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Spotlight

on teaching
and learning

If you would like to submit a featured Spotlight on Teaching and Learning, please use this form.

Fall 2020

Smart Girls Rock

The UW System Women and Science Program hosted a session for the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce Smart Girls Rock Science Day on November 11, 2020. 

Summer 2018

Women and Geology: Who Are We, Where Have We Come From, and Where Are We Going? 
A new book by contributing author and editor Beth A. Johnson, UW Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus

Dr. Johnson describes the history of the creation of the book and the importance of publicizing the work of women’s contributions to the field of geology.


What were your impressions of women in geology while in college?

When I first started studying geology in college, my classmates were roughly 50% women, so I never realized there was any issue attracting women to the science.  It really didn’t change much when I worked on my masters.  It wasn’t until I was working on my PhD and started looking around at the department I was in that I realized that there weren’t very many women.  We had many women studying for their bachelors and master’s degrees, but not as many working on their PhDs.  That’s when I realized there was a problem.

How did you come up with the idea of the book?

The whole thing involves attending two professional conferences.  The first conference was the North-Central Section Meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in 2015.  While I was there, I was reading Headstrong: 52 Women Who Changed Science and The World by Rachel Swaby.  As I read the profiles of these scientists, I realized there were very few geologists mentioned and, considering the subtitle of 52 women who changed science, I was shocked that Florence Bascom (the first women hired as a professional geologist and the first woman geology professor) was not featured.  Surely she was an example of someone who changed science!  So, I proposed a Women and Geology technical session for the next section meeting the following year.  The second conference was at the national Geological Society of America Meeting in late 2016.  By this point, I had already chaired one successful Women and Geology technical session and I was at that conference to chair another.  I was looking through the conference program when I saw an ad from GSA about turning one’s conference presentation into a GSA Special Paper.  At first, I dismissed it, but I couldn’t shake the idea of a Women and Geology book.  I was still sitting in a session at the conference when I finally emailed GSA and started inquiring about the process.

What is the book about?

The idea of the book was to look at women’s contributions to geology: past, present, and future.  Women have participated in the science from the very beginning, but too often they went without credit.  But, I also wanted to look at how women’s experiences in geology are portrayed today as well as what efforts are being made to recruit and retain more women in the geosciences.  Each chapter is written by a different author and all our authors are from all over the country and are at different stages in their careers, which gives the book a fuller perspective.

You are also a contributing author to the book. Can you tell us more about your contribution?

My article is called “Hollywood representations of women in geology: Women geoscientists in film (1986-2016)”. I’ve always been interested in how geologists are perceived by society at large.  So many people have the mental image of geologists as older men in flannel shirts looking closely at rocks, but they rarely think of women in a similar role.  Since there aren’t many geologists for people to interact with to get an accurate idea of who we are and what we do, many of them are getting such perceptions from tv, movies, etc.  So, I started looking at disaster movies to see how many featured geologists, the genders of those geologists, the critics’ perceptions of the movies, and the box office results of those movies.  Then I compared the data to demographics of real women in the geosciences who graduated and were active during the same period.  Sadly, the low number of women geologists we see on screen is comparable to the low number of women geologists we see in real life.  However, graduation rates for women geoscientists are improving, so this will hopefully change in the future.

How did the Woman and Science Program contribute to this publication?

This book was my first time as a volume editor, so I was learning about the process as I went along.  Not knowing any differently, I thought the publisher would help find reviewers for the manuscripts.  When I learned that was not the case, I felt a bit overwhelmed because I didn’t know who I could contact for help.  Then I thought of the UW System Women and Science Program.  I have been a campus representative for this for a few years now.  I thought a project like this would be in line with the program’s mission, so I contacted the group and asked for help.  I had lots of people step forward to help and, although many of them were not geoscientists, the backgrounds of those who did step forward often aligned with the topics of some of the manuscripts (i.e. two reviewers who had done fieldwork in Antarctica were asked to review a manuscript on the first women researchers in Antarctica).  I had a few people from outside the program also serve as reviewers, but the core group was from the Women and Science Program.  I’m grateful for all their help.

The book is available now through the Geological Society of America bookstore at The Geological Society or America.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beth A. Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Geology
UW Oshkosh, Fox Cities Campus

Spring 2017

Friday Roundtable: Closing the gender gap in STEM

Minnesota Public Radio, March 31, 2017

UW-River Falls Physics Professor Rellen Hardtke, UM Chemistry Professor Erin Carlson, and Chief Science Writer for fivethirtyeight Maggie Koerth-Baker, recently participated in a roundtable discussion on Minnesota Public Radio with host Kerri Miller.

Here is the story on MPR with a link to the podcast.

 

Women and Physics, a new book by Dr. Laura McCullough, UW Stout

Dr. McCullough recently published her new book Women and Physics.  The book is a discussion of the issues facing women in physics, starting with elementary school and moving up through graduate school and beyond. Suggestions for what we can do to promote girls and women in physics are also shared.

Women and Physics is available on amazon.com as a paperback.

laura_headshot

Dr. McCullough is an award winning professor of physics at UW-Stout and served for several years as the Chair of the Physics Department.  Her Ph.D. is in science education from the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities).  She has this to say about becoming a physicist:  “When I walked into my physics graduate school on day one and there were twenty-four men and me, I knew that we had a problem. A problem begging for a solution, and because I am a scientist and what I do is solve problems, that moment was the beginning of what has been twenty years of research on gender issues in science for me. I don’t know all the answers, and I doubt the problem will be solved in my lifetime, but I know more than I knew then, and sharing that is part of the solution.”  She has published widely about the teaching of physics and how to reduce gender differences in success in STEM fields.

Fall 2016

CMNSeminar

Women in STEM Seminar Series – College of Menominee Nation Green Bay Campus

Oct 7, 3:30 pm-5 pm – Lisa Bosman (College of Menominee Nation)

Dr. Lisa Bosman holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. At the College of Menominee Nation, she currently serves at the Director of the Solar Energy Research Institute and Director of Research and Development for the CMN STEM HERO program. Dr. Bosman’s research interests include solar energy performance modeling and STEM education. In this inaugural Women in STEM Seminar Series, Dr. Bosman will provide an overview of her research, current student opportunities, and highlight the engineering degree offerings at the College of Menominee Nation (developed in collaboration with several University of Wisconsin partners including Green Bay, Madison, Oshkosh, and Platteville campuses).

Nov 4, 3:30 pm-5 pm – Manuela Romero (UW-Madison)

As associate dean for undergraduate affairs for the College of Engineering, Manuela Romero oversees undergraduate student services, including student services centers (advising), engineering student development (career services, cooperative education, and study abroad), undergraduate learning center (academic enhancement and tutoring) and diversity affairs (K-12 outreach, recruitment, retention of underrepresented populations in engineering).  She also serves as the Principal Investigator for the Pre-Engineering Education Collaborative which is a partnership with the College of Menominee Nation; and Co-Principal Investigator of Wisconsin Alliance for Minority Participation.  Romero serves on numerous boards and chairs or co-chairs various campus-wide committees.

Dr. Romero, is an applied organizational sociologist with expertise in quantitative and qualitative methods. Her academic expertise focuses on guiding organizational policies and practices to help all students succeed. She has extensive experience in research design, design and implementation of support activities and programs, program evaluation, and with manipulating large data sets.  Romero earned her bachelor’s degree in social science from San Diego State University and master’s and doctoral degrees in Sociology from Stanford University.   She joined UW-Madison in 2005.  Before joining UW-Madison she was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Texas-El Paso.

Dr. Romero will provide an overview of her role as a social scientist in an engineering college and highlight the transfer opportunities available for students at UW-Madison.

Dec 2, 3:30 pm-5 pm – Kim Sargent (UW-Platteville)

Kim Sargent is the program manager for the Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science (WEMS) Program at UW-Platteville.  She earned her bachelor’s degree in mathematics/computer science from Central College in Pella, Iowa and her master’s degree in adult education from UW-Platteville. Many exciting events have been happening at UW-Platteville. They welcomed the first female Dean of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science (EMS) one year ago, hosted the Region H Society of Women Engineers conference in early 2016 and received the 2016 Claire L Felbinger Award for Diversity from ABET.  Sargent will speak about the recruitment and retention programs that UW-Platteville has to offer that have led to an unprecedented 72% growth in the number of women enrolled in the college since 2010.

The WEMS program has two pre-college programs that are designed to foster curiosity, encourage exploration, and develop and maintain interest in STEM in middle and high school aged women.  WEMS retention initiatives are designed to create a supportive campus community where women prosper. These Initiatives include two Women in STEM Living Learning Communities, a Women in EMS Mentor Center, a Women in EMS Mentor Program, annual Women in STEM Banquet, and a vibrant, active Society of Women Engineers section.  The WEMS Program employs seven student assistants that help with the planning and implementation of all these programs.

As effective engineers know, teamwork is key to success, and the WEMS Program would not be where it is today if not for its intentional focus on developing and maintaining relationships with internal and external partners. The program is grateful to those that support its efforts and causes.

UW-Platteville Women in EMS Program has come a long way in 20 years since it began with one part-time employee. But, with the true spirit of an engineer, the program looks forward to facing new challenges and continuing to develop effective solutions. Much has changed, and will certainly change in the future, but one thing has and will remain: the WEMS Program is always proud to serve UW-Platteville’s women students, faculty, and staff, and help build effective male allies and advocates. Not only is the program a strong voice for gender diversity, but also for inclusivity in a much broader sense.

The College of Menominee Nation is working in collaboration with Jenny Christus (UW-Oshkosh) and the UW System Women and Science Program on hosting the first annual Women in STEM seminar series at the CMN Green Bay campus. This seminar series will bring together women speakers in STEM (either academia or industry) to talk about their life experience (education, career, personal) and offer words of wisdom on a common STEM and/or female STEM topic (e.g. work-life balance, graduate school, persistence, gender gap, glass ceiling, professional development, confidence, etc…).

The event is open to the public and will conclude with a reception and networking. We encourage both academic and industry colleagues to attend.

Summer 2016: UW-Platteville WEMS

Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science (WEMS) Program in rare company with ABET award

 

WEMS Study Engineering

WEMS Study Engineering

EMS Engineering Lab Industrial WEMS Diversity

EMS Engineering Lab Industrial WEMS Diversity

PLATTEVILLE, Wis – The Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science Program at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is one of just three national recipients of the Claire L. Felbinger Award for Diversity presented by ABET, which currently accredits 3,569 programs at 714 universities and colleges in 29 countries.

The award is presented to recognize United States-based educational institutions, individuals, associations and firms for extraordinary success in achieving diversity in the technology segments of society.

“To be recognized by the engineering accrediting agency is such an honor,” said Tammy Salmon-Stephens, director of the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Science Student Success Programs at UW-Platteville. “I have watched our engineering programs successfully navigate the rigorous ABET accreditation process several times. Receiving this award provides validation of our work and also places emphasis on the importance of diversity initiatives in the engineering profession. It feels great to be acknowledged for achieving success by an organization that is responsible for accreditation.”

The WEMS program at UW-Platteville began more than 20 years ago with one part-time employee. According to Dr. Molly Gribb, dean of the College of EMS at UW-Platteville, it is now a critical component of the college’s Students Success Programs that include a study center, pre-college outreach and college student retention components – all of which are primarily supported by grants and donations.

Among the highlights that stood out to the award selection committee was the fact that the number of women enrolled in the college since 2010 has risen 72 percent.

In addition, WEMS advised and supported the UW-Platteville Society of Women Engineers Region H Conference bid and implementation. The student-led conference brought almost 700 women to campus earlier this year.

The WEMS pre-college initiatives are designed to foster curiosity, encourage exploration and develop and maintain interest in STEM in middle- and high-school aged women.

“I am delighted that ABET has recognized the transformational nature of the Women in Engineering, Mathematics and Science program at UW-Platteville,” said Gribb. “Tammy Salmon-Stephens, along with her exceptional professional staff, Kim Sargent, and Jaclyn Esqueda, are deeply committed to improving the climate and academic support for all students in the College of EMS. They have done a fantastic job with the WEMS program in particular. I am very proud of their accomplishments.”

“We are extremely fortunate to have these winners as part of the ABET family,” said Michael Milligan, ABET executive director and CEO. “Each of them has worked tirelessly and achieved a tremendous level of success improving the quality of technical education worldwide and increasing access to higher education for all. Their recognition for excellence and commitment is well deserved.”

ABET will confer the award at the ABET Awards Gala in Baltimore, Maryland on Friday, Oct. 28. For more information about the award, visit http://www.abet.org/about-abet/awards/.

ABET accredits college and university programs in the disciplines of applied science, computing, engineering and engineering technology at the associate, bachelor and master degree levels.

 

Written by: Dan Wackershauser, Communications Specialist, Communications, 608-342-1194, wackersd@uwplatt.edu

Summer 2016: UW-River Falls Girls in SCIENCE

Girls in SCIENCE (Seeing, Creating, Inventing, Exploring, Naming, Cooperating, Experimenting)

GiS4  GiS5  GiS2  GiS1

“On Saturday, April 16, UWRF and the River Falls chapter of AAUW (American Association of University Women) hosted a hugely successful Girls in SCIENCE (Seeing, Creating, Inventing, Exploring, Naming, Cooperating, Experimenting) event on campus. Over 200 girls and a few boys participated in fun hands-on science activities that were designed to pique their interest and confidence in science.

In the morning, youth mostly in grades four and five worked with acids and bases and made slime in the chemistry lab with Chemistry Prof. Lisa Kroutil and the Chem Demons, took a tour of the universe in the digital planetarium with Physics Professor Eileen Korenic and Arriety Lowell, extracted DNA from wheat germ with guest scientist Crystal Bloecher, and modeled the predator-prey relationship in an ecosystem with UWRF Ecology student Sarah Daggett.

In the afternoon, youth in grades six through eight solved a murder mystery using forensic science techniques taught by Biology instructor Amber Qureshi, designed and tested airplanes with Physics instructor and pilot Arriety Lowell, studied EEGs (electroencephalograms) and used brain waves to move objects and play games with Biology Prof. Tim Lyden, participated in several physics activities with Physics Prof. Earl Blodgett and the Society of Physics Students, and learned about modeling in computer science with Computer Science Prof. Jacob Hendricks. Youth rotated through their activities in groups of 20-25, and were led by current UWRF women science students.

The event received rave reviews from youth, parents, and volunteers. All youth completed a short assessment survey at the end of the event. A common response to the best part of the day was “”Everything”” and the most common response to “”If I could change one thing it would be…”” was “”Nothing.”” One parent of two attendees said, “”They came home raving about all of the experiments and discussions and people they met. If the intent was to spark their interest in science and engineering… You have a success! … They really enjoy the professors and students that talk to them like peers… Essentially, at this age level, they like to be treated as a ‘older kid’, so more complex concepts that give them hands-on opportunity really hit the mark. If you could kindly pass this on to those that put their time and energy into sharing their passion around STEM last Saturday, please! “” Another parent wrote, “”My daughter…had a wonderful time and would definitely attend again. She talked the whole way home about the different activities she participated in. We wanted to send a huge Thank You to all of the volunteers that put on this event.””

UWRF College of Arts & Sciences Dean Brad Caskey said, “”You have done yourself proud. I know that the event will eventually bring some students to UWRF, but more importantly, this event will empower a lot of girls to not only find ‘science’ a fun and engaging topic but may also impact their career interests.””

Clearly, the event filled a need and interest in the western Wisconsin community. Although registration for this first-time event started slowly, the event filled and we increased capacity as much as possible, yet had to turn away some families. We plan to host the event next year on Saturday, April 15, 2017, again for youth in grades four through eight.

The Girls in SCIENCE event was supported by local businesses, River Falls Community Education, dozens of student volunteers, the UWRF College of Arts & Sciences, Residence Life, Admissions, and the Honors Program among many others. In total, over a hundred people and organizations contributed to the event. Allina Health provided a $500 grant to cover scholarships for families who wanted help with the $12 or $14 registration fee. Youth received an event T-shirt and a swag bag of take-home items.

The event was organized and coordinated by Physics Professor Rellen Hardtke. Please contact rellen.hardtke@uwrf.edu with questions or ideas.”

Fall 2016

Dandrielle Lewis receives Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award

Read full articleLewis_Dandrielle_2015

Dandrielle Lewis has been an Assistant Professor in Mathematics at UW-Eau Claire since 2011.

She received her Bachelor of Science from Winston Salem State University in 2001, her Masters of Science from the University of Iowa in 2006, and her Ph.D. from SUNY Binghamton in 2011.  From 2011 until now, she has served as a member of the University of Wisconsin Women and Science Advisory Board. The mission of this program is to attract and retain more women and minority students in STEM by promoting systemic changes in the ways that science and science education are regarded and carried within the University of Wisconsin System.  From 2012-2015, she served as a math instructor for UW-Eau Claire’s Math and Science summer program.

She continues to be an advocate for broadening the participation for women and minorities in STEM as director and organizer of UWEC’s Sonia Kovalevsky Math Days for high school and middle school girls.  This day is a program to encourage girls to pursue higher education and careers in STEM through exposure to STEM opportunities, workshops and panels, and networking opportunities with prominent women who use STEM in their careers (2013-Present).  She received funding from the Association for Women in Mathematics to start this day.  She also serves as Co-facilitator of a Domestic Intercultural Immersion Program, “Embracing the Somali Immigrant Experience in Midwestern Public Schools” which increases awareness and understanding on how race, background knowledge and experiences, culture, religion, and gender, impact school environments. She has recently published an article on increasing diversity and inclusion for women in STEM and has written a chapter on the Somali Immersion Experience.

She received UW-Eau Claire’s Distinguished Service Award for contributions to educational excellence and diversity from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, and she received the UW System Outstanding Women of Color in Education Award.  She has served as a panelist for the National Science Foundation and the UW System.  She is scholarly active within her field of Mathematics, which is Finite Group Theory, and she has given presentations on her research locally and nationally.

She has participated extensively in undergraduate research and mentoring at UWEC, nationally, and with the WiscAMP program all in the hopes of exposing more women and minorities to opportunities and possibilities in STEM fields.

Gail Coover, WiscAMP Executive Director and Co-PI

Gail Coover wiscamp-logo-wordcloud-v2

The Wisconsin Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (WiscAMP) is funded by the National Science Foundation to increase the number of underrepresented ethnic/racial minority (URM) students who complete the baccalaureate degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Between 2008 and 2013 the WiscAMP alliance, which includes all UW-System schools and colleges successfully doubled the number of URM undergraduates who completed their 4-year degrees in STEM. With its renewal in 2014, WiscAMP is collaborating with Dr. Christine Maidl Pribbenow to disseminate FAIR PLAY a video learning game to teach faculty and staff how stereotypes can inadvertently influence judgment about and behavior toward others, also known as unconscious or implicit bias. In the game, Jamal, an African-American graduate student, encounters a number of bias incidents as he navigates through his academic career and interacts with faculty, staff, and students on a college campus. The purpose of the game is to invoke curiosity and to spark sustained engagement with learning about the role implicit bias might play in judgments about students, colleagues, and issues relating to increasing diversity in STEM.

UW System Women and Science Program

UW Oshkosh Campus
Halsey Science Center, Room 121
(920) 424-7414
 was@uwosh.edu

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UW System Women and Science Program is accepting visitors by appointment only. Please email was@uwosh.edu if you need to schedule an appointment.