Long before the world began seeking STEM - science, technology, engineering, and mathematics - education for girls, American Maria Mitchell proved that women were capable of achieving worldwide acclaim for brilliant reasoning and discoveries. Born to a Quaker family in 1818 Nantucket, Mitchell had opportunities unavailable to other girls of the time. The Quakers believed boys and girls should be educated, so Maria attended public schools. She also had the benefit of her father's tutelage. At an early age, she loved to perform the complex navigational computations requested by sailors.