Monday, January 16, 2012

AASWOMEN for January 13, 2012

AAS Committee on the Status of Women
Issue of January 13, 2012
eds. Joan Schmelz, Caroline Simpson, and Michele Montgomery

This week's issues:

1. 2012 George van Biesbroeck Prize

2. 'Geek' Perception of Computer Science Putting Off Girls, Expert Warns

3. Women Need More Role Models, Tech Leaders Tell CES Panel

4. Secretary Clinton Announcement at the "Celebrating Women in Science" Event

5. Boston's Women in Bio Aims to Fuel STEM Curiosity in Middle Schoolers

6. How to Submit to the AASWOMEN Newsletter

7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN Newsletter

8. Access to Past Issues of the AASWOMEN Newsletter


1. 2012 George van Biesbroeck Prize
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

CSWA has just learned that the 2012 George van Biesbroeck Prize will be awarded to one of our own, Meg Urry, for her tireless efforts to enhance the participation of women in astronomy! The citation will read as follows:

"The 2012 George van Biesbroeck Prize, which honors an individual for long-term extraordinary or unselfish service to astronomy, is awarded to Dr. C. Megan Urry for her sustained efforts to increase the number of women in astronomy. She was one of the five original organizers of the first "Women in Astronomy" meeting in Baltimore, was coauthor of the "Baltimore Charter" and persuaded the AAS council to endorse the charter's goals. She also organized the second of these meetings in Pasadena in 2003. In addition to encouraging many young women scientists on an individual basis, she revived and edited for seven years STATUS, the newsletter of the Committee on the Status of Women of the AAS. She also published the results of key statistical studies, wrote numerous articles and gave many lectures on the status of minorities in the sciences. Through the years she has helped transform our field from one with a rather restrictive view of who belongs in the profession to one that is n ow held as an example for other disciplines on how to diversify the field. She did all this while at the same time achieving a distinguished career in astrophysics herself."

Congratulations, Meg!

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2. 'Geek' Perception of Computer Science Putting Off Girls, Expert Warns
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Jessica Shepherd, education correspondent for the guardian.co.uk, wrote:

One of the world's leading computer scientists, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, has warned that girls are increasingly shunning her subject at school and university.

Hall, who invented a forerunner to the World Wide Web, said the problem of a scarcity of girls studying computer science was "getting worse" despite huge efforts from the scientific community to address the issue.

Hall, the dean of the faculty of physical and applied sciences at the University of Southampton, told the Guardian that girls still perceive computing to be "for geeks" and that this has proved to be a "cultural" obstacle, so far impossible to overcome.

Hall played a prominent role in shaping science and technology policy as well as carrying out pioneering research, but said computer science had to be "given a buzz" to all pupils in primary schools and children needed to be shown how vital the discipline is to society.

She said instead of showing pupils how computers work, they were being taught about how to use a computer to produce spreadsheets, presentations and other documents. Hall said this had exacerbated the shortage of girls taking up computer science.

"Girls have been further put off by dumbing down computing to IT literacy ... They think that if they study computing they are going to become secretaries."

To read more:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/10/fewer-girls-taking-computer-science?newsfeed=true

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3. Women Need More Role Models, Tech Leaders Tell CES Panel
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Jay Greene wrote this article for CES.CNET:

LAS VEGAS--Even though women have taken great strides in technology, a panel of top women in the industry suggested that great role models could help them gain more.

Those role models shouldn't be merely top executives, said Cisco Systems Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior, one of the highest ranking women in the industry. Young women considering pursuing careers in tech need to see accomplished women in a variety of jobs.

"We need to have successful role models at every level," Warrior said during CNET Women in Tech panel at the Consumer Electronics Show here this afternoon.

Warrior was joined on the panel by Google Vice President Marissa Mayer, Flickr founder Catarina Fake, and Lindsey Turrentine, editor-in-chief of CNET Reviews. Warrior told the panel, moderated by CNET Executive Editor Molly Wood, that women didn't need "heroes." What helps, though, are women who can talk about the struggles they've faced, and the tactics they've used to overcome them.

"There is value in sharing your experiences," Warrior said.

To read more:

http://ces.cnet.com/8301-33363_1-57357500/women-need-more-role-models-tech-leaders-tell-ces-panel

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4. Secretary Clinton Announcement at the "Celebrating Women in Science" Event
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Press release from the U.S. Department of State:

On Nobel Prize Day, December 10, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton launched the NeXXt Scholars Initiative in a video address at the New York Academy of Sciences event, "Celebrating Women in Science" honoring the 100th anniversary of Marie Curie's second Nobel Prize in science. This new partnership initiative responds to the Secretary's core mission of empowering women around the world, by educating them to be the leaders of tomorrow.

The NeXXt Scholars Initiative engages young women from predominantly Muslim countries to pursue an undergraduate degree in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) at U.S. Women's Colleges. In addition to a high-quality STEM education, this U.S. Government partnership with nearly 40 women's colleges will provide mentorship, networking, support, and enrichment activities for these international NeXXt Scholars and an American student nominated to be her STEM-Sister. The New York Academy of Sciences will support these efforts by providing Academy memberships and mentorship to these women, connecting NeXXt Scholars with a large network of women in STEM fields through its Science Alliance program.

Dr. E. William Colglazier, the Science and Technology Adviser to Secretary Clinton, gave remarks at the event about the Department's commitment to this initiative and praised the spirit of collaboration of all partners including EducationUSA Centers, U.S. Agency for International Development, New York Academy of Sciences and nearly 40 U.S. women's colleges. Attendees included an influential group of scientists, as well as leaders from government, academia, industry, and philanthropy. A host of notable women participated in the event, including honorary guest Her Royal Highness Princess Madeleine of Sweden, Science Envoy and President of Lehigh University, Dr. Alice P. Gast, and keynote speaker Dr. Ellen Kullman, chair of the board and CEO of DuPont. Representatives from 19 of the 37 women's colleges partnering in the NeXXt Scholars Initiative were in attendance, including the five 'sister' colleges: Barnard, Bryn Mawr, Mount Holyoke, Smith and Wellesley, as well as, College o f Saint Benedict, Carlow University, Agnes Scott, Spelman, and Simmons Colleges. The presidents of Bennett College for Women, College of Saint Elizabeth, Douglass Residential College of Rutgers University, Saint Joseph, Bay Path, Saint Mary-of-the-Woods, Scripps, Stephens, and Columbia Colleges were all in attendance for the launch of this partnership initiative. NeXXt Scholars recruitment is currently underway for the first cohort entering this fall.

To read more:

http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/01/180291.htm

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5. Boston's Women in Bio Aims to Fuel STEM Curiosity in Middle Schoolers
From: Joan Schmelz [jschmelz_at_memphis.edu]

Amy Speak posted this article on Xconomy:

According to the National Science Foundation, eighth grade girls are half as likely to be interested in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers as boys-a dramatic change from second grade, where the numbers are roughly equal. This trend continues through high school, college and into the workplace, as even women with advanced science degrees tend to leave the field at higher rates than their male counterparts. The numbers also show that careers of men and women in bioscience progress at markedly different rates; while women and men each hold about half of the graduate degrees in biology, far more senior leadership roles are held by men than women (17 percent vs. 83 percent, respectively.)

Women In Bio Greater Boston (WIB-GB) is one group that is trying to change that. It is the newest chapter of a fast-growing international trade association aimed at fostering leadership, entrepreneurship and careers of women in the biosciences. Comprised of professionals across the career continuum-from those just starting out to industry veterans-the group plans to leverage the region's strong biotechnology supercluster to provide career development opportunities for women in New England. Programming being planned for 2012 includes networking, mentoring and educational events specifically geared at the interests of and challenges faced by women working in this industry.

To read more:

http://www.xconomy.com/boston/2011/12/23/bostons-women-in-bio-aims-to-fuel-stem-curiosity-in-middle-schoolers

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6. How to Submit

To submit an item to the AASWOMEN newsletter, including replies to topics, send email to

aaswomen_at_aas.org .

All material will be posted unless you tell us otherwise, including your email address.

Please remember to replace "_at_" in the e-mail address above.

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7. How to Subscribe or Unsubscribe

To subscribe or unsubscribe to the AASWOMEN newsletter, please fill in the required information at:

http://lists.aas.org/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/aaswlist .

If you experience any problems, please email itdept_at_aas.org

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8. Access to Past Issues

http://www.aas.org/cswa/AASWOMEN.html

Each annual summary includes an index of topics covered.

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