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Theater

Downers Grove AAUW and PriMerry Players to highlight women in STEM

Original 'read-n-actment' to bring unsung history to life

Debbie Guptill (from left) and Joyce Tumea, both of Downers Grove, and Maureen Murphy of Wheaton rehearse their roles in an upcoming production of "Stirring Stories of Women in STEM," a women's history program written by Tumea and presented by the PriMerry Players.
Debbie Guptill (from left) and Joyce Tumea, both of Downers Grove, and Maureen Murphy of Wheaton rehearse their roles in an upcoming production of "Stirring Stories of Women in STEM," a women's history program written by Tumea and presented by the PriMerry Players.

DOWNERS GROVE – With her telescope, librarian Maria Mitchell of Nantucket, Massachusetts, discovered a comet invisible to the naked eye. The 1847 event won her international fame and a new career as an astronomer.

Accomplishments like Mitchell’s will be highlighted in “Stirring Stories of Women in STEM,” presented at 7 p.m. March 10 in Downers Grove for Women’s History Month, a news release stated. The program is part play and part lecture, with narrative and dialogue, poetry, humor and drama.

Mitchell is an example of an early success story regarding a female in a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) field, stated Joyce Tumea of Downers Grove, who wrote the script for the program. In the release, she cites even earlier success stories, such as Hypatia of ancient Egypt, who was renowned as a mathematician.

Learning about these women and many others like them is important because the percentage of women and girls in STEM fields is still very low, Tumea said. Females need to be inspired and encouraged by the examples set for them by other women in history. Many such success stories only came about after these women faced major obstacles. Roadblocks included initially not being allowed to even study the subjects and then having credit for their discoveries and patents claimed by male colleagues.

Today, such women are finally getting the recognition they deserve and are taking their place in history books, Tumea said. As part of the effort to raise awareness about females in STEM, the program is offered by the Downers Grove Area Branch of the American Association of University Women, which also represents Lisle, Darien, Woodridge and Westmont.

Tumea and members of her PriMerry Players will present the original “read-’n-actment,” or with-script performance, which lasts about 45 minutes and is free to the public.

If you go

WHAT: “Stirring Stories of Women in STEM”

WHERE: Downers Grove Public Library, 1050 Curtiss St.

WHEN: 7 p.m. March 10

COST: Free

INFO: 630-621-5416; downersgrove-il.aauw.net

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