science and engineering, but it would take awhile for the culture of work to adjust.

Like many female engineers of that era I never felt fully at home in the culture, and ultimately followed a different path by combining my engineering knowhow with my creative, bookish side. I took a job as editor of a technical magazine and later became a science writer for organizations such as the National Science Foundation, AT&T Bell Laboratories, and many others. I had discovered a different type of STEM career that suited my exact skills and interests!

[Download this free STEM e-book]

How do you spark interest—in yourself or your students—to carry through with the hard work it takes to achieve a career in STEM?

Throughout history and in different cultures all over the world, women have often found it hard to participate in the pursuit of STEM.

More and more we see that changing as determined and talented women and cultural minorities continue breaking barriers to entry in STEM fields.

The life stories of remarkable scientists, mathematicians, and engineers, such as Ada Lovelace, Marie Curie, and Mae Jemison, provide the kind of STEM Inspiration we need to help build confidence and break through these barriers.

This site is dedicated to telling the stories of those who have made—and are now making—a contribution through STEM, in order to inspire the next generation of young scientists and engineers.

STEM-Inspirations™ creates books & resources to educate and inspire young people to pursue careers in Science+Technology+Engineering+Math.

Visit us at Amazon for unique publications for your school, homeschool, science club, STEM camp—or just for yourself!


52 Inspirational Quotes by Women in Computer Science & IT: A Journal for Reflection

“There’s so many exciting things going on in the computer industry, that if you have an idea, a dream, something that you want to do, then just go for it.” ~ Stephanie Shirley, Founder of software company in 1962 staffed completely by Women This journal will stimulate and inspire current and future computer scientists, mathematicians, …

STEM Science Fair Projects Help Students Prepare for Real-Life Careers

Science fair projects are a great way for students to test out their interest and aptitude for a career in STEM (science-technology-engineering-math). But they shouldn’t choose just any old topic. Try to focus on projects with real-world applications that will give them some experience in a good-paying job field, like engineering. With planning and hard …

52 Inspirational Quotes by African Americans in STEM: A Journal for Reflection

“I think every one of us has the power to be a genius. I was not born a genius; it was nurtured in me by my father.” ~ Philip Emeagwali, High-Performance Computing Pioneer This journal will stimulate and inspire current and future scientists, mathematicians, and engineers from age 12 to 112. Makes a great graduation …


My STEM Story

By Holly B. Martin

My story as a woman in STEM began many years ago when I graduated from college with a degree in environmental engineering.

[Download a free STEM e-book here]

For my first engineering job, I worked with a group of researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. We were looking for ways to use the extra heat created by nuclear power plants. The heat comes in the form of hot water, which is stored in cooling ponds before it’s released into nearby rivers. That way it doesn’t endanger the local aquatic life.

To make good use of the excess (or waste) heat, the researchers in my group wanted to try farming a type of tropical fish called tilapia in the warmer water. To prove their concept, they grew tilapia in cages floating in the lab’s sewage treatment pond. The pond’s warm waters would simulate power plant waste heat and the algae growing in the pond would serve as food for the fish.

In the Middle of a Sewage Pond

My job every morning was to row a small boat out to the middle of the pond, pull up the cages full of fish. Then I took each fish out of its cage to weigh and measure it to see how well it was growing.

“My work badge soared in a perfect arc up into the air and splashed down into the murky water.”

One memorable day after measuring the last fish, I reared back to toss the cage into the pond. My work badge caught on a wet, slimy rope attached to a float. The badge soared in a perfect arc up into the air and splashed down into the murky water, never to be seen again.

Writing about STEM

Shortly after the sewage pond episode, I moved to a new job at The Aerospace Corporation in Los Angeles. Seven years later, I made a career change from engineering to editing a technical magazine. Almost overnight, I went from preparing project management charts to writing and editing articles on lasers and fiber optics.

Since then I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing and writing about a number of women in STEM for a wide variety of clients. Here are just some of their stories:

Click here for a free downloadable e-book on Women in STEM careers, based on my interview with Mary L. Spaeth, inventor of the first tunable laser.

Love STEM and love to write? Check out my book, 52 Inspirational Quotes by Women in STEM: A Journal for Reflection – available on Amazon.

About the Author

Holly B. Martin is a former engineer who homeschooled her five children for many years. Now a freelance science writer for organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, AT&T, and others, she regularly interviews scientists & engineers to write articles for magazines and websites. Out of these experiences, Holly has created books and interactive resources featuring the lives and words of famous scientists to inspire young people to pursue careers in STEM.

Visit Holly’s industrial B2B copywriting website at www.hollybmartin.com.

Inspiring Quotes by Women in STEM

[Click here to download a free e-book on Women in STEM]

“I remember that already as a child I was often intensely interested in things, obsessed by ideas and projects in many areas, and in these topics I learned much on my own, reading books.”

~ Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard, 1995 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine


“I was captured for life by chemistry and by crystals.”

~ Dorothy Crowfoot Hodgkin, 1964 Nobel Prize in Chemistry


“It was like a new world opened to me, the world of science, which I was at last permitted to know in all liberty.”

~ Marie Curie, 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics and 1911 Nobel Prize in Chemistry

For more quotes like these, check out my book 52 Inspirational Quotes by Women in STEM: A Journal for Reflection on Amazon.


[Check out my free STEM e-book]

For more downloadable STEM resources, visit my store at Teachers Pay Teachers.

In addition to science class or homeschool coop curriculum, STEM-Inspirations™ books by Holly B. Martin make great prizes, gifts or handouts for students and club members, as well as promotional giveaways and incentives at conventions, science fairs, STEM camps, robotics competitions, and career fairs.

Educators, non-profits, and other groups looking for bulk discounts and customized or branded books please contact us at info@stem-inspirations.com. Thank you!