Women of Color in STEM

The Summer 2011 issue Harvard Educational Review focuses on Women of Color in STEM.  The issue commemorates the 35th anniversary of the publication of The Double Bind: The Price of Being a Minority Woman in Science (1976 AAAS).  Shirley Malcom, lead author of the original publication and an author of one article from the recent symposium received her PhD in Ecology from Penn State in 1974 and is one of Penn State’s most distinguished alumni.  Dr. Malcom currently leads the directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs at the AAAS (American Assn. for the Advancement of Science).

I’d love to consider co-sponsoring an event for her to once again return here to talk about this important topic during the 35th anniversary of the publication of Double Bind.  I can imagine a number of potential partners including Educational Equity, the Graduate School (Malcom was in the Interdisciplinary Graduate program), Eberly College of Science, Agricultural Sciences (who nominated her for the Distinguished Alumni award), and maybe even the College of Engineering.

One of the articles, “Pathways and Pipelines” has some interesting comments about STEM instruction and its impact on the persistence of women of color in STEM.  It would be great to be able to highlight some of the teaching and learning going on in our science classes that engages women of color inside the classroom, as opposed to what the author, Espinosa, desribes as the “obscurity and subsequent silence that marks the behavior of women of color
in the STEM classroom due to gendered and racialized treatment by peers
and professors” (p. 233).  I know that there are some great examples of active and collaborative learning going on in STEM classrooms across the university.

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