Say hello to Sharmila, our coordinator for external affairs and outreach and ardent tennis fan. When she’s not playing the game herself, she loves to watch Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Saina Nehwal do their thing!
Say Hello to Alyssa – our Vice President, ocean expert, and pasta enthusiast. When she’s not out running on Long Island trails, she conducts research in the San Juan Islands of Washington State and on the shores here in New York.
Say Hello to Caitlyn – our event coordinator, twitter wrangler, and resident expert on how to survive Minnesota in the winter. As a part of our new ‘Meet the Executive Board’ series, we’ll – and by we I mean the blogger, Hi! Hello! – we’ll be showcasing each member of the board, interview style.
In light of the #metoo movement and the stories of questionable behavior of men towards women that are surfacing in both popular culture and scientific settings, we can all see that there are more and more conversations among our friend circles on what kinds of interactions are unacceptable. While it is clear that in cases of harassment and assault, there needs to be harsh criminal consequences, what about those “gray area” situations at the opposite end of the spectrum, in which men make women feel unwelcome, uncomfortable, or unsafe through everyday interactions? What should the consequences be for bad, but not criminal, behavior? What conversations do we need to have to begin a shift towards a culture in science that supports all people?
This was our last Brown Bag Lunch discussion of the Fall Semester, 2017. We invited people to the Physics department to discuss ‘‘Google’s Diversity Manifesto’’ over coffee and donuts. We had a lengthy and detailed discussion with widely varying perspectives over the topic. There was a clear consensus among everyone about how the circulation of such a document in a big corporation like Google undermines the competence of women and lends unreasonable credence to the widely held opinion of women not being skilled enough to participate in STEM fields. STEM fields have very skewed sex ratios that should be improved by encouraging women to take up STEM fields as their career. A document of this kind does more harm than good in trying to improve gender ratios in these fields. The spectrum of opinions was much wider when we brought up the question of fairness of the person being fired for writing such a polarizing opinion about this topic. While some people strongly believed that the act was worthy of being fired from the company, others were of the opinion that resorting to such exclusionary measures can lead to consequences which are opposite to what is desirable in the long run.
On November 16, GWISE hosted the annual mixer event featuring the talk “It Takes a Village to Advance Women in STEM”. The invited speaker, Prof. Sandra K Masur, works in Ophthalmology at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York. In addition to many leadership roles, she served as chair of the Women in Cell Biology Committee of the American Society for Cell Biology.