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How this 'little ole girl' from North Carolina became a lead Covid-19 vaccine developer
She’s a globally renowned scientist and Covid-19 vaccine developer, yet Kizzmekia S. Corbett, Ph.D., modestly describes herself as a “little ole girl” from a small North Carolina town. Growing up, she saw firsthand the health challenges and disparities that proliferated in the Black community.“I expanded beyond being a Harvard professor to being the community vaccine teacher... I’ve become an expert in empathy as much as an expert in immunobiology." Two years into the pandemic, Dr. Kizzmekia Corbett reflects on her multidimensional role as vaccine inventor.
Posted on 01 Mar 2022
Honoring Women's History Month in tech
Here's a look at some of the issues and opportunities shaping the experiences — and future — of women in tech and education. Where do women stand in the tech world? As of last year, an estimated 331.4 million people live in the US. Just over half - 51% - are women. About 57% of America's women were in the workforce in 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not only are women working, but they're also studying. Women received 57% of bachelor's degrees in 2019. And yet, only 21% of computer science bachelor's degrees went to women that year. Indeed, women were more than twice as likely to work in education or healthcare than in a computer or tech-related job, according to BLS data. In 2020, just 11% of women in professional and related occupations had a job in a computer or engineering-related role. In tech, the scales still tip toward men. For example, 48% of men had a computer or engineering-related job. To look at it from another angle, women represented just 18% of chief information officer positions in America's 1,000 largest companies in 2019.
Posted on 01 Mar 2022
First female director appointed for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
For the first time in its 85-year history, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a female director.Geochemist and space scientist Laurie Leshin will serve as the director for JPL as well as the vice president of the California Institute of Technology, both located in Pasadena. Faculty and students from Caltech founded JPL in 1936 and have managed the laboratory on behalf of NASA since 1958. It's a bit of a homecoming for Leshin, who earned her master's and doctoral degrees in geochemistry from Caltech and served as a member of the Curiosity rover science team that analyzed data to find evidence of water on the surface of Mars. Leshin has also spent more than two decades supporting and planning the upcoming Mars Sample Return missions, which will return Martian samples collected by the Perseverance rover to Earth by the 2030s. All of these Mars exploration missions are managed by JPL. As a scientist, Leshin has focused on understanding where and when water has been present throughout our solar system. Leshin also has an impressive record of serving in academia, holding senior positions at NASA and two White House appointments.
Posted on 13 Feb 2022
More women in a STEM field leads people to label it as a ‘soft science,’ according to new research
One factor that influences the use of the labels “soft science” or “hard science” is gender bias, according to recent research my colleagues and I conducted. Women’s participation varies across STEM disciplines. While women have nearly reached gender parity in biomedical sciences, they still make up only about 18% of students receiving undergraduate degrees in computer science, for instance. In a series of experiments, they varied the information study participants read about women’s representation in fields like chemistry, sociology and biomedical sciences. Then they asked them to categorize these fields as either a “soft science” or a “hard science.” Across studies, participants were consistently more likely to describe a discipline as a “soft science” when they’d been led to believe that proportionally more women worked in the field. Moreover, the “soft science” label led people to devalue these fields – describing them as less rigorous, less trustworthy and less deserving of federal research funding.
Posted on 27 Jan 2022
Managing Diversity in the Workplace: 6 Expert Tips for Success
According to workplace statistics from Zippia, American workplaces with racially and ethnically diverse leaders are 36% more likely to have better financial performance than companies without solid diversity. In addition, 67% of job seekers see diversity as a deciding factor when taking a new job. Diversity is a higher priority at work than ever before, and it should be first in recruiters’ and managers’ minds. Companies that know how to manage diversity in the workplace are more successful and provide healthier environments. With the above in mind, let’s go over what diversity means and how you can improve it within your own workplace.
Posted on 27 Jan 2022
Inclusion Changes What’s Possible: Creating a Positive Classroom Climate- January 26, 2022
NCWIT and Infosys Foundation USA invite you to join us for a presentation with representatives of the NCWIT Research and Evaluation teams on the importance of a positive classroom climate. Listen in as these research scientists discuss what factors influence classroom climate, offer strategies that can create more inclusive environments, and take a deep dive into NCWIT resources that will assist with this endeavor and help encourage students to persist in computer science coursework and careers. With all of these free resources available to the public, you can equip others to have vital conversations surrounding culture change in your district. By the end of this session you will be equipped with the tools to create a positive and inclusive classroom climate (both in person and virtually) and better prepare students for a future in computing.
Posted on 16 Jan 2022
Invent Together Urges Senate Judiciary Committee to Approve the Nomination of Kathi Vidal as USPTO Director
Did you know that Kathi Vidal would be the second woman ever to lead the USPTO? Moreover, she is a highly qualified IP attorney with a STEM background and a track record of supporting PatentDiversity. Invent Together, a coalition of which AWIS is a founding member, supports her confirmation.
Posted on 16 Jan 2022
Scholarships AWIS; apply by February 28, 2022
AWIS Distinguished Doctoral Research Scholarship: Awarded to an AWIS member whose dissertation research project is judged likely to make important and original contributions to her field. This $10,000 award is intended for a pre-doctoral student in Life Sciences, Physical Sciences, Behavioral Sciences, Mathematics or Engineering who is a woman expecting to graduate within 2 years of the application deadline.
AWIS Opportunity Scholarships for Career Re-entry: Up to four women (AWIS members with a bachelor’s degree in a STEM-related field) will receive individual awards of $2,500 to be used for expenses that will support and enable return to a STEM career after being out of the workforce for more than two years. Scholarships may be used for job search fees, technology needs, commuting, family care, additional education, participation in an incubator, or start-up fees for a scientific innovation or product.
Posted on 16 Jan 2022
The Webb Space Telescope Will Rewrite Cosmic History. If It Works.
The James Webb Space Telescope has launched! Read about a few of the amazing WomenInSTEM behind this project, including Sarah Kendrew, Wendy Freedman, Marcia Rieke, and Natasha Batalha.
Posted on 28 Dec 2021
Study: Kids stereotype tech as being for boys and not girls – but not for the reason you might expect
New research from the University of Washington and the University of Houston found that gender stereotypes around computer science and engineering for kids can start in first grade and stretch through high school. While disappointing, it’s not entirely surprising. The gender diversity of high school students taking AP computer science classes, for example, has increased over recent years, but female students still make up fewer than 30% of those taking the AP exam. In studies that surveyed more than 2,200 kids, 51% of the children and teens said that girls are less interested than boys in computer science, and 63% of them said that girls are less interested in engineering. When asked if girls are more interested than boys in computer science, only 14% said that was the case, and only 9% said girls are more interested in engineering. The results suggest that the efforts to attract more girls to computer science and engineering should not only focus on showing girls that they can be intellectually successful in these areas. The efforts need to convince them that they want to try it in the first place, that these are subjects that are appealing to girls like themselves.
Posted on 15 Dec 2021

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