4:00–6:00 pm ERC Atrium
University of Chicago Exhibit and Speaker Series Celebrates Women in STEM
“Redefining the landscape - Women in STEM,” an exhibit featuring narratives and large-scale portraits of the women who are shaping STEM in the Physical Sciences Division and the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering, will begin on Thursday, March 5, 2020, at 3:00 PM with a presentation by University of Chicago Provost and Chemistry Professor Ka Yee Lee.
The opening reception will be in the atrium of the William Eckhardt Research Center from 4:00-6:00 PM. The exhibit aims to shed light on what inspires and challenges women graduate students, postdocs, researchers, and faculty who have pursued a career in STEM.
“Visibility matters,” said exhibit organizer Neli Fanning, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Director in the Physical Sciences Division. “Redefining the landscape - Women in STEM is about demystifying the perceived notion that only a specific group makes up the STEM field. Women are and have been an integral part of science for centuries. We hope this exhibit highlights that the STEM fields can indeed be accessible to women from all backgrounds. It's a message of tacit motivation and hope.”
The twenty-nine PSD and PME faculty members, students, and staff profiled in the exhibit wrote narratives to accompany their portraits. Many shared what inspired them to become a scientist, as well as the challenges women in STEM experience.
“I wanted to challenge stereotypical perceptions of computer scientists; such stereotypes were part of the reason why I avoided the field when I was younger,” said computer science student Jean Salac. “I was also excited to be part of an initiative that would celebrate the accomplishments of women in STEM and spark conversations about fostering a better environment for women in these fields.”
The women who participated recalled the mentors who reassured them that they belong in the sciences and strengthened their decision to pursue a career in STEM. Geophysical sciences student María D. Hernández Limón said the exhibit is a way to celebrate all the wonderful mentors she has had throughout her journey. “I'm where I am thanks to people who gave me their time, attention, and advice. I wanted other students to see that everyone struggles, but they overcome those struggles with the help of others. I hope my story will give someone courage to keep pursuing their dream just like my mentors have done for me.”
Dean Angela Olinto will moderate a student panel and host a colloquium of six guest speakers on March 6, March 9, and March 12. “We are very excited to launch another effort in partnership with PME and to leverage our shared goals to elevate the voices and women in STEM,” she said. “Redefining the Landscape is about affirming that women are leaders in STEM. We want to celebrate the power of mentorship and encourage a culture of inclusion to inspire the next generation of scientists.”