Maryam Mirzakhani (1977-2017) was an Iranian mathematician who was the first woman and Iranian to be awarded the Fields medal for her work in dynamics and geometry of Riemann surfaces and their moduli spaces. As a high schooler, she had won gold medals in international math olympiads and went on later to get a PhD in mathematics from Harvard. At age 27, she became a fellow and a professor at Princeton University and began teaching at Stanford University some years later. In 2013, Mirzakhani was diagnosed with breast cancer and sadly passed away in 2017. Her trailblazing career and contributions have paved the way forward for several women mathematicians to this day.
Sheryl Sandberg is a highly successful American entrepreneur known for her esteemed executive positions at big-tech companies Apple, Google, Yahoo, and Facebook. Sandberg completed her master’s degree in business administration at Harvard University and soon joined Google, Facebook, and more. Unfortunately, she received heavy criticism for taking on several significant roles in male-dominated big-tech corporations. In 2013, she wrote her best-selling book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, which garnered waves of self-empowered feminism everywhere.