Women in Science 2010 Forum


On Friday, September 24, the CUNY Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, the CUNY Graduate Center and
The Feminist Press cosponsored a forum, Inspiring Women Scientists. The purpose of the forum was to support women students, faculty, and professionals in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The forum brought together
faculty, staff, and students from institutions across the NY metropolitan area, in addition to attendees from Johns Hopkins University and the University of Texas, El Paso.


The forum featured keynote speaker, Dr. Elaine Fuchs, the Rebecca C. Lancefield Professor in Mammalian Cell Biology and Development at The Rockefeller University. Following her speech, Dr. Fuchs (right) was expertly interviewed by New York Times science reporter, Claudia Dreifus. Dr. Janna Levin, Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Barnard College of Columbia University and best-selling author was the afternoon guest speaker."

A morning panel, Science In Academe presented CUNY women scientists from various disciplines and at different stages of their careers: Maribel Vasquez (Biomedical Engineering, City College); Jill Bargonetti-Chavarria (Biology, Hunter College); Lesley Davenport (Chemistry, Brooklyn College); and Ilona Kretchscmar (Chemical Engineering, City College). The panel was moderated by Dr. Myriam Sarachik, Distinguished Professor of Physics, City College.

A second panel, Career Options in Science, had women scientists, who work outside of academia, discuss their careers and views on the opportunities available today for young women interested in science. Participating on the panel were Jane Snowdon, Senior Manager, Industry Solutions and Emerging Business Department, Tal Rabin, Head of the Cryptographic Research Group, both at the IBM TJ Watson Research Center, and Sandra Brown, patent attorney, Hewlett Packard. Carol Hymowitz, reporter for the Wall Street Journal and Forbes magazine moderated this discussion.

The forum included a networking reception and poster session that presented institutional programs and projects that
support the development of women scientists, promote exchange of ideas and lead to collaborations. New Quantum Theory May Improve Computer Technologies.


9:00 am: Welcome and Introductions

Gillian Small, Vice Chancellor for Research, The City University of New York

9:30 am: Keynote speaker

Elaine Fuchs will speak for about 20 minutes then she will be interviewed by Claudia Dreifus, New York Times science reporter and coauthor with Andrew Hacker of “Higher Education

10:45 am: Break

11:00 am: Science in Academe

Panel of women scientists at the City University of New York from various disciplines and at different stages of their careers


Myriam Sarachik, Distinguished Professor of Physics, City College – CUNY


Maribel Vazquez, Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering, City College – CUNY
Jill Bargonetti, Professor of Biological Sciences, Hunter College – CUNY
Lesley Davenport, Professor of Chemistry, Brooklyn College – CUNY
Ilona Kretzschmar, Associate Professor of Engineering, City College – CUNY

12:30 pm: Lunch

2:00 pm: Guest Speaker

Janna Levin, Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Barnard College, Columbia University

3:00 pm: Break

3:15 pm: Career Options in Science


Carol Hymowitz, Wall Street Journal reporter


Jane Snowdon, Senior Manager, Industry Solutions & Emerging Business, IBM
Tal Rabin, Research Staff Member and Manager, Cryptographic Research, IBM Research
Sandra Brown, patent attorney, Hewlett-Packard

4:30 - 6:00 PM: Poster Session and Networking Reception


The following posters were presented:

Women's Studies at the Graduate Center: Neuroculture Lecture Series

Abstract: Neuroscientific knowledge is being widely applied to questions of mind, self and society, with significant implications for our understandings of personal identity, gender, sexuality, and embodiment. The NeuroCulture Lecture Series highlights how women’s studies scholars, feminist theorists, writers of literature and memoir, artists and others outside of neuroscience are responding to expert knowledge about the brain and its implications.

Queensborough Community College: NIH Bridges to Baccalaureate Program

Abstract: The Bridges Program is a long standing partnership between QCC and Queens College designed to improve the training and graduation rate of underrepresented minority science students, and to facilitate their transfer to baccalaureate programs in biomedicine or behavioral science. Bridges students test their interest in a biomedical career by engaging in a research project, participating in workshops, attending seminars and presenting their research at conferences. A comprehensive system of academic and psychosocial support is provided and early interaction with the senior college facilitates transfer. Women comprise 61% of the 127 students who enrolled in the Program over the past eight years. Their transfer rates and baccalaureate completion are comparable to that of the male participants. The Program’s success in attracting women stems from its gender-neutral message, active recruitment of individuals and the diversity of research projects available on and off campus. In addition, the option of p/t academic year or f/t summer research allows students to gain solid research experience and receive a salary without sacrificing personal responsibilities.

Wesleyan University: Responses to Group Devaluation Among American-Muslims

Abstract: Devaluation refers to an action in which a certain group of people having specific cultural or religious values demean others who are not similar to them. We carried out two studies (an emotional narrative and a survey study) that examined how American-Muslims cope with the devaluation of their group. The results indicated that American-Muslims experienced negative emotions (e.g., sadness) when their group is devalued. The results also showed that the participants often tried to dialogue with those that devalued their group. Thus, negative emotions are associated with constructive responses to group devaluation among American-Muslims.

Laguardia community college: motivating women enrollment into stem majors through early hand on experiences in robotics at LYCEE

Abstract: This poster highlights some outcome aspects of a TITLEV funded initiative, the LaGuardia Youth Center for Engineering Excellence (LYCEE). LYCEE is a center founded at LaGuardia Community College with main objective to encourage the enrollment of minorities and women into Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) majors. Specifically, this poster presents some Robotics projects completed by young female students from high schools across New York City at the LYCEE center. These projects are part of a more comprehensive after school and summer programs offered by LYCEE. The poster also presents brief historical bios of some remarkable women who have made tremendous contributions into diverse areas of Robotics and Controls theory from around the world. We strongly believe these women scientists will serve as a role model for these young high school girls in order to motivate their enrollment into these STEM majors where shortage of minorities and particularly women is very evident and worrisome. Some statistics about participation of women and enrollment of them into STEM majors are presented. Some recommendations are made in order to increase the participation of female students in the LYCEE Lab.

The National Academies Press: Gender Differences at Critical Transitions in the Careers of Science, Engineering and Mathematics Faculty

Abstract: Gender Differences at Critical Transition in the Careers of Science, Engineering and Mathematics Faculty presents new and surprising findings about career differences between female and male full time, tenure track, and tenured faculty in science, engineering, and mathematics at the nation's top research universities. Much of this congressionally mandated book is based on two unique surveys of faculty and departments at major U.S. Research universities in six fields: biology, chemistry, civil engineering, Electrical engineering, mathematics, and physics. Additional information about the report can be found on the National Academies’ website at http://www.nap.edu/. Information about the Committee on Women in Science, Women, and Engineering can be found on http://sites.nationalacademies.org/PGA/cwsem/index.htm

New York City College of Technology: Research, Reflect, Plan: IT Start at NYCCT, CUNY

Abstract: New York City College of Technology (City Tech) was awarded an NSF ADVANCE IT Catalyst grant (#0811192) to research, reflect and plan a transformational initiative for women STEM faculty that will improve the professional climate and ultimately benefit all faculty members.
We have worked with and studied other ADVANCE‐funded institutions to learn more about their programs designed to mend gender inequities and their outcomes. Consultants include Dr. Vita Rabinowitz, Provost at Hunter College and a co‐director of their Gender Equities Project supported by NSF ADVANCE IT and PAID; Dr. Benjamin Flores, Director of UTEP’s STEM Talent Expansion Program and recipient of the Examples of Excellence in Education Award (2006), among other awards; and Dr. Lisa Frehill, Project Evaluator. Qualitative and quantitative research has been conducted which evaluates the professional standing of our women faculty and across institutions. Other campus activities include workshops on mentoring and publishing, focus groups to define strengths and areas needing improvement, development of new materials to clarify the promotion and tenure process, and creation of training programs for departmental Appointments Committees.
Attainment of gender equity among women STEM faculty will not only help them to achieve their full potential, but will also create an improved environment for all faculty, and more diverse role models for the next generation of scientists and engineers.