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November 28, 2008

Thank you NSF and Wellesley Centers for Women

FairerScience began as joint project of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) and Campbell-Kibler Associates, Inc. (C-KA) funded by the National Science Foundation's Research on Gender in Science and Engineering Program (NSF). NSF funding and WCW support gave FairerScience the opportunity to begin and grow and we are very grateful to them.

Sunday is the last day of the NSF grant that started FairerScience. The website and blog will continue as a project of C-KA This means that from now on "the opinions expressed are those of Campbell-Kibler Associates only," although hopefully others will agree or at least enjoy. Sometimes the opinions expressed may only be mine. (You probably will be able to figure out which ones those are).

More seriously, FairerScience began because researchers and advocates for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have not been effectively communicating their findings in ways that allow the public including policy makers, educators and parents to understand and evaluate these findings and, where appropriate, make decisions based on them. We remain committed to changing that both in terms of gender and where gender issues in STEM interact with issues of race/ethnicity and disability.

November 25, 2008

Women and the Video Game Industry

When I was in graduate school, my assistantship was in academic advising, working with students majoring in computer science, math, and physical sciences. It pretty much goes without saying that I worked primarily with male students. By far, the largest major in the college was computer science and a lot of the time, when I asked our students why they were interested in computer science I got one answer: video games. Some of them were serious gamers and others just really enjoyed it and this led them to a major in computer science, with the hope of working for a video game company. I thought of that when I read this Jezebel post about women and the world of video games, highlighting an article from the LA Times.

The article’s title tells a large chunk of the tale: “Women left on sidelines in video game revolution.” The news isn’t good:

“They comprise fewer than 1 in 5 workers in the business, according to a 2007 survey by Game Developer Magazine. Among game programmers, the number is a paltry 3%. Those who do land game-related jobs make less money on average than their male counterparts.”

The whole article is really interesting and touches on a range of topics: girls and video games, women in computer science, heavy work schedules, and a boy’s club atmosphere at gaming companies that has included strippers as part of the recruiting process. No, I’m not kidding about that last one – I really wish I was.

Pat has often said that helping women helps men too and the original Jezebel.com post that led me to the article reinforces that message. The LA Times article noted that the time commitment often required in the gaming industry aren’t particularly family friendly and the folks at Jezebel note:

“If women really are less willing to put in twelve hours, seven days a week, maybe game companies should take it as a sign that such a system really isn't healthy for anyone.”

One last thing to highlight from the article, I learned about a new book that sounds pretty cool - Beyond Barbie® and Mortal Kombat: New Perspectives on Gender and Gaming .

Although boys outnumber girls in terms of playing video games daily, the overall numbers show that 99% of boys and 94% of girls play video games. Hopefully that will translate into more girls walking into my old office as computer science majors.

On an entirely different note - FairerScience wishes everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

November 20, 2008

Requests and resources

A bunch of requests and resources came in this week including:

A part-time science teacher at an inner city school in London in the UK is producing a web and film project called "Why is Science Important?' which seeks to gather together answers to this question from scientists, science writers and members of the public. She would love to have more responses from women. So if you would like to, submit.

FairerScience friend, Yolanda George, asks that we visit World Engineers' Convention Women's Forum blog by November 26. The World Engineers' Convention, WEC 2008, convenes December 2-6, 2008, in Brazil. More than 5,000 engineering professionals and students from five continents will participate. The Women's Forum, which will be held during WEC 2008, focuses on the perspectives and challenges of women's roles in engineering. This blog encourages women in engineering fields to share their thoughts and concerns pertaining to six categories identified by WEC. A number of discussion questions have been posted to begin the conversation. The blog will run until November 26, 2008, at which time the entries will be compiled for presentation at the Convention. So if you would like to, submit.

FairerScience friend Ruta Sevo has posted 100 recommended resources on women in science and engineering, organized into short lists of selected resources for people who are entering the field.

FairerScience friend Glenn Busby (yes we have a lot of friends and yes we are very fortunate to have such amazing friends). Anyway Glenn's new radio series, The Sounds of Progress: The Changing Role of Girls and Women in Science and Engineering, is now available for listening. It presents twenty-six two-minute radio stories about women throughout history who made significant contributions to science. It's narrated by Kate Mulgrew (yes you Trekkies she's Captain Kathryn Janeway).

November 18, 2008

Dance Your PhD

I just found out about the The 2009 AAAS Science Dance Contest this morning; unfortunately the deadline was November 16th. Hopefully they will do it again next year.

While you won't get a chance to submit this year; you can check out last year's winner and some of this year's submissions:

Brian Stewart was the winner last year for his dance of "Refitting repasts: a spatial exploration of food processing, cooking, sharing and disposal at the Dunefield Midden campsite, South Africa"

And I quite like Monika Schleier-Smith's dance of "Generating Entanglement in a Cold Atomic Ensemble via Atom-Light Interaction in an Optical Resonator"

Ruth Gruetzbauch "The eventful life of galaxies in low density environments" may be my favorite.
I love the idea and the prize:

Winners are matched with professional choreographers and together winners and choreographers collaborate with a group of professional dancers to create a 4-part dance based on the science behind the 4 winning research articles. The result, the professional dance interpretation of the winner's scientific research will be debuted during the AAAS meeting, on 13 February 2009.

There is always next year folks-- we should be getting our research and dancing shoes ready!

November 15, 2008

Tom is fixed as in no longer broken!

As many of you know, in June, FairerScience's technical guru (and my husband/partner) Tom Kibler had his neck broken. After four months in a halo vest and seven weeks in a cervical collar, we are pleased to announce that his neck is healed! Each day he's wearing the neck brace less and less and he will be totally out of it soon. It's a very happy day here at FairerScience.

Sadly there aren't a lot of online resources on dealing with a halo vest or with a cervical collar and the information you get from the hospital often doesn't deal with the "nitty gritty". Professional Patient has the best coping information I've seen and she answers questions. Thanks Valerie.

BTW I've learned a lot about dealing with halo vests and cervical collars these last months. Hopefully this is not information you will ever need to know. But if you do...

November 08, 2008

Trick or treat with Scientiae

The November edition of Scientiae is up over at See Jane Compute. Jane did a great job pulling together two months' worth of entries. Who knew pretty much everything in life could be put under trick or treat!

November 07, 2008

As if you don't have enough things to do

Why don't you present at the WEPAN's annual meeting meeting this year?

You have until Nov 12th to submit an abstract. They are spotlighting:
* Developing Engineering Talent from K to Grey
* Communicating, Marketing and Effective Messaging
* Building and Sustaining Collaborative Partnerships & Engaging Volunteers
* Developing Diversity Program Staff
* Impacting Policy, Legislation and Media.

Jenn, FairerScience friend Kathryn Campbell-Kibler and I have have submitted a proposal for a great workshop-- Will tell you more if it gets accepted.

If you are an AWIS member, why don't you nominate someone to be in the 2009 Class of AWIS Fellows?

You have until December 15th to do so. The Fellows Program aims to recognize and honor women and men who have > demonstrated exemplary commitment to the achievement of equity for women > in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Nominees don't have to be AWIS members but nominators do.

I am a member of the 2008 Class of AWIS fellows. It was and continues to be a great honor (and I love my lapel pin).

While you do these things, I'm off to hear Akiko Busch speak. She's the one who got me into swimming the Hudson River. I'm going to do it again next year-- what to join me?

November 05, 2008

Yes We Can!

November 03, 2008

Just Vote


I don't care if you do it for the ice cream, the coffee, or the donuts . Just vote.

Bring a book, a laptop, snacks and a chair, if that what it takes. Just vote.

I'll be really sorry for you if it takes a long time and will send some of my famous homemade chocolate chip cookies to those of you with the best stories about how hard it was to vote but you did it anyway. Just vote.

FairerScience friend David Mortman waited for three plus hours to vote in Ohio today and got interviewed by NPR. Just vote (and oh yes good interview Mort!).

I'm old, this is the most important election of my life; do it for me. Just vote.

I'm totally desperate here. I've been pretty successful with NSF proposals. Vote and I'll review your next NSF proposal. Just vote.

Are you getting the message here? Just vote!

November 02, 2008

Communicating Science

So perhaps you've heard that we at FairerScience are kinda into better communication of research results. Oh you didn't know--gosh wanna check out the website?

Sorry, it hasn't been an easy week and I may be worried about my communication skills. I totally goofed up my trip to New Hampshire to canvas voters (I was either too early or too late--yea huh?) and while last week Tom and my first work trip together since his neck was broken went well (EXCEPT FOR THE CAR THAT LOST CONTROL AND CAREENED ACROSS FOUR LANES OF HIGHWAY AND CRASHED INTO THE ARCO BARRIER IN FRONT OF THE CAR IN FRONT OF US) , there may have been a little stress.

But that is no excuse not to let you know that AAAS is doing a series of FREE one day workshops on communicating science. The first one is in DC on Nov 17th so you need to sign up soon. There are a bunch of others so check them out.

PS Thanks to all of you wonderful engineers who were responsible for the arco barriers