« August 2009 | Main | October 2009 »

September 27, 2009

Progress-- slow, slow, slow progress but progress


Since 2001, the percentage of faculty members who are women has risen steadily from 8.9 percent to 12.3 percent. Last year, more than 21 percent of engineering doctorates went to women, which is an increase of almost 20 percent from 10 years ago.

Percentage of Engineering Faculty Members who Are Women or Minorities, Fall 2008
Women: 12.3%
African-American: 2.5%
Asian: 22.7%
Hispanic: 3.5%

(and yes this includes engineering facility from University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez, and Polytechnic University of Puerto Rico).

Thanks to ASEE for compiling this. Now if only we could get the data broken out by gender by race/ethnicity!

September 22, 2009

Sliding pizza under the door

We've been in Miami since Sunday doing interviews with the amazing students from Barry University about the factors that influence their STEM research career choices. It has been wonderful but with the exception of a short swim in the ocean tonight- the work has been pretty much 24/7. Tom says it reminds him of the "shove the pizza under the door" days of computer start ups. I pointed out that while we are still eating pizza, in those days they weren't eating the pizza from Carpaccio's (ah the smoked salmon and goat cheese pizza-- now that's good). I am totally not in sink with the Miami hot scene but all I can say is that those pizzas were great (but alas they weren't shoved under the door; Tom had to go get them).

September 20, 2009

I missed Park(ing) Day (With Rosa pics in the comments)

Yes I did. It was Friday so while it is too late to participate this year, at least we can get to see some of the pictures. PARK(ing) Day, as the website explains, is:

an annual, one-day, global event where artists, activists, and citizens independently but simultaneously temporarily transform metered parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.

And wait until you see pedal powered parkmobile, made by REBAR, the folks who started it all. This year FairerScience friend Rosa Carson (yes our Rosa, who we miss very much), set up her own Park in a parking space over by Boston City Hall. Rosa do you have any pictures? UPDATE-- check the comments for the Rosa pics)

BTW the PARK(ing) Day website has lots of pictures but I didn't see any of Rosa.

September 17, 2009

We all need a feel good story

Forbes gave us one yesterday. Mythbusters' response to the question "Who Says Women Can't Do Math And Science?" was to tell some stories of women executives with science degrees who are now leading some of the world's largest companies. And then she used the stories and some of the recent reports to talk about what's up with women and STEM these days. It's an upbeat positive piece and we can all use some of that.

BTW three women were named CEOs of large U.S. companies during the past year-- two mechanical engineers and a computer scientist. Guess if as a woman (and in the case of Xerox CEO Ursala Burns an African American woman), you can make it through Mechanical Engineering (the least diverse of engineering fields) you can make it anywhere.

September 14, 2009

Girls Gone Activist!

Thanks to Youth Today I just learned about a lovely guide, in English and French, written by kids to show other kids "how to change the world through education." The authors of "Girls Gone Activist!: Les Filles Deviennent Des Activistes!" are girls from the United States and Mali who are working together to well change the world through education. The colorful guide has seven chapters covering such topics as forming a core group, spreading awareness, building supports and raising money and my personal favorite, persuading powerful people.

The guide is a product of School Girls Unite . Their mission is to tackle prejudice against girls and expand their freedom and opportunities through education. Their goals are:
# To be leaders right now and advocate at the national and international levels to educate every girl in the world.
# To give individual girls in Mali the opportunity to get an education right now by providing scholarships.

I love that they are working to change the world on multiple levels and are inspired by Confucius "If your plan is for one year, plant rice. If your plan is for 10 years, plant trees. If your plan is for 100 years, educate children—especially girls."

Thanks girls, you made my day.

PS If you want to download the guide for free do it soon. The website says you will be able to download the guide for a "Limited time only!"

September 07, 2009


Scientiae is up over at Journeys of an Academic. I wasn't the only one who was more on the desperation than inspiration side; however as usual it makes for some very good reading and wait until you see Dr. Isis' visuals!.

September 05, 2009

I'm desperate and not inspired

The theme of this month's Scientiae is "Inspiration or Desperation" and the later is more what I am feeling right now. It's been a really tough week but I've never missed a Scientiae and am not about to start now......

When she wrote about the theme, Academic said she was writing about "those people who put up cheesy positive slogans like "Teamwork: Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is a progress, working together is success - Henry Ford" which invariably seem to be balanced against the person posting a message designed to mock these things like "Teamwork: Share Victory, Share Defeat."

So here are some of the, hopefully not cheesy (ok I actually don't care if you think they are cheesy), "slogans" that keep me going:

"One foot in front of the other; roadblocks are just time outs for thinking."
from my crazy Harley drivin', grappa drinkin', friend Deb Eve, who is the best mother EVER. It kept me going during the time when Tom's broken neck was healing in fits and starts.

"There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest."
from Elie Wiesel, what else can I say it's Elie Wiesel. It reminds me that there is more than winning for our causes.

"Rosa sat so Martin could walk. Martin walked so Obama could run. Obama is running so our children can fly."
Am sorry I've tried to find who said this but haven't been successful. It reminds me that while progress is slow and so not linear, we are making progress.

"What if I looked just like grandpa when I grow up?" [Would you like that?] It would be AWEsome."
from Seth Campbell-Mortman (aka my grandson). It reminds me to remember the joy.

and last but not least, our family motto, "F**k'm if they can't take a joke"

May this new academic year bring us peace, productivity and most of all joy.

September 04, 2009

National Academies 2009 Communication Fair; Sigh

I was really excited when I got the e-mail telling me there were podcasts of the Academies' Communications Fair. They had fabulous people like Shawn Otto of Science Debate 08 and Sue Allen and a topic I care greatly about, "Science for All Seasons: Communicating Science to Diverse Audiences". So what innovative things did they do? They had a panel with a really boring introduction and then each speaker, with a different topic, had seven minutes to present. The innovative thing was that people could ask questions at the end of each presentation rather than waiting until the end of all the presentations.

Yes folks the Communication Fair communicated in exactly the same, ineffective, ways we've been doing for years and years and years. Sigh And oh yes, the saddest part was when Don Hoyt Gorman asked how many Science bloggers were in the audience--it appears there weren't any.