Tag Archives: science technology engineering and mathematics (STEM)

September 2023: Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand set to welcome women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)

An October 31, 2022 Association for Women in the Sciences (AWIS) press release on EurekAlert announces a meeting for women in STEM being held in September 2023,

In September next year [2023], Aotearoa New Zealand will welcome women from across the globe to discuss how science, engineering and technology can help create a better, more equitable world.

The 19th International Conference of Women Engineers and Scientists (ICWES19) will take place in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest city, 3-6 September 2023. The conference theme – Shaping the Future – will offer examples of and insights for women studying and working in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), and their advocates, and showcase the potential of science and engineering to change the world for the better.

Women from around the world are invited to submit their work – from fundamental research projects to examples of how science and engineering is being applied in the real world – to be considered for the programme. Abstract submission is open until December 2022, with the full programme confirmed in early 2023.

Organisations are encouraged to support their teams’ personal and professional development by challenging their female staff to submit an abstract on a recent project or piece of research, and by providing opportunities for them to attend the conference in person.

The conference programme will focus on nine areas of STEM:

  • Protecting and restoring the natural environment
  • Enhancing liveability through urban transformation
  • Improving transportation by revolutionising mobility
  • Transitioning to clean energy
  • Improving health and healthcare
  • Providing food security
  • Advancing technology
  • Protecting people from natural hazards and other threats
  • Ensuring STEM diversity and equality.

The programme will also feature keynote speakers from Aotearoa New Zealand and around the world, panel discussions, interactive workshops, and opportunities for networking with like-minded individuals. Following the conference, attendees are invited to join field trips to see Aotearoa New Zealand STEM in action.

“Women are still under-represented in many areas of science and engineering, particularly at more senior levels,” says Emma Timewell, co-Chair of ICWES19 on behalf of the Association for Women in the Sciences (AWIS). “Being able to bring women together to discuss not only the amazing work that they do, but also to find ways to improve the global engagement of women in STEM, is a privilege.”

“Aotearoa New Zealand is a country built on innovation in science and engineering,” says Bryony Lane, co-Chair on behalf of Engineering New Zealand. “We’re excited to be able to showcase Aotearoa New Zealand to the rest of the world.”

ICWES is the flagship triennial conference of the International Network of Women Engineers and Scientists (INWES). ICWES19 is being hosted by the New Zealand Association for Women in the Sciences (AWIS) and Engineering New Zealand.

For more information on the conference, including details for abstract submission or sponsoring the conference, go to icwes19.com or follow @icwes19 on Facebook or Twitter.

In addition to the AWIS website here, there’s an AWIS New Zealand website.

The Call for Abstracts (from the ICWES 19 conference website), includes this,

Abstracts for all three formats (15 minute oral, 30 minute oral or electronic posters) must be clearly written in English and be a maximum of 300 words excluding the title and authors.

Title (maximum 30 words)

Which programme theme(s) best suits your abstract?

Author(s) FAMILY/SURNAMES should be in capitals, no qualifications, or titles. Note the presenting author(s) should be bold and underlined

Affiliations and city/town

Summary of your presentation

The exact length of oral presentations will be made clear to you at the time of acceptance and will depend upon the number of accepted oral presentations. Detailed instructions on how electronic posters should be presented will also be provided at the time of abstract acceptance.

Key dates

Submissions open: Thursday 1 September 2022

Submission closes: Friday 9 December 2022 [emphasis mine]

Notification of acceptance: Friday 31 March 2023

Good luck!

Drag artists making science more accessible

I can remember kids describing science (and mathematics too) as a drag never imagining this, “Meet The Drag Artists Who Are Making Science More Accessible,” a 17 – 20 min. segment on the Science Friday (SciFri ) radio programme (broadcast on US National Public Radio).

Luckily, there’s a webpage devoted to the segment where you’ll find all kinds of interesting tidbits like this (Note: Links have been removed),

Each generation has had science communicators who brought a sometimes stuffy, siloed subject into homes, inspiring minds young and old. Scientists like Don Herbert, Carl Sagan, and Bill Nye are classic examples. But our modern age of social media has brought more diverse communicators into the forefront of science communication, including the wild, wonderful world of STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] drag stars.

These are queer folk who mix the flashy fashions of the drag world with science education. Some, like Kyne, use TikTok as a medium to teach concepts like math. Others, like Pattie Gonia, use drag to attract more people to the great outdoors. The accessibility of the internet has made these personalities available to a wide audience.

Kyne and Pattie Gonia join Ira [SciFri host Ira Flatow] to talk about the magic drag can bring to science education, and why they think the future of SciComm looks more diverse than the past.

You’ll find images similar to this one of Pattie Gonia in the SciFri article,

This dress is trash—in a good way. With the help of recycling, one queen’s trash is Pattie Gonia’s treasure. Credit: Pattie Gonia [downloaded from https://www.wnycstudios.org/podcasts/science-friday/segments/science-advisor-resigns-covid-drug-treatments-science-drag-artists-feb-11-2022-part-1]

You can listen to the segment, read transcripts, watch videos, and find more information on the “Meet The Drag Artists Who Are Making Science More Accessible” webpage.

STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) brings life to the global hit television series “The Walking Dead” and a Canadian AI initiative for women and diversity

I stumbled across this June 8, 2022 AMC Networks news release in the last place I was expecting (i.e., a self-described global entertainment company’s website) to see a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) announcement,

AMC NETWORKS CONTENT ROOM TEAMS WITH THE AD COUNCIL TO EMPOWER GIRLS IN STEM, FEATURING “THE WALKING DEAD”

AMC Networks Content Room and the Ad Council, a non-profit and leading producer of social impact campaigns for 80 years, announced today a series of new public service advertisements (PSAs) that will highlight the power of girls in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) against the backdrop of the global hit series “The Walking Dead.”  In the spots, behind-the-scenes talent of the popular franchise, including Director Aisha Tyler, Costume Designer Vera Chow and Art Director Jasmine Garnet, showcase how STEM is used to bring the post-apocalyptic world of “The Walking Dead” to life on screen.  Created by AMC Networks Content Room, the PSAs are part of the Ad Council’s national She Can STEM campaign, which encourages girls, trans youth and non-binary youth around the country to get excited about and interested in STEM.

The new creative consists of TV spots and custom videos created specifically for TikTok and Instagram.  The spots also feature Gitanjali Rao, a 16-year-old scientist, inventor and activist, interviewing Tyler, Chow and Garnet discussing how they and their teams use STEM in the production of “The Walking Dead.”  Using before and after visuals, each piece highlights the unique and unexpected uses of STEM in the making of the series.  In addition to being part of the larger Ad Council campaign, the spots will be available on “The Walking Dead’s” social media platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube pages, and across AMC Networks linear channels and digital platforms.

PSA:   https://youtu.be/V20HO-tUO18

Social: https://youtu.be/LnDwmZrx6lI

Said Kim Granito, EVP of AMC Networks Content Room: “We are thrilled to partner with the Ad Council to inspire young girls in STEM through the unexpected backdrop of ‘The Walking Dead.’  Over the last 11 years, this universe has been created by an array of insanely talented women that utilize STEM every day in their roles.  This campaign will broaden perceptions of STEM beyond the stereotypes of lab coats and beakers, and hopefully inspire the next generation of talented women in STEM.  Aisha Tyler, Vera Chow and Jasmine Garnet were a dream to work with and their shared enthusiasm for this mission is inspiring.”

“Careers in STEM are varied and can touch all aspects of our lives. We are proud to partner with AMC Networks Content Room on this latest work for the She Can STEM campaign. With it, we hope to inspire young girls, non-binary youth, and trans youth to recognize that their passion for STEM can impact countless industries – including the entertainment industry,” said Michelle Hillman, Chief Campaign Development Officer, Ad Council.

Women make up nearly half of the total college-educated workforce in the U.S., but they only constitute 27% of the STEM workforce, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Research shows that many girls lose interest in STEM as early as middle school, and this path continues through high school and college, ultimately leading to an underrepresentation of women in STEM careers.  She Can STEM aims to dismantle the intimidating perceived barrier of STEM fields by showing girls, non-binary youth, and trans youth how fun, messy, diverse and accessible STEM can be, encouraging them to dive in, no matter where they are in their STEM journey.

Since the launch of She Can STEM in September 2018, the campaign has been supported by a variety of corporate, non-profit and media partners. The current funder of the campaign is IF/THEN, an initiative of Lyda Hill Philanthropies.  Non-profit partners include Black Girls Code, ChickTech, Girl Scouts of the USA, Girls Inc., Girls Who Code, National Center for Women & Information Technology, The New York Academy of Sciences and Society of Women Engineers.

About AMC Networks Inc.

AMC Networks (Nasdaq: AMCX) is a global entertainment company known for its popular and critically-acclaimed content. Its brands include targeted streaming services AMC+, Acorn TV, Shudder, Sundance Now, ALLBLK, and the newest addition to its targeted streaming portfolio, the anime-focused HIDIVE streaming service, in addition to AMC, BBC AMERICA (operated through a joint venture with BBC Studios), IFC, SundanceTV, WE tv and IFC Films. AMC Studios, the Company’s in-house studio, production and distribution operation, is behind some of the biggest titles and brands known to a global audience, including The Walking Dead, the Anne Rice catalog and the Agatha Christie library.  The Company also operates AMC Networks International, its international programming business, and 25/7 Media, its production services business.

About Content Room

Content Room is AMC Networks’ award-winning branded entertainment studio that collaborates with advertising partners to build brand stories and create bespoke experiences across an expanding range of digital, social, and linear platforms. Content Room enables brands to fully tap into the company’s premium programming, distinct IP, deep talent roster and filmmaking roots through an array of creative partnership opportunities— from premium branded content and integrations— to franchise and gaming extensions.

Content Room is also home to the award-winning digital content studio which produces dozens of original series annually, which expands popular AMC Networks scripted programming for both fans and advertising partners by leveraging the built-in massive series and talent fandoms.

The Ad Council
The Ad Council is where creativity and causes converge. The non-profit organization brings together the most creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address many of the nation’s most important causes. The Ad Council has created many of the most iconic campaigns in advertising history. Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk. Smokey Bear. Love Has No Labels.

The Ad Council’s innovative social good campaigns raise awareness, inspire action and save lives. To learn more, visit AdCouncil.org, follow the Ad Council’s communities on Facebook and Twitter, and view the creative on YouTube.

You can find the ‘She Can Stem’ Ad Council initiative here.

Canadian women and the AI4Good Lab

A June 9, 2022 posting on the Borealis AI website describes an artificial intelligence (AI) initiative designed to encourage women to enter the field,

The AI4Good Lab is one of those programs that creates exponential opportunities. As the leading Canadian AI-training initiative for women-identified STEM students, the lab helps encourage diversity in the field of AI. Participants work together to use AI to solve a social problem, delivering untold benefits to their local communities. And they work shoulder-to-shoulder with other leaders in the field of AI, building their networks and expanding the ecosystem.

At this year’s [2022] AI4Good Lab Industry Night, program partners – like Borealis AI, RBC [Royal Bank of Canada], DeepMind, Ivado and Google – had an opportunity to (virtually) meet the nearly 90  participants of this year’s program. Many of the program’s alumni were also in attendance. So, too, were representatives from CIFAR [Canadian Institute for Advanced Research], one of Canada’s leading global research organizations.

Industry participants – including Dr. Eirene Seiradaki, Director of Research Partnerships at Borealis AI, Carey Mende-Gibson, RBC’s Location Intelligence ambassador, and Lucy Liu, Director of Data Science at RBC – talked with attendees about their experiences in the AI industry, discussed career opportunities and explored various career paths that the participants could take in the industry. For the entire two hours, our three tables  and our virtually cozy couches were filled to capacity. It was only after the end of the event that we had the chance to exchange visits to the tables of our partners from CIFAR and AMII [Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute]. Eirene did not miss the opportunity to catch up with our good friend, Warren Johnston, and hear first-hand the news from AMII’s recent AI Week 2022.

Borealis AI is funded by the Royal Bank of Canada. Somebody wrote this for the homepage (presumably tongue in cheek),

All you can bank on.

The AI4Good Lab can be found here,

The AI4Good Lab is a 7-week program that equips women and people of marginalized genders with the skills to build their own machine learning projects. We emphasize mentorship and curiosity-driven learning to prepare our participants for a career in AI.

The program is designed to open doors for those who have historically been underrepresented in the AI industry. Together, we are building a more inclusive and diverse tech culture in Canada while inspiring the next generation of leaders to use AI as a tool for social good.

A most recent programme ran (May 3 – June 21, 2022) in Montréal, Toronto, and Edmonton.

There are a number of AI for Good initiatives including this one from the International Telecommunications Union (a United Nations Agency).

For the curious, I have a May 10, 2018 post “The Royal Bank of Canada reports ‘Humans wanted’ and some thoughts on the future of work, robots, and artificial intelligence” where I ‘examine’ RBC and its AI initiatives.

Nobel Laureates write science articles for children

Caption: Frontiers for Young Minds Nobel Collection. Credit: Frontiers Media

A September 7, 2021 Frontiers news release (also on EurekAlert) describes the company’s latest initiative to engage children in science (Note: I have a bit more about one of the Nobel Laureates, Dan [Daniel] Schechtman at the end of this posting),

Young people everywhere now have access to a free collection of scientific articles written by winners of science’s most coveted honor, the Nobel Prize. The Nobel Collection, published by Frontiers, aims to improve young people’s access to learning material about science’s role in addressing today’s global challenges. The collection will connect young minds with some of today’s most distinguished scientists through engaging learning material steeped in some of the most groundbreaking research from over the last twenty years.

Written for young people aged eight to 15, the collection has been published in the journal Frontiers for Young Minds. With the help of a science mentor, each article in the Nobel Collection has been reviewed by kids themselves to ensure it is understandable, fun, and engaging before publication. By sparking an interest in science from a young age, the Nobel Collection aims to improve young people’s scientific worldview. Its objective is to equip them with a scientific mindset and appreciation of the central role of science in finding solutions to today’s growing catalogue of global challenges.

A keen 13-year-old reviewer from Switzerland shared his experience, “I’m very interested in science and it is fascinating to review papers from the real scientists who know so much about their specialized fields! Many of the papers explain dangerous illnesses to children, and I think such information is so important!”

May-Britt Moser, awarded The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014, said, “I’m honored to contribute to the journal Frontiers for Young Minds. Children are born curious, with passion for questions and with light in their eyes. As a scientist, I feel privileged to be able to ask questions that I think are important. I hope the papers in this journal may help nurture and reinforce children’s passion and curiosity for science – what a gift to humanity that would be!”

Commenting on the Collection, Aaron Ciechanover who was awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004, said, “Prizes and recognition are not targets that one should aim for. Breakthrough achievements that expand our knowledge of the world and benefit mankind are. Reading about science was my hobby as a kid and, doubtless, the seed of my curiosity into scientific discovery.”

Currently, the Nobel Collection comprises of contributions including:

How do we find our way? Grid cells in the brain, written by May-Britt Moser, awarded The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2014.

Computer Simulations in Service of Biology, written by Michael Levitt, awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2013.

Quasi-Crystal, Not Quasi-Scientist, written by Dan Shechtman, awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2011.

The Transcription of Life: from DNA to RNA, written by Roger D. Kornberg, awarded The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2006.

Targeted Degradation of Proteins – the Ubiquitin System, written by Aaron Ciechanover, The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2004.

The Nobel Collection’s co-editor Idan Segev, professor of computational neuroscience at the Hebrew University, said: “What we want to achieve with this collection, beyond improving kids’ understanding of the scientific process and the particular Nobel recognized breakthroughs, is to acquaint kids with scientific role models – someone for young people to look up to. The beauty of these articles is that the Nobel Laureates share their life experience with kids, their failures and passions, and provide personal advice for the young minds.

“The kids that we worked with to review the articles were amazed by what they were reading and left the classes with a real sense of admiration for the humanistic as well as the scientific facet of Nobel prize winners. It is an incredible learning resource that can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection worldwide, which in context of the disruption created by the COVID-19 pandemic makes it particularly important.”  

UN Sustainable Development Goals – Quality Education

The initiative is also part of Frontiers’ commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs], particularly Goal 4 – Quality Education. Disruption to access to quality education has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, potentially jeopardizing some of the hard-won gains in recent years.

Frontiers, who funds the Frontiers for Young Minds journal as part of its philanthropy program, intends to work with at least five more Nobel Laureates later this year to grow the resource. All the articles are free to read, download, and share. Plans are also in place to translate the Nobel Collection into a portfolio of languages so even more young people from around the world can make use of it.

Dr. Fred Fenter, chief executive editor of Frontiers, said: “From fighting climate change to disease to poverty, science saves lives. What better role models to inspire future generations of scientists than Nobel Prize winners themselves. Our hope is the Nobel Collection will act as a catalyst, both motivating young people and improving their appreciation of the central role science will play in creating a sustainable future for people and planet.”

The Frontiers for Young Minds initiative

The Frontiers for Young Minds journal launched in 2013. Since then, Frontiers has engaged with around 3,500 young reviewers, each of whom has been guided by one of around 600 science mentors. To date, the journal has received more than ten million views and downloads of its 750 articles, which include English, Hebrew, and Arabic versions. The Frontiers for Young Minds editorial board currently consists of scientists and researchers from more than 64 countries.

Topics included in the journal range from astronomy and space science to biodiversity, neuroscience, pollution prevention, and mental health. Although written and edited for a younger audience, all the research published in Frontiers for Young Minds is based on solid evidence-based scientific research. 

I found the Schechtman story in my December 24, 2013 posting,

I suggested earlier that this achievement has a fabulous quality and the Daniel Schechtman backstory is the reason. The winner of the 2011 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Schechtman was reviled for years within his scientific community as Ian Sample notes in his Oct. 5, 2011 article on the announcement of Schechtman’s Nobel win written for the Guardian newspaper (Note: A link has been removed),

“A scientist whose work was so controversial he was ridiculed and asked to leave his research group has won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Daniel Shechtman, 70, a researcher at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, received the award for discovering seemingly impossible crystal structures in frozen gobbets of metal that resembled the beautiful patterns seen in Islamic mosaics.

Images of the metals showed their atoms were arranged in a way that broke well-establised rules of how crystals formed, a finding that fundamentally altered how chemists view solid matter.

On the morning of 8 April 1982, Shechtman saw something quite different while gazing at electron microscope images of a rapidly cooled metal alloy. The atoms were packed in a pattern that could not be repeated. Shechtman said to himself in Hebrew, “Eyn chaya kazo,” which means “There can be no such creature.”

The bizarre structures are now known as “quasicrystals” and have been seen in a wide variety of materials. Their uneven structure means they do not have obvious cleavage planes, making them particularly hard.

In an interview this year with the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, Shechtman said: “People just laughed at me.” He recalled how Linus Pauling, a colossus of science and a double Nobel laureate, mounted a frightening “crusade” against him. After telling Shechtman to go back and read a crystallography textbook, the head of his research group asked him to leave for “bringing disgrace” on the team. “I felt rejected,” Shachtman said.”

It takes a lot to persevere when most, if not all, of your colleagues are mocking and rejecting your work so bravo to Schechtman! And,bravo to the Japan-UK project researchers who have persevered to help solve at least part of a complex problem requiring that our basic notions of matter be rethought.

I encourage you to read Sample’s article in its entirety as it is well written and I’ve excerpted only bits of the story as it relates to a point I’m making in this post, i.e., perseverance in the face of extreme resistance.

Shechtman’s quasi-crystal story for Frontiers provides clear explanations and a little inspiration while not flinching away from the difficulties posed when shaking up established theories.

BTW, I like reading material written for children as there are often useful explanations that aren’t included in material intended for adults.

Black History Month (February 2022): a Canadian conference and a US magazine cover story

I’ve got two items that feature science in Black History Month 2022.

BE-STEMM

The Canadian Black Scientists Network (CBSN) is holding its first annual Black Excellence Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine and Health (BE-STEMM) conference Jan. 30-Feb. 2, 2022.

The conference is featured on CBSN’s homepage and it’s where you’ll find a welcome video, which may be livestreaming an event, “Only select public sessions can be viewed here, for full access to all sessions and speakers, please register and join the conference.” Join Conference Register Now!

I did find a bit more information about the conference programme in a January 24, 2022 news item on a University of Saskatchewan (USask) Health Sciences news page (Note: Links have been removed),

The event, sponsored by the USask Office of the President and other major Canadian universities, aims to remove barriers to attracting and retaining Black Canadians in STEMM fields.

“The CBSN was created with the following vision: To elevate, make visible, celebrate and connect Black Canadians in STEMM across sectors. The CBSN is open every Canadian in the STEMM field who identifies as Black,” said University of Saskatchewan (USask) College of Medicine professor and researcher Dr. Erique Lukong (PhD), who serves as vice-president of the CBSN.

The event dates coincide with the beginning of Black History Month, which honours the legacy of Black Canadians and their communities. With the federal government announcing this year’s theme, The Future Is Now, the CBSN BE-STEMM conference provides the perfect opportunity to engage with the discoveries and innovations taking place in Black Canadian research communities.

Lukong is a leader within the CBSN and is a current USask College of Medicine breast cancer researcher who will be presenting at the BE-STEMM conference. His work focuses on analyzing the cellular, physiological and clinical roles of enzymes BRK and FRK in the development and progression of breast cancer.

The BRK enzyme is found to be elevated in 85 per cent of breast cancer tumours and has been found to cause potential drug resistance. The FRK enzyme often goes undetected in triple negative breast cancers – a type of breast cancer where the tumour is missing three important receptors commonly found in other breast cancers.

“I will discuss recent data highlighting the contrasting roles of BRK and FRK in breast cancer and show how these proteins can be targeted to improve breast cancer outcomes and especially in the most vulnerable populations like Black women where there is a disproportionate burden of triple negative breast cancer,” said Lukong.

Another exciting offering of the conference is the Leadership Summit sessions scheduled for Feb. 2 [2022]. The Leadership Summits will be comprised of six concurrent, 90-minute panels, engaging employers, academia, industries, government ministries, health-care professional and funding bodies.

USask College of Medicine assistant professor Dr. Erick McNair (PhD) is one of the facilitators of the Leadership Summit panel discussions.

The CBSN and BE-STEMM were first mentioned here in a November 17, 2021 posting which also noted a Canadian Broadcasting Corporation radio programme, “Quirks & Quarks: Black in science special”which won an award from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Ebony magazine and Olay highlight ‘Beauty and Brains’

Ebony magazine is going to publish its first paper issue since 2019 for Black History Month February 2022.

Ebony magazine and Olay (currently a skin care brand of US company Proctor & Gamble) sponsored a beauty pageant/contest for the magazine’s cover. From the September 18, 2021 contest page on the Ebony website, Note: HBCU stands for Historically Black Colleges and Universities,

Introducing EBONY’s HBCU STEM Queens Competition

We are pleased to announce EBONY’s HBCU STEM [science, technology, engineering, mathematics] Queens competition. Since 1975, EBONY has celebrated Black collegiate women – poised to make a positive change in the African American community – through the Campus Queens competition at HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities). EBONY is proud to continue its longest-running editorial franchise. And this year, we’re excited to be partnering with Olay.

Ten beautiful, talented and accomplished HBCU STEM Queens will be featured in EBONY’s Commemorative print issue debuting on newsstands in February 2022.

ELIGIBILITY

Only female students who are STEM majors attending an HBCU are eligible for consideration.

COMPETITION AWARDS

The 10 selected EBONY HBCU STEM Queens with the highest number of votes will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to receive a makeover with professional hair and wardrobe consultation. This trip includes the official “HBCU STEM Queens” photo shoot, which will be featured in the February 2022 Commemorative issue of EBONY magazine as well as online. Students will be notified of the winning group of 10 Queens on October 8, 2021, with subsequent correspondence outlining the schedule and arrangements for the photo shoot.

Meseret Ambachew’s February 1, 2022 article for AdWeek provides more details about the partnership and the upcoming issue of the magazine.

Sarah Mahoney’s January 31, 2022 article for MarketingDaily includes this tidbit,

The special issue celebrates 10 “STEM Queens” from HBCUs, selected by voters on Ebony’s website. Each of the ten winners gets a $10,000 grant, mentorship options from women scientists at P&G, and a trip to Los Angeles for the awards.

Welcome to Black History Month 2022!

2021 Science Literacy Week (in Canada)

2021’s Science Literacy Week (in Canada) started on September 20, 2021 and this year’s theme is Climate. Since it runs until September 26, 2021, there’s still time to find an event near you or one happening virtually at a time that suits you. (A searchable events database can be found here. Note: I have always found it unhelpful and am reduced to paging through the list. I hope you do better.)

For anyone who lives on the West Coast or finds the timing suitable, there’s a series of virtual sessions on ‘Climate and Adaptations’ running for three days starting today, September 21, 2021. Here’s more from the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology’s (SCWIST) Climate and Adaptations event page,

Join us for 3 sessions discussing different topics relating to climate and adaptations using hands-on activities!

About this event

Join SCWIST for a 3-day online event for Science Literacy Week!

The theme this year is climate. From September 21 to 23, we will be investigating this topic.

We will be hosting three one-hour sessions discussing different topics relating to climate and adaptations using hands-on activities.

September 21: 9:30am-10:30am

September 22: 9:30am-10:30am

September 23: 9:30am-10:30am

Sessions will be hosted live on Zoom and pre-recorded activity videos will be made available to all registrants.

The event is specifically catered to students of grades 2-7, but open to members of the general public as well. Our presenters will talk about the water cycle, polar bears and food chains [emphasis mine]. By registering via Eventbrite, you are registering for all three sessions.

You have to go here to click the registration button.

This annual science literacy week is hosted by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Video storytelling workshops presented by the Society for Canadian Women in Science and Technology (SCWIST)

There are two upcoming ‘Story Telling Through Video: Elevate Your Online Presence’ workshops, part one on June 8, 2021 (Tuesday) and part two on June 11, 2021 (Friday). Here’s more about what each online session will cover and how much it will cost.

Session 1,

Learn how to create videos to structure and present the message you want to convey to promote your business, portfolio or campaign

Since 1981, SCWIST has made great strides in promoting and empowering women in STEM. When you register, please consider adding a small donation to support our programs so all interested women and girls can see where a future in STEM can take them.

Story Telling Through video: Elevate Your Online Presence – Part 1

In this workshop you will learn how to edit video in Davinci Resolve. (A free editing software available for both Mac and PC.) We will start with the basics on how to use the program, along with an introduction to the modules that will make editing easier and more efficient. Next we will have a chance to edit a video interview that will be shared prior to the workshop. And finally we will have a chance to re-purpose that clip to create content for multiple platforms. This is a hands-on workshop that will require participants to download the program and follow along with ample opportunity to share their screens for tech support.

Speaker [Ida Adamowicz]

Ida is a Digital Course Video Producer who offers and teaches Video Production to service providers and educators. With her Television Broadcasting Diploma and over 10 years of experience creating online content for organizations like; Dress for Success, Minerva, Iskwew Air, City of Vancouver, and Heart of Ontario. She prides herself in sharing her knowledge with others in a way that is straightforward, yet entertaining.

Date and time

Tue, June 8, 2021

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT

$30 – $60

REFUND POLICY

No refunds. However, you may request for a transfers to a another person or a credit towards your participation in a future event happening within three (3) months from the date of this event.

PHOTO AND VIDEO CONSENT

By registering for the event, you understand that the session may be video recorded and/ or photos will be taken for use in SCWIST digital communication platforms, including but not limited to: the SCWIST website, e-newsletter, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, and others. You therefore are providing consent for your image and voice to be used by SCWIST for free and in perpetuity.If you do not want your image to be captured in video or photographically, please ensure that your camera is off during the session.

QUESTIONS AND FEEDBACK

Contact Dr. Khristine Cariño, Director for Events, at director-events@scwist.ca. or Dr Noeen Malik, Acting Director Events, SCWIST, at events@scwist.ca

Session 2, which is almost identical to part 1 (the fees differ somewhat and it’s held on a different day),

Story Telling Through video: Elevate Your Online Presence – Part 2

In this workshop you will learn how to edit video in Davinci Resolve. (A free editing software available for both Mac and PC.) We will start with the basics on how to use the program, along with an introduction to the modules that will make editing easier and more efficient. Next we will have a chance to edit a video interview that will be shared prior to the workshop. And finally we will have a chance to re-purpose that clip to create content for multiple platforms. This is a hands-on workshop that will require participants to download the program and follow along with ample opportunity to share their screens for tech support.

Date and time

Fri, June 11, 2021

3:00 PM – 5:00 PM PDT

$0 – $60

If you have questions, you can contact these folks,

Contact Dr. Khristine Cariño, Director for Events, at director-events@scwist.ca. or Dr Noeen Malik, Acting Director Events, SCWIST, at events@scwist.ca

I attended one of their other workshops (visual storytelling) and it was accessible for someone (me) who’d forgotten a lot and didn’t know that much in the first place.

For anyone interested in SCWIST, their website is here.

Finding Ada (Lovelace) conference on Nov. 9 -11, 2020

The same folks who bring us Ada Lovelace Day in October each year also produce a conference. (For anyone unfamiliar with Ada Lovelace, a 19th century mathematician and computer scientist, there are more details here in my Oct. 13, 2014 posting.)

As for the conference, here’s more about the 2020 edition from the event page on the Finding Ada website,

The Finding Ada Conference is a fully online global conference for women in STEM and advocates for gender equality. It will be held on over 9/10/11 November, depending on your timezone, beginning at 9am on 10 November in Wellington, New Zealand, and ending 29 hours later at 5pm on the West Coast of America. Sign up for your free tickets now!

Join our headline speakers, Caroline Walker from J.P. Morgan, DeLisa Alexander from Red Hat and Chi Onwurah MP [UK], as well as over 45 other speakers from around the globe, for a fabulous day of talks, workshops, Q&As and interviews.

I found a few more details on this Finding Ada Conference (2020) webpage on the HopIn online events platform (Please special note of the times),

The Finding Ada Conference is a fully online global conference for women in STEM and advocates for gender equality. It will be held on Tuesday 10 November, beginning at 9am in Wellington, New Zealand [emphasis mine], and ending 29 hours later at 5pm on the West Coast of America [emphasis mine].

Panel discussions
Indigenous Women in STEM
Featuring:

  • Karlie Noon, astrophysicist
  • Aleisha Amohia, software developer
  • Johnnie Jae, journalist & technologist
  • Shawn Peterson of Native Girls Code
  • Eteroa Lafaele, software engineer

Our panellists will be talking about their experiences as indigenous women, how they got into STEM, the issues specific to their indigenous communities when it comes to encouraging girls into STEM, the role of organisations and institutions in supporting indigenous women in STEM and more.

Can Children’s Books Encourage More Girls into STEM?

Featuring:

  • Miriam Tocino, author Zerus & Ona
  • Kate Wilson, managing director of Nosy Crow
  • Lisa Rajan, author Tara Binns series
  • Dr Sheila Kanani, author of How to Be an Astronaut and Other Space Jobs

Our panellists will be asking what role books play in helping girls build an identity that includes STEM, whether books can really counter gender stereotypes, how we represent multiple axes of diversity, and talk a bit about how they came to write books for children.

I’ve only excerpted a portion of what’s on the page. The times are a bit confusing as this, too, is on the Hopin event webpage (directly under the title): to PST. You could try checking with the organizer here: suw@findingada.com.

MIT Media Lab releases new educational site for kids K-12: it’s all about artificial intelligence (AI)

Mark Wilson announces a timely new online programme from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in his April 9, 2020 article for Fast Company (Note: Links have been removed).

Not every child will grow up to attend MIT, but that doesn’t mean they can’t get a jump start on its curriculum. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has forced millions of students to learn from home, MIT Media Lab associate professor Cynthia Breazeal has released [April 7, 2020] a website for K-12 students to learn about one of the most important topics in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics]: artificial intelligence.

The site provides 60 activities, lesson plans, and links to interactive AI experiments that MIT and companies like Google have developed in the past. Projects include coding robots to doodle, developing an image classifier (a tool that can identify images), writing speculative fiction to tackle the murky ethics of AI, and developing a chatbot (your grade schooler cannot possibly be worse at that task than I was). Everything is free, but schools are supposed to license lesson plans from MIT before adopting them.

Various associated MIT groups are covering a wide range of topics including the already mentioned AI ethics, as well as, cyber security and privacy issues, creativity, and more. Here’s a little something from a programme for the Girl Scouts of America, which focused on data privacy and tech policy,

The Girl Scouts awarded the Brownie (7-9) and Junior (9-11) troops with Cybersecurity badges at the end of the full event. 
Credit: Daniella DiPaola [downloaded from https://www.media.mit.edu/posts/data-privacy-policy-to-practice-with-the-girl-scouts/]

You can find MIT’s AI education website here. While the focus is largely on children, it seems they are inviting adults to participate as well. At least that’s what I infer from what one of the groups associated with this AI education website, the LifeLong Kindergarten group states on their webpage,

The Lifelong Kindergarten group develops new technologies and activities that, in the spirit of the blocks and finger paint of kindergarten, engage people in creative learning experiences. Our ultimate goal is to foster a world full of playfully creative people, who are constantly inventing new possibilities for themselves and their communities.

The website is a little challenging with regard to navigation but perhaps these links to the Research Projects page will help you get started quickly or, for those who like to investigate a little further before jumping in, this News page (which is a blog) might prove helpful.

That’s it for today. I wish everyone a peaceful long weekend while we all observe as joyfully and carefully as possible our various religious and seasonal traditions. From my tradition to yours, Joyeuses Pâques!

Equality doesn’t necessarily lead to greater women’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) participation?

It seems counter-intuitive but societies where women have achieved greater equality see less participation by women in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) than countries where women are treated differently. This rather stunning research was released on February 14, 2018 (yes, Valentine’s Day).

Women, equality, STEM

Both universities involved in this research have made news/press releases available. First, there’s the February 14, 2018 Leeds Beckett University (UK) press release,

Countries with greater gender equality see a smaller proportion of women taking degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), a new study by Leeds Beckett has found.

Dubbed the ‘gender equality paradox’, the research found that countries such as Albania and Algeria have a greater percentage of women amongst their STEM graduates than countries lauded for their high levels of gender equality, such as Finland, Norway or Sweden.

The researchers, from Leeds Beckett’s School of Social Sciences and the University of Missouri, believe this might be because countries with less gender equality often have little welfare support, making the choice of a relatively highly-paid STEM career more attractive.

The study, published in Psychological Science, also looked at what might motivate girls and boys to choose to study STEM subjects, including overall ability, interest or enjoyment in the subject and whether science subjects were a personal academic strength.

Using data on 475,000 adolescents across 67 countries or regions, the researchers found that while boys’ and girls’ achievement in STEM subjects was broadly similar, science was more likely to be boys’ best subject.

Girls, even when their ability in science equalled or excelled that of boys, were often likely to be better overall in reading comprehension, which relates to higher ability in non-STEM subjects.

Girls also tended to register a lower interest in science subjects. These differences were near-universal across all the countries and regions studied.

This could explain some of the gender disparity in STEM participation, according to Leeds Beckett Professor in Psychology Gijsbert Stoet.

“The further you get in secondary and then higher education, the more subjects you need to drop until you end with just one.

“We are inclined to choose what we are best at and also enjoy. This makes sense and matches common school advice.

“So, even though girls can match boys in terms of how well they do at science and mathematics in school, if those aren’t their best subjects and they are less interested in them, then they’re likely to choose to study something else.”

The researchers also looked at how many girls might be expected to choose further study in STEM based on these criteria.

They took the number of girls in each country who had the necessary ability in STEM and for whom it was also their best subject and compared this to the number of women graduating in STEM.

They found there was a disparity in all countries, but with the gap once again larger in more gender equal countries.

In the UK, 29 per cent of STEM graduates are female, whereas 48 per cent of UK girls might be expected to take those subjects based on science ability alone. This drops to 39 per cent when both science ability and interest in the subject are taken into account.

Countries with higher gender equality tend also to be welfare states, providing a high level of social security for their citizens.

Professor Stoet said: “STEM careers are generally secure and well-paid but the risks of not following such a path can vary.

“In more affluent countries where any choice of career feels relatively safe, women may feel able to make choices based on non-economic factors.

“Conversely, in countries with fewer economic opportunities, or where employment might be precarious, a well-paid and relatively secure STEM career can be more attractive to women.”

Despite extensive efforts to increase participation of women in STEM, levels have remained broadly stable for decades, but these findings could help target interventions to make them more effective, say the researchers.

“It’s important to take into account that girls are choosing not to study STEM for what they feel are valid reasons, so campaigns that target all girls may be a waste of energy and resources,” said Professor Stoet.

“If governments want to increase women’s participation in STEM, a more effective strategy might be to target the girls who are clearly being ‘lost’ from the STEM pathway: those for whom science and maths are their best subjects and who enjoy it but still don’t choose it.

“If we can understand their motivations, then interventions can be designed to help them change their minds.”

Then, there’s the February 14, 2018 University of Missouri news release, some of which will be repetitive,

The underrepresentation of girls and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields occurs globally. Although women currently are well represented in life sciences, they continue to be underrepresented in inorganic sciences, such as computer science and physics. Now, researchers from the University of Missouri and Leeds Beckett University in the United Kingdom have found that as societies become wealthier and more gender equal, women are less likely to obtain degrees in STEM. The researchers call this a “gender-equality paradox.” Researchers also discovered a near-universal sex difference in academic strengths and weaknesses that contributes to the STEM gap. Findings from the study could help refine education efforts and policies geared toward encouraging girls and women with strengths in science or math to participate in STEM fields.

The researchers found that, throughout the world, boys’ academic strengths tend to be in science or mathematics, while girls’ strengths are in reading. Students who have personal strengths in science or math are more likely to enter STEM fields, whereas students with reading as a personal strength are more likely to enter non-STEM fields, according to David Geary, Curators Professor of Psychological Sciences in the MU College of Arts and Science. These sex differences in academic strengths, as well as interest in science, may explain why the sex differences in STEM fields has been stable for decades, and why current approaches to address them have failed.

“We analyzed data on 475,000 adolescents across 67 countries or regions and found that while boys’ and girls’ achievements in STEM subjects were broadly similar in all countries, science was more likely to be boys’ best subject,” Geary said. “Girls, even when their abilities in science equaled or excelled that of boys, often were likely to be better overall in reading comprehension, which relates to higher ability in non-STEM subjects. As a result, these girls tended to seek out other professions unrelated to STEM fields.”

Surprisingly, this trend was larger for girls and women living in countries with greater gender equality. The authors call this a “gender-equality paradox,” because countries lauded for their high levels of gender equality, such as Finland, Norway or Sweden, have relatively few women among their STEM graduates. In contrast, more socially conservative countries such as Turkey or Algeria have a much larger percentage of women among their STEM graduates.

“In countries with greater gender equality, women are actively encouraged to participate in STEM; yet, they lose more girls because of personal academic strengths,” Geary said. “In more liberal and wealthy countries, personal preferences are more strongly expressed. One consequence is that sex differences in academic strengths and interests become larger and have a stronger influence college and career choices than in more conservative and less wealthy countries, creating the gender-equality paradox.”

The combination of personal academic strengths in reading, lower interest in science, and broader financial security explains why so few women choose a STEM career in highly developed nations.

“STEM careers are generally secure and well-paid but the risks of not following such a path can vary,” said Gijsbert Stoet, Professor in Psychology at Leeds Beckett University. “In more affluent countries where any choice of career feels relatively safe, women may feel able to make choices based on non-economic factors. Conversely, in countries with fewer economic opportunities, or where employment might be precarious, a well-paid and relatively secure STEM career can be more attractive to women.”

Findings from this study could help target interventions to make them more effective, say the researchers. Policymakers should reconsider failing national policies focusing on decreasing the gender imbalance in STEM, the researchers add.

The University of Missouri also produced a brief video featuring Professor David Geary discussing the work,

Here’s a link to and a citation for the paper,

The Gender-Equality Paradox in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education by Gijsbert Stoet, David C. Geary. Psychological Studies https://doi.org/10.1177/0956797617741719 First Published February 14, 2018 Research Article

This paper is behind a paywall.

Gender equality and STEM: a deeper dive

Olga Khazan in a February 18, 2018 article for The Atlantic provides additional insight (Note: Links have been removed),

Though their numbers are growing, only 27 percent of all students taking the AP Computer Science exam in the United States are female. The gender gap only grows worse from there: Just 18 percent of American computer-science college degrees go to women. This is in the United States, where many college men proudly describe themselves as “male feminists” and girls are taught they can be anything they want to be.

Meanwhile, in Algeria, 41 percent of college graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math—or “STEM,” as its known—are female. There, employment discrimination against women is rife and women are often pressured to make amends with their abusive husbands.

According to a report I covered a few years ago, Jordan, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates were the only three countries in which boys are significantly less likely to feel comfortable working on math problems than girls are. In all of the other nations surveyed, girls were more likely to say they feel “helpless while performing a math problem.”

… this line of research, if it’s replicated, might hold useful takeaways for people who do want to see more Western women entering STEM fields. In this study, the percentage of girls who did excel in science or math was still larger than the number of women who were graduating with STEM degrees. That means there’s something in even the most liberal societies that’s nudging women away from math and science, even when those are their best subjects. The women-in-STEM advocates could, for starters, focus their efforts on those would-be STEM stars.

Final thoughts

This work upends notions (mine anyway) about equality and STEM with regard to women’s participation in countries usually described as ‘developed’ as opposed to ‘developing’. I am thankful to have my ideas shaken up and being forced to review my assumptions about STEM participation and equality of opportunity.

John Timmer in a February 19, 2018 posting on the Ars Technica blog offers a critique of the research and its conclusions,

… The countries where the science-degree gender gap is smaller tend to be less socially secure. The researchers suggest that the economic security provided by fields like engineering may have a stronger draw in these countries, pulling more women into the field.

They attempt to use a statistical pathway analysis to see if the data is consistent with this being the case, but the results are inconclusive. It may be right, but there would be at least one other strong factor that they have not identified involved.

Timmer’s piece is well worth reading.

For some reason the discussion about a lack of social safety nets and precarious conditions leading women to greater STEM participation reminds me of a truism about the arts. Constraints can force you into greater creativity. Although balance is necessary as you don’t want to destroy what you’re trying to encourage. In this case, it seems that comfortable lifestyles can lead women to pursue that which comes more easily whereas women trying to make a better life in difficult circumstance will pursue a more challenging path.