UT To help Science-Oriented Women Professionals At Workshop

By Megan Boehnke
The Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.

About 50 women in math-related science fields will gather this week at the University of Tennessee to give and receive advice on how to advance their careers.

The conference, hosted by the National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis at UT, often known as NIMBioS, will run Wednesday through Friday.

NIMBios has joined with other National Science Foundation centers around the country to put on the workshop, one of many the centers host twhat focus on diversity.
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“I think there are issues that are special for women, particularly since they’re a minority in math sciences. It’s a challenge,” said Kelly Sturner,education and outreach coordinator for NIMBioS and one of the organizers of the workshop.

“It helps to build up your network, and mentoring is really important for women going on further in their careers in (science, technology, engineering and math) fields,” she said.

This week’s event will feature panel discussions on grant writing, academic jobs, tenure and industry and government careers.

There will also be eight academic talks by women who earned degrees in pure or applied mathematics or statistics.

There will be breakout groups on searching for jobs and early career issues and a presentation on how to network.

The diversity committee put together the conference and then screened applicants to attend, Sturner said.

“Part of the goal is to have lots of networking opportunities, breakout groups and discussions,” she said. “(Those attending) represent the vast diversity there is in math careers — people working for drug companies, computer companies, government labs, and also a lot attending are grad students or people who just got their Ph.D. and are thinking about their future career.”

Nicole Else-Quest, an assistant professor and associate chair of the Department of Psychology at the University of Maryland, will deliver a keynote address titled “Attitudes, Not Aptitude: Understanding the Roots of Gender Gaps” at 4 p.m. Thursday in the Shiloh Room of the University Center. The address will be open to the public.

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