Currents | April 2018

Media Round Up

In case you’ve sworn off Facebook or have been too busy to web-surf this month, we’ve combed through our discussion group archives and pulled the links that generated the most buzz in our online community.

This month featured a plethora of pieces on women and gender issues in academia from science journals as well as the popular press. Here are some that received the most reactions.

The Special Challenges of Being Both a Scientist and a Mom Mexican-American female scientist Rebecca Calisi writes candidly about how she personally has helped scientific conferences become more accommodating to working mothers and the many challenges still faced by women when “[society asks that] we must work as if family did not exist—and parent as if work did not exist”.

Efforts large and small speed science reform Anne Jefferson and Melissa Kenney talk about the need for institutional change and a role to be played by big data to improve gender and racial equity in science.

A thought-provoking NBC News article about the gap in how men and women perceive their science abilities within a group.

from Slate

Being a woman in science is hard. That’s Why We’re Trying to Change It. This impassioned Slate piece by molecular biologist Maryam Zaringhalam argues that we should focus less on our roadblocks and “flip that narrative” — that is, devote much more media attention to positive reforms and “change-makers working to fix a broken system”.

Published study in Nature Communications reveals large gender inequalities in speaking opportunities (invited and assigned oral presentations) at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting.

Recognition of ESWN members

Ecologist Jane Zelikova was honored as one of Grist Magazine’s nationwide “50 fixers” for 2018. She was recognized for her initiative (co-founded with Kelly Ramirez) 500 Women Scientists, which focuses on leadership, diversity, and public engagement in science. Read her “Strategist” profile


An in-depth University of Wisconsin-Madison news article describes research published by Claire Pettersen from the Space Science and Engineering Center. The study is trying to understand the mass balance (net change in snow deposition and melting) of the Greenland Ice sheet.

Laura Crossey, of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico, received commendation for excellence in mentorship of students in STEM fields.

Image result for Laura Crossey, of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of New Mexico

Women in leadership

Ellen Stofan, former NASA Chief Scientist, will be the first woman to Head the National Air and Space Museum

Members’ Perspectives in Academia

These topics, inspired by personal stories, sparked significant debate among members. [Specific names omitted in the interests of privacy.]

  • Challenges, gender bias in opportunities for collaboration
  • Do women take on more “emotional work/labor” when managing meetings or other professional activities?
  • Is it OK to do your undergrad and grad at the same institution? (Opinions were mixed!)
  • Writing ability and implicit gender bias from reviewers: double-blind reviews could help.
  • Tips for how to handle unsolicited advice following presentations at conferences, without losing your cool.

And Finally… The Truth is Out There

ESWN Members loved this piece on the “The Scully Effect”– quantification of the pervasive effect of popular media on the career interests of women. According to a survey, 63% of the women who were familiar with Dana Scully of the X-Files television show said that she increased their belief in the importance of STEM.