As part of Indiana Humanities’ Quantum Leap initiative, the first-ever Hoosier Women in STEM Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon took place Saturday, Oct. 21 at the Indiana State Library. We explored the intersection of science and the humanities by coming together to improve the recognition of Hoosier women in STEM on Wikipedia. Our experiment yielded fruitful results; 42 people at the event contributed to 870 edits in 99 articles and 35,500 words added to Wikipedia! The enthusiasm generated by attendees is inspiring—at least three groups left the event wanting to take the leap to host their own edit-a-thon in the future. Check out the articles linked below for a peek at just a few of the hundreds of edits to Hoosier history on Wikipedia made during the event. The first two links are completely new articles created by attendees, the last two are pre-existing articles that attendees improved.
– Frances Ekstam (Jan. 6, 1914 – Jan. 18, 2005). A native of Des Moines, Iowa, she was the founder of the physical therapy program at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
– Cora Barbara Hennel (Jan. 21, 1886 – June 26, 1947). Cora was an Indiana mathematician active in the first half of the 20th century.
– Agnes Ermina Wells, Ph.D. (Jan. 4, 1876 – July 6, 1959). The Michigan native was an educator and a women’s equal rights movement activist. At Indiana University she served as the dean of women and as a professor of mathematics and astronomy.
Thank you to everyone who came out to spend a Saturday getting their hands on history and improving the presence of Hoosier women’s contributions to STEM on Wikipedia. Thanks also to the stellar team that made it happen—we couldn’t have done it without you: Elaine Rosa at the Indiana Historical Society, Marcia Caudell at the Indiana State Library, Jill Weiss and Nicole Poletika at the Indiana Historical Bureau, Jeannie Reagan-Dinius and Sam Opsahl at the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology, and the staff at Indiana Humanities.
We all know that Wikipedia is a starting point for anyone looking to learn something online, and in one day we managed to make a huge contribution to the recognition of Hoosier women on that platform. But it doesn’t stop there: we had such a fun day full of research, writing and fellowship with Hoosier history lovers from across the state that some participants chose to continue to make edits to Wikipedia beyond the weekend. Feeling left out? Take in some tweets with the hashtag #QLeditathon to learn more. I hope you’ll consider putting your love of the humanities into action and participate in an Edit-a-Thon in the future. Who knows, there might even be a second Hoosier Women Edit-a-Thon next year—stay tuned!