Friday, June 29, 2007

Women in Science Friday Link Roundup

Articles and posts from the past week I didn't get around to blogging:

Harvard physicist Lisa Randall "enters the Seed Salon to discuss shape, magic tricks, and the definition of "see" with architect/designer" Chuck Hoberman.

Voice of America broadcast a program on the "Mercury 13." You can download the MP3 or read the transcript.

Afarensis links to a video interview with Dr. Louise Leakey on the Archaeology Channel about human evolution.

So Sioux Me explains how the Discovery Channel's Mythbusters is "a fantastic way to empower girls." Who says girls don't enjoy blowing stuff up? of Bombay, India writes about three young women "from very economically disadvantaged backgrounds" who are pursuing engineering degrees, supported by the L'Oréal India Scholarship for Young Women in Science.

These are all the first ever engineers in their respective families! And they hope others follow in their footsteps. As [Scholarship recipient] Devika wisely says, “I have learnt from my own life that you can make it even without the finances, provided you develop your talents and have a goal you are aspiring toward. Parents must support their girls to study further, and not worry about where the money will come from because where there is a will, there is a way.”
Voice of America profiles two of Burkina Faso's professional women: government mediator Amina Ouedraogo, and Alice Tiendrebeogo, a founder and vice president of the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE). They are exceptions in a country where only one quarter of the girls complete primary school, and 80% never learn to read.

[Tiendrebeogo] recounts an experience at a summer science camp for teenage girls, which featured evening talks with women with successful careers in science.

"At the beginning of the camp, we asked the girls what they wanted to be when they grew up, and all their ideas were of traditional female professions, like primary school teachers or typists," she recalled. "By the end of the camp, the girls were more forward-thinking, Tiendrebeogo says. They said they wanted to be engineers, university professors, doctors.

Cary Tennis tackles the issue of the "two body problem" at when a graduate student in analytical chemistry writes that his girlfriend is heading to Berkeley, while he is still finishing up grad school and just received an offer from a lab in Toronto. Tennis doesn't think it's so complicated:
Whose career has priority right now? I think hers does, since she has already accepted a position. Hers also does for her personally, since she is trying to reverse a gender-based legacy. That can be touchy for couples. Duh. Plus, this whole reversing a gender-based legacy thing is not foolproof: We find in reversing the mistakes of our parents that we make equal and opposite mistakes. But since she's made the first move, yours is, for now, the subordinate position. So deal with it.
The Boston Globe reports on the dilemma of Sophie Currier, who needs to pass National Board of Medical Examiners by August to start her medical residence. The problem? She is breastfeeding her 7-month-old daughter, but is unable to get extra break time during the 9 hour exam to express milk, since that is not considered a disability covered by the American with Disabilities Act. She is also not allowed to use the breast pump inside the testing room, and the whole situation is complicated by the fact that Currier is already being allowed extra time to take the exam for a disability.

Tara Bishop writes about "Dr. Mom: The Truth about the Mommy Track" for MIT Alumni News.

I wasn't completely comfortable quitting my job, so I told people that I was "taking a break." In fact, I was embarrassed to be wasting an undergraduate degree from MIT in chemical engineering and a medical degree from Cornell. Before my son was born, I read the "Opt-Out Revolution" in the New York Times and saw a Sixty Minutes segment about highly educated and successful women who gave up their work to be home with their kids. At the time, I vowed never to sacrifice my career.

Five years later, I found myself doing exactly that. The first few weeks at home were a series of adjustments. I went to the playground and tried to become friends with other stay-at-home moms. I beamed as my son played his mini guitar better than all the other kids in his music class. I loved that I once again had time to read novels.

But I was also very, very bored.
Bishop ultimately decided she made the right choice. She is planning to go back to work when her sons are in preschool.

IT Pro reports on the UK Resource Centre for Women in Science, Engineering and Technology seminar last week.
Dr Wendy Faulkner of the University of Edinburgh told attendees that women workers are turned away from the sector because of poor work-life balance and a male dominated culture. "The sector is more comfortable to men than women," she said.
The LaCrosse (Wisconsin) Tribune takes a look at the some myths in the battle of the sexes, including "Women aren’t as good at science and math".
“(Women) don’t have good role models,” Sudhakaran said. “I see girls when I teach general education courses who are so talented, so smart, and I always ask them why they didn’t go for science and engineering because they’re so good at it. They say, �my parents told me that science is not for girls.’

Articles about summer science programs for girls:

NASA Ames Research Center in California is collaborating with the Girl Scouts of the San Francisco Bay Area for the "Launch into Technology Program." Fifty high school-aged Girl Scouts will have two week-long programs, one on robotics, and one on aeronautics. ABC7 News has a video segment on the program.

The University of St. Thomas in Minnesota has a program after which "seventh-grade girls from throughout Minnesota will have built and flown their own radio-controlled model airplanes." The airplanes are built completely from scratch, based on information the girls learn in classes on plastics, electricity, machining, computer-aided design, assembly, Web design, chemistry, physics, engineering and robotics. There are four one-week sessions of the STEPS program in July.

The Bridgwater (UK) Mercury writes about the WISE (Women Into Science and Engineering) project at Robert Blake Science College that "gave girls from four Somerset schools the chance to release their inner Einsteins." The girls each constructed a "fully functioning perfume emitting, aromatherapy fan," which seem like a bizarre choice of engineering projects to me. Hopefully the girls enjoyed it.

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Anonymous said...

Those are some interesting links esp. the two about the physicians.