UPDATED 14:38 EDT / MAY 28 2014

Biohacking + other cool ways to attract young women to science | #EMCWorld

EMC World - Nina TandonIf you look at data from social networks, the ratio between male and female users is pretty much split down the middle. There are plenty of women interested in technology, but there just aren’t many working in the industry.

How can we get more women into tech? In an interview with John Furrier at EMC World earlier this month, Nina Tandon, CEO of EpiBone, and Stella Low, VP of Global Communications at EMC, discussed how to get girls interested in technology and why EMC Women of World offers a great way for women to connect.

Advice for young women interested in tech and science


One piece of advice Tandon offered to get girls interested in tech and science at a young age is to have them play with toys. She said that Lego is rethinking products for boys and girls and also mentioned GoldiBlox and littleBits as toys that are all about making complex circuits and mechanical structures fun and interesting.

Tandon said going to biohacking spaces is a great way to learn how to play with biology. Biohacking spaces are like maker spaces for biology. Anyone can visit them to learn how to hack DNA, and they’re popping up in major cities around the world. “You don’t have to be in a PhD program to learn to play with bio,” added Tandon.

In addition to studying these subjects in school, Low said getting kids into nature is a good way to spark their curiosity. She said her daughter loves observing the environment and animals, and is inquisitive about understanding how they work.

Cool stuff going on in Biology


Tandon’s organization, EpiBone, is an example what cool things can be accomplished in science and technology. EpiBone created the world’s first growing, living human bones for skeletal reconstructions. Tandon said she viewed cells as a different kind of technology that could interact with traditional technology.

“In our case, we’re using that to be able to grow living body parts for people that can hopefully disrupt organ donation and skeletal reconstruction and the like,” said Tandon referring to EpiBone’s work.

Tandon believes biology, overall, is moving forward. Those in the field of tissue engineering can imagine growing structures out of cells. Mixed with genetic engineering, they can even start to consider things that can be built out of cells that are reprogrammed to do things that those cells wouldn’t naturally do. Tandon stated she’s excited about the interface between those living systems and traditional technologies, which is where the Internet of Things, quantified self and other similar things come into play when you start considering living implants for the body.

Women of World


When young women enter into technology, an excellent way to connect with other women in this field is by getting involved in EMC Women of World. Now going for eight years, Women of World is an event organized by EMC where women can formally get together to talk about challenges they’re facing, as well as share their interests and values. Low said it shows women that it’s cool to be in tech and in business as well.

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