Celebrating the Women of Bronx Science


Tiffany Chen

The story of her grandmother has motivated Xiang Li ’19 to remain optimistic in the face of any challenge.

This past March 2019 was Women’s History Month, dedicated to celebrating the achievements and contributions made by women to society. The month of March was officially declared in 1987 by Congress to be Women’s History Month. The transition of women from housewives to educators, activists, artists, and more is evidence of the increasing role of women as they share their knowledge and experiences with younger generations.

Some of Bronx Science’s own alumni have gone on to be leaders in their professions. Engineer Lisa Su ’86 began her journey as a research staff member at IBM, working her way into the Chief Technology Officer position at Freescale and then Chief Executive Officer of AMD,  a leading semiconductor company. She was also named a “Top Innovator under 35” by the ‘MIT Technology Review.’

This year, after visiting Bronx Science, Su gave away two computers in a raffle and donated a classroom of computers to Room 006, one of the school’s computer labs. With a transparent side of the monitor lit by LEDs on the interior and faster CPUs, many students were grateful for the new technology. “For the past few years, we only had access to computers that took a long time to load and log in. These new computers, although meant for gaming, are much faster and have a modern appearance,” said Anna Chen ’19. Through her assistance in developing this technology and her contribution back to her school, Su is one of the multiple inspirational stories of Bronx Science alumna.

It was a traumatic experience for her but thinking back, she said she only remembered the positive aspects of it,” said Xiang Li ’19.

Likewise, Jill Bargonetti ’80, Professor of Biology at Hunter College and a grantee at the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, has paved her own career in breast cancer research.  Focusing her study on the p53 protein, a regulator in the cell cycle and a key component of triple negative breast cancers, Bargonetti has been presented many awards, such as the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers in 1997. As a result of her studies, Bargonetti has led the way to more personalized treatments for those afflicted with breast cancer. “In order to attack an issue at its root, a scientist needs to understand all aspects that could be part of the cause, affected by the issue, and what needs to be tested in order to find a solution,” said Emily Wang ’19. Many can agree that research is no easy feat and especially with issues that affect many people, one needs to have a certain level of dedication and experience to tackle the challenge.

While these women are well known in their respective fields, other women have also made an impact directly on the lives of Bronx Science students. “I look up to my grandma, because I remember the times she told me about her childhood, growing up during World War II and living in constant fear. It was a traumatic experience for her but thinking back, she said she only remembered the positive aspects of it. She would talk about the time she spent with her family and the days she spent catching fish by the lake,” said Xiang Li ’19. Having lived through World War II and raised six children by herself, Li’s grandma had to take any opportunity that came her way and worked extremely hard in order to provide for her family. Although she passed away suddenly, the stories and memories she left behind remained with Li and her family.

These strong, independent women who have used their own experiences to find solutions to problems and inspire more women to pursue whatever fields they wish are truly living evidence of the significance of women to the advancement of humanity.