The PSU AWG group presented a poster at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, CA. We had a great time talking about the work that our chapter has been doing and meeting with other groups that promote diversity, inclusion, equity, and access.
Student led organizations as a mechanism for improving department culture
The Penn State University student chapter of the Association for Women Geoscientists (AWG), an international organization devoted to enhancing the experience of women geoscientists, was founded in 2012. The PSU AWG chapter established programs that broaden access to knowledge required to succeed in academia and industry, support underrepresented groups in the field, and facilitate communication between students, faculty and industry. PSU AWG runs a student mentorship program, caters breakfasts with visiting speakers from underrepresented groups, fundraises for field camp students, and provides outreach to the public. Each facet of our organization serves unmet or underserved needs in our community, and has acted as a catalyst for change in the department.
The mentor program pairs undergraduates (24 students for 2018-19) with graduate student mentors to provide advice on academic and career options. Breakfast meetings with visiting speakers facilitate candid discussions on work-life balance and navigating careers from a variety of perspectives. AWG-led department lunches have fostered discussions on issues in academia, including mental health, accessibility, and impostor syndrome. Scholarship fundraising began in 2013 to target the financial burden of PSU’s required undergraduate field camp on female and underrepresented students. AWG awards multiple scholarships annually which totaled $3,250 in 2019. In addition to participating in outreach sponsored by community groups, AWG has hosted their own events. Most notably, programs surrounding the visiting Bearded Lady Project exhibit brought 130 secondary school girls from across the state to PSU for activities exposing them to the geosciences.
By encouraging participation in the department, the chapter implements student-designed and student-run programs to benefit the broader community. The organization has emerged as a key interface between administrators and students, working with faculty to co-sponsor programming aimed at student mental health and advocating diversity and inclusion in the geosciences. Active student participation and discussion, paired with forward-thinking department faculty and administrators, have increased efforts to create a more inclusive environment in geosciences.
Introducing the first annual AWG ~PIE BAKE OFF~
Pie bake off flier
This is a fundraiser and social event to help support the AWG field camp scholarship. It will take place on Friday, November 15th at 6PM at the Marone/Richardson residence.
Like cooking? Pay 5$ to enter a pie to compete. Like eating? Pay 5$ to taste and judge the entries. We’ll provide pizza pies for additional sustenance throughout the evening. Sweet and savory pies are both accepted.
Not into eating/baking, but want to donate money AND pie a professor in the face? Enter the raffle for a chance to pie faculty in the face! (There are at least 8 faculty signed up, including our own ~Dean Lee Kump~)
Have gently used field gear that you want to donate? Bring it along! Need AWG merchandise? We’ve got that too!
~get hyped, and practice your pie baking/throwing~
Sign up for the AWG mentor program! The program pairs undergraduate and graduate students in order to build relationships and provide a resource for advice on internships, finding research opportunities, applying to graduate school, career options, etc.
AWG will subsidize the cost for each mentor/mentee pair to go out for a coffee break or lunch once a month (that means free food every month!).
Chevron Career Development Panel Discussion: TOMORROW, September 12 from 2-4 PM in Deike 541
We invite you to attend and participate in an interactive online panel discussion with 4 earth science professionals who will discuss career development at Chevron. The panelists will share their experiences as females in the industry and discuss drivers for their career success while developing technical and leadership capabilities. They will share their perspective on the journey in their careers from their first choice to enter the oil and gas industry to multiple years into their careers and how this managed at Chevron. University participants will have the opportunity to interact with the panelists through an online portal.
Our intention is to demystify the process of career development at Chevron, while motivating female scientists to pursue a career in the oil and gas industry. This event is co-hosted by the Chevron Women’s Employee Network whose mandate is to work towards “Accelerating progress for women in Chevron by promoting an inclusive culture and offering opportunities for all employees to grow personally and professionally”
We had breakfast this week with Dr. Kate Freeman, who chaired a committee to report on the status of women in faculty positions in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Kate shared the committee’s findings with us and led discussion on the meaning of these results.
Summary: there is a lot that EMS is doing well in terms of numbers of female representation, but there is definite room for improvement in workplace culture to reduce feelings of isolation in both women and men.
You can take a look at the full report here (will download a pdf).
There was also some discussion about conducting a similar survey amongst geoscience grad students and postdocs. More later on the status of that!
Dear AWG and friends of AWG,
We will be hosting a large-scale interdisciplinary brainstorming forum for a plan of action: not just for women, not just for those in the Geoscience Department, but as a science community in general. What can we do to make sure that climate change doesn’t go to the wayside? What can we do to ensure women’s rights and equality within the sciences? We have a voice. We have a community. We have a platform as scientists from which to speak: now, what can we do?
We plan to break up into smaller groups to address ideas for action for the some of the following topics:
Educating the public, including policy makers, about climate change and promoting action: what can we do to put climate change on the front lines of issues our country needs to address?
Advocating for women and minority scientists
Supporting scientists on international visas
Discussing the future of government science funding and jobs
If you have another idea for which there is interest, we can accommodate this too
This forum will be held on Tuesday November 15th at 5:30p in 401 Steidle. All concerned are welcome.
I know a lot of us are feeling a bit down… it’s hard, but we need to remember we’re here together. This will not be to discuss negative political feelings, but to figure out how we can move forward as a climate and science community and keep progressing! Instead of sinking back and feeling a sense of overwhelming defeat, can we come together and have a voice. No one’s opinions should be overlooked. Tuesday will be a positive discussion: a discussion about change, action, and inclusion — not a discussion about hate.
Start thinking. Come prepared with ideas for initiatives and topics to lobby for. Invite your friends – all departments, all genders. Let’s come together. Let’s take action.
Please forward to your friends, interested faculty, post-docs, lab techs, anyone who wants to work on making progress in science, climate, and equality .
Thanks to Joanmarie, we are starting a brown bag seminar that will reading and discussing articles that are related to ethics and diversity in the geosciences. Our first discussion starts Thursday, October 20th at 12pm in Deike 343. We will be discussing the recent Nature Geosciences article about the presence of gender bias in letters of recommendation for female postdocs. You can find the article here. Bring a lunch and we’ll provide dessert.