Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Iowa State University
Website URL
women, gender, engineering, technology, science, medicine, STEM, engineers, education, universities
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

AMY SUE BIX is Professor of History at Iowa State University and director of ISU’s Center for Historical Studies of Technology and Science. Her book ‘Girls Coming to Tech!’: A History of American Engineering Education for Womenwas published by MIT Press in December, 2013. That work analyzes the story of how women gained entrance to the traditionally male field of engineering in American higher education, looking at both individual experiences and institutional evolution. Her book explores the history of female engineering students before and during World War II, as well as three detailed case studies of postwar engineering coeducation, at Georgia Tech, Caltech, and MIT. In 2015,Girls Coming to Tech won the Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize from the History of Science Society, awarded every other year in recognition of an outstanding book on the history of women in science.

Bix has also published a number of articles, book chapters, and essays connected to her specialty in the history of women and gender in science, technology, and medicine.  Her subjects include the history of gender and alternative medicine, breast cancer and AIDS research funding, gender and the body in Islamic culture, gendered consumerism and home repair, and the history of female aviators, physicians, and home economists.

Bix also publishes more broadly in the history of science, technology, and medicine. Her book Inventing Ourselves Out of Jobs?: America’sDebate over Technological Unemployment, 1929-1981appeared with Johns Hopkins University Press in 2000.  She co-authored The Future is Now: Science and Technology Policy in America Since 1950with Alan Marcus (Humanity Books/Prometheus Press, 2007).Bix has also published on the history of eugenics, post-WWII physics and engineering, and steampunk culture.

Bix’s new book in progress is Recruiting Engineer Jane and Astrophysicist Amy: American STEM Advocacy for Girls, 1965-2015. One of the most distinctive changes in recent science and technology is not a specific discovery or technique, but rather a powerful cultural shift, the commitment to bring more young women into STEM. Fifty years ago, American leaders, teachers, and parents encouraged boys to become scientists and engineerswhile discouraging girls, both reflecting and reinforcing those fields’ long associations with masculinity. Today, the White House, major corporations, and influential organizations devote enormous effort and funding to promote STEM enthusiasm among K-12 girls and other under-represented groups. Thousands of scientists and engineers, activists, celebrities, Girl Scout troops, schools, museums, parents, and children themselves have joined the mission for re-envisioning the future of science and engineering, careers long assumed to belong primarily to relatively well-off white men.  Bix’s analysis traces the intellectual, political, and social history of how, when, and why such gendered advocacy became integral to modern STEM communities, and examines the way that K-12 diversity outreach both reflected and spurred discussion about gender roles, education, and the nature of science and engineering itself.

Bix served as executive secretary of the Society for the History of Technology for 2004-2008 and as senior associate editor of the National Women’s Studies Association Journalfor 2003-2007.In 2015, Bix won the IEEE-USA Award for Distinguished Literary Contributions Furthering Public Understanding and the Advancement of the Engineering Profession, and in 2014, she won the Betty Vetter Award for Research from WEPAN (Women in Engineering ProActive Network), recognizing notable achievement in research related to women in engineering. In 2015, Bix received an Outstanding Achievement in Teaching award from ISU’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and in 2017, she received ISU’s LAS Outstanding Research Award.


Recent Publications

Girls Coming to Tech!: A History of American Engineering Education for Women; (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013). Winner of the 2015 Margaret W. Rossiter History of Women in Science Prize, from the History of Science Society, awarded every other year in recognition of an outstanding book on the history of women in science.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Higher Ed, Medicine, Science, Sexuality, Technology, Women