Lab Girl lunch discussion Oct 18

AWG’s next lunch discussion 
Lab Girl and Other Writings on Anxiety and Mental Health in Academia” 
will be held
Weds, Oct. 18 from 12-1 pm in Deike 541
Discussion will be led by Joanmarie Del Vecchio and Prof. Liz Hajek
For this lunch discussion we encourage you to do a little background reading for insight into the challenges some of your students, classmates and colleagues may face.
Excepts from Hope Jahren’s Lab Girl can be downloaded here.
Chronicle of Higher Ed articles on students with mental health struggles and anxiety more generally.
A beloved internet cartoonist takes on depression in parts 1 and 2.
In addition to the readings, here are a few resources for students on campus:
This campus group has a lot of helpful resources:
Info/program about suicide prevention:
And CAPS, of course:

Accessibility in the Geosciences Lunch Discussion

AWG hosted students, faculty and staff for a discussion on accessibility in the geosciences. Associate Professor of Geoscience Peter LaFemina presented his ongoing work collaborating with Associate Professor of Geography Alex Klippel, his lab and the Teaching and Learning with Technology office on creating virtual-reality field trips.
For online resources related to this discussion, visit these webpages:
Teaching and Learning with Technology
ChoroPhronesis, Alex Klippel’s virtual reality lab page on geoscience applications
Penn State Student Disability Resources


The International Association for Geoscience Diversity – “Ending the Awkward” entry

Earth Magazine – “Geology for everyone: making the field accessible” article


YoutTube video – Immersive Virtual Reality for Thrihnukagigur Volcano in Iceland

Associate Professor Peter LaFemina website:

Stay tuned for our next discussion on October 18th 12-1 pm (location TBA)

Status of women in academics report

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!

January Meeting Notes

Since the last meeting….


Shake Rattle and Rocks > one of the teachers was really impressed by the women scientist turnout. Way to be great role models guys!!!


Beth suggested that send emails to the entire department for general meeting emails, we will do that from now on but other events via listserv. Add sentence that says how to join the listserv.


Let Allison know if you want to be on the listserv


Update from Claire:


Art Class feedback from last semester attendees would recommend it to other and the fact that AWG funded it was really important to people and attendees wanted to take it again.


For spring semester claire is sending around a questionnaire to tailor the course for what people want.


Museum is looking for people to volunteer to museum tours

Also there is an opportunity to help during a sand table workshop in feb

There is an event in april that they are looking for volunteers

May be more opportunities at the museum and there will potentially be a housekeeping day to reevaluate grad student and museum relationship.


Gabby Outreach and brainstorm


This semester we are going to try and focus on older students outside of the state college area


Contacting girl scout troops


AAUW > active with Middle school students and they have a series out outreach events on Thursdays > they need volunteers so Gabby will give details for those that want to sign up

From 3:30-5p

STEM related activity

St. Nittany Middle School


If have ideas send gabby an email


Liz and Cecilia: Northeastern/North Central GSA Meeting


Focused on energy but lots of sessions

We are responsible for running the AWG booth, requires that we have someone there are all times and two people that need to get the badges


Everything but food and 75% of transport is covered


Buffs are here!


Cost $10 each for purchase

Encourage friends to buy them!

We will sell them at the Chill and Spill tomorrow


T-shirt design


Female Atlas design


How does the club feel about the nudity > email offices if you have a concern


Continents and a quote from a female scientist on the globe


Send Virginia a quote if you have an idea but we have a good one from Marie Curie but it is really long


Virginia will send out an email with the quotes so that people can vote. Also for the color of the t-shirts




Let her know your votes by Friday!



Maureen wants AWG to participate in high school recruitment but we are not sure what yet. Beth Ann will be in charge


Pre-Field Camp Field Trip

To get people acclimated to camping and general outdoor stuff


Fun camping social with advice for future field campers and to answer questions


Advice: go to a good outdoor store and get them to set up the equipment for you to try


Need to figure it out within the next month so that Shelby can reimburse


Link to AWG google calendar


Chili Cookoff

Will be in March

Graduate only event

Raises funds for our Field Camp scholarships so undergrads should apply for the scholarship in March.


Breakfast with Colloquium speakers

First is February 7th


Beth will give the next chalk talk


Writing Group

Wednesdays 5-7p writing group

Productive hours to write together

Everyone supporting each other to write

Starting next wednesday January 25th


Undergraduate Thesis Deadline

Have something due every two weeks


Hidden Figures and Michael Mann are both tonight so go do something cool and sciency


November Meeting Notes

-Email suggestions for our club to
-If not on the listserv let Allison ( know! Emails for event reminders and updates

Events that took place last month
-Discovery Space > kids really liked the stream table, earthquakes weren’t really a hit with the preschool audience
-Cosmic carnival > natural resource activity went well for less than second grade kids

-Speaker breakfasts are going really well

-Mixer went well and was a lot of fun!
-one a semester

-Lunch Discussions: Bias in recommendations and Imposter Syndrome
-Came up with a list of imposter syndrome things to bring up at the grad student meeting
-Peer resources
-Gong to celebrate little accomplishments
-Q&A with faculty/ shadow CVs
-Let Joanmarie know if you have any ideas for lunch topics for next semester
-After we sent out the letter on bias the faculty had a meeting specifically about it

-WeAreforScience > new coalition
-Group listservs will be set up soon!
-Voices for Democracy Event tomorrow in response to Breitbart Speaker > we have been invited to speak at the event
-Talk to Helen and Virginia about any ideas

-Writing Club
-Undergrads supposed to come in about personal statement, but it ended up being writing time for grad students and personal statements
-Support at Grad Student lunch, department will pay for food
-Invite post-docs to give feedback

Updates on Future Events
-Received a grant from the AWG foundation to provide 2 field camp scholarships!
-AWG has been really good about giving us money so share your ideas so that we can ask for money in advance

-Northeast Section Meeting for GSA in March > AWG will man the AWG booth
-AWG will give us money for registration fees
-March 19th through 21st
-15 people interested in going

AWG brown bag discussion on Imposter Syndrome


Please join AWG for a brown bag discussion on Imposter Syndrome*

Room 343 Deike from 12-1 on November 16

*According to Joan Harvey, the impostor phenomenon (IP) is a “psychological syn- drome or pattern. It is based on intense, secret feelings of fraudulence in the face of success and achievement. If you suffer from the impostor phenomenon, you believe that you don’t deserve your success; you’re a phony who has somehow ‘gotten away with it.’” (Harvey, 1984, p. 3).

Call for Action Meeting

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 .

AWG Officers

Start of our brown bag seminar

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.

October Meeting Notes

Minutes 10/11

Updates on what has been going on:

  1. Art Class – learning a lot
  2. Camping Trip – lots of fun and food
  3. Award from GSA – we got a baller carved wooden plaque
  4. Money from Shell – let us know if you have ideas on how to use the money



  1. Email the AWG gmail with questions and suggestions
  2. Do not spam the listserv
  3. It’s fine if you aren’t signed up with gmail


Outreach – we have several events in the works, email Gabby ( with questions and to sign up for things

  • Cosmic Carnival
    • October 23rd 1-3p
    • Theme is Cat in the Hat
    • 1 fish 2 fish red fish you fish > activity to show kids natural resource management
    • sign up!
  • Discovery Space > downtown > activities for elementary kids
    • Saturday activity at discovery space > we need to brainstorm hands on activities
    • Steam table > Hajek lab
    • has activites that are broken down by grade level
    • Chocolate rock cycle
    • Shake Rattle Rocks activities
    • November – look for more details
  • Nittany Valley Charter School
    • Elementary School kids
    • They are working on physics so we should come up with some geophysics activity
    • “Slime” non-newtonian liquid

Mentorship Program – email Mercedes ( with questions

  1. Wednesday, October 19 (Tomorrow!!) at 6p in the Museum there will be a mixer!!!! Be there!
  2. Will fill out mentorship pairing forms while we are there
  3. Mingle and get to know potential mentors/mentees
  4. If you can’t make it, sign up for mentorship program on our website (
  5. Chipotle!


Writing Club!

  1. 2 hour writing club where grad students can give undergrads feedback on their application materials
  2. The first will be focused on graduate student applications but we will turn it into a writing club
  3. Biweekly and it will be open and have food
  4. We will also open it up to the department broadly

First one is Monday October 24th 5-7pm


Joanmarie Lunch Discussions

  • Lunch discussions > read articles that have to do with ethics and diversity in earth science
  • Article about women recommendation letters > inherently biased letters against women. Article to read: here
  • Read the study and then as a group draft a memo to send out the faculty
  • First discussion: Thursday at Noon October 20th in Deike 343
  • Brown bag and AWG will provide dessert


Breakfast with Colloquium Speakers – basically every week for the next month

  • October 18,25
  • Nov 1,8,9,29
  • All at 8a in Deike 541
  • Relaxed Q&A, get a perspective on women’s experience in academia

Come drink coffee, eat bagels, talk with female professionals!


Fundraising ideas


Cookbook of field recipes email Maddy with ideas. We will sell it to the department.


Maddy also has a tshirt idea:


I really like the one we have now, so I was thinking along the same lines but with a different picture of a woman doing something strong and geoscience related. So I was thinking we could have a woman swinging a sledge hammer for a seismic survey. I can edit photos to look similar to the current t-shrit, but I thought it would be cool if I used a photo of someone in the department. So, I was wondering if you could send around an email to ask for pictures of women swinging sledge hammers, or any cool action that I could make into a design on the t-shirt?

Email Maddy with ideas/pictures. Or bring ideas to the mentorship mixer!



Opportunities for Undergrads:


For freshmen women to get involved in research

Deadline is November 1st

May have other options for non-freshman

Also any science can apply

Under represented groups can apply

Two semesters $500 each semester


EMS Ambassadors

Want 2 students from each major to give tours of the buildings

Applications due on Oct 21st for Juniors and Seniors

Email questions to Vivek Thomas or Stacy Davidson at

AWG Penn State has a new listserv

Because of our past problems with the PSU hosted listserv, we have now transitioned to using a Google Group listserv. If you want to be added to it, send an email to with the subject “Add me to the listserv”. We’ll be using this service to organize meetings and events. Announcements will still be posted to the web  and to our social media accounts, but this is how you can stay up to date on what we’re doing.

–AWG Penn State officers