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March 2017 GWIS Connect

Tuesday, March 7, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Allison Shultz
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February 2017
GWIS Connect is a periodical for GWIS national and chapter news.  Subscribe
In This Issue
  • International Women's Day
  • GWIS National Conference 
  • In Memoriam: Mildred Dresselhaus
  • March for Science
  • Chapter News
This month's featured scientist is Dr. Sadiye Rieder, Scientist, at MedImmune, LLC in Gaithersburg, MD. She will lead a webinar discussion on Gender Inequality on Tuesday, March 21st, 8 pm EST and be featured in an interview later this month in GWIS Lead. Look for details to sign up for the webinar in next week's issue of GWIS Empower
March 8th is International Women's Day, which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women. But progress has slowed in many places across the world, so global action is needed to accelerate gender parity. Visit the official website, sign the pledge, and find resources and events in your area.
Visit site
GWIS National Meeting: The 21st Century Scientist: Skills for Success
June 15th-17th, Sioux Falls, South Dakota

Get ready for the 96th Annual GWIS National Conference! Eastern South Dakota Chapter has teamed up with the SD Biotechnology Association and the South Dakota Small Business Innovation Research Group to bring you a full conference schedule that will help you launch your science career to the next level. Meet and network with other GWIS members from across the country and the globe. Featured speakers include Dr. Elizabeth Travis, Associate VP, Women's Faculty Programs, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Dr. Amy Elliott, Director, Center for Health Outcomes and Population Research, Sanford Health, and Dr. Isaiah Hankel of the Cheeky Scientist. Science Writer Rebecca Johnson will be the featured Banquet Speaker. Join us as we connect, lead, and empower women in science. 
In Memoriam: Mildred Dresselhaus

Contributed by Michelle Booze, Ph.D.

Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus received her BA degree in 1951 from Hunter College, followed by a Fulbright Fellowship at Cambridge University in 1952. She went on to receive her MA in 1953 at Radcliffe College and PhD at the University of Chicago in 1958. She completed a fellowship (1956-1957) at the Bell Telephone Laboratory during her years in graduate school. Dr. Dresselhaus has held many positions, including international appointments, during her tenure starting in 1958 as a NSF postdoctoral fellow at Cornell University and ending with Chair of the American Institute of Physics Governing Board from 2003-2008. She is currently a Professor Emerita in the Physics and Electrical Engineering departments at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She has held many honors and has received nearly 100 awards including the Enrico Fermi Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and was the first woman to receive the IEEE Medal of Honor. She has served as American Physical Society and AAAS presidents and as a governing officer within the National Academy of Sciences. She holds seven patents and has authored or contributed to 1,559 publications. Referred to as the "Queen of Carbon", her work includes research on carbon nanotubes, bismuth, nanowires, and low dimensional thermoelectricity. She was recently featured in GE’s video promoting women scientists. She was a GWIS member for 25 year prior to being recognized as an Honorary Member. Dr. Mildred Dresselhaus passed away on February 20th, 2017 in Boston, Massachusetts.

Deepthi sharan Thatiparti, a member of the Honorary Membership Committee, interviewed Dr. Dresselhaus as part of the application for this award in 2015. I asked her to share her thoughts of her conversation with this great scientist.

Deepthi writes:
I am very sorry to hear of Dr. Dresselhaus' passing. Though I learned so much about her from that interview, I wish I could have spent more time with her that day. To be honest, a few weeks after the interview, I wanted to go to MIT and meet with her at her office to learn a bit more about the opportunities for women in engineering at MIT.

She mentioned at the beginning of the interview, she had never given an interview via SKYPE and that she was excited and has been looking forward to my SKYPE interview. I still remember parts of the interview, where she took special interest in me as a student and in my family and education. While she shared insights about her early school years, I mentioned that I am from a developing country and that I came to America for the educational opportunities and to pursue a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at The University of Cincinnati.  She was thrilled and devoted a good deal of our conversation in supporting my educational mission.  She further mentioned that as a physics professor, she served in several dissertation defense committees of Mechanical and Material Science Engineering students at MIT and that she was familiar with my area of study.  When we discussed the topic of women in Physics and Mechanical Engineering, she had much to say.  After all, she is known as the "queen of carbon science” and was the first female Institute Professor at MIT.  I very much feel that it is because of the remarkable scientific careers of women like her, that we see a large number of female academic researchers today doing extraordinary work. Dr. Dresselhaus played a determining role in increased participation of women in physics and will remain an inspiration for generations of women scientists.

Link to the interview
March for Science Set for April 22

Many of our members participated in the various Women's Marches held in January. Now thousands of scientists plan to convene in Washington D.C. and other cities across the country for the March for Science demonstration in support of science and data-driven decision making. The promotion of the march stirred controversy as some scientists considered whether such an event would help or hurt the goals of science. An op-ed in the New York Times written by geologist Robert Young not long after the march's inception argued, "trying to recreate the pointedly political Women’s March will serve only to reinforce the narrative from skeptical conservatives that scientists are an interest group and politicize their data, research and findings for their own ends." However, voices in support of political activism of all kinds in favor of pushing policies rooted in fact-supported reason, have offered a strident defense. Jonathan Foley, Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences, wrote in Scientific American, "Science is intimately connected to politics. It always has been. After all, politics is how we are supposed to solve problems in a democratic society, and science is crucial to nearly everything we do—our economy, our health, our security, our very future. You cannot isolate science from politics, or politics from science."

Many scientific organization are signing on. Over the past few weeks, AAAS, the American Geophysical Union and many other formal partners were unveiled by the march's organizers as momentum has grown. The private Facebook group for the event has swelled to over 800,000 members. Scientists and science enthusiasts post testimonials as to why they will be marching - for life-saving treatments developed through research, for friends and family members who are/were/will be scientists, for a clean environment, for love of discovery, for international collaborations, and many more. Apart from the central march in Washington D.C., over 360 satellite marches are currently planned worldwide.

GWIS has set up a forum on our website to facilitate discussion among our members regarding the upcoming march. Members can debate the value of the march and those that go can solicit information and help in the logistics of attending as well as share photos after the event. Note you will need to login to our website to use the forum. Please contact Membership Secretary, Laura Arneson, with any login concerns.

Access Forum
Chapter News
Dr. Susan Kathleen Fetics of International Chapter has been awarded a prestigious Marie Skłodowska Curie Actions Fellowship for her proposal “High-Resolution X-ray Structures of Full-Length Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator (CFTR)”. Susan is in the Membrane Structural and Functional Biology Group led by Prof Martin Caffrey in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. The award funds two years of research.

Hawai'i Chapter host workshops at the annual Science Symposium for Girls

Several GWIS Hawai‘i Chapter members presented workshops at the 2017 Sacred Heart Academy Science Symposium for Girls. Workshop topics included "Discover the DNA of Limu," "Go Beyond the Surface: Discover the Biodiversity of Coral Reefs," and "What a Wonderful World - Under the Sea." The Symposium hosted 345 girls from grades 5-8 from 96 schools across the Main Hawaiian Islands.

Chicago Chapter hosts a Science Policy Career Panel

Chicago Chapter recently hosted a career panel focusing on Science Policy with speakers coming from the Illinois Science Council, Center for Data Science and Public Policy (UChicago), and the Research Innovation and Research Development program (UChicago). The panel offered important insights on multiple city- and nation-wide outreach programs, internships, volunteer experiences, and networking.  The event was a success with great turn out and a very interactive discussion session.

Greater Maryland has become a new GWIS chapter

The Greater Maryland chapter was officially launched on January 23. The chapter was started by 2 local scientists who had been members of another GWIS chapter and wanted to offer the same networking, professional development, and community involvement opportunities to fellow scientists in central Maryland. Welcome to the GWIS community!

Upcoming events

New York City Metro
March 9, 6:00 pm, Wikipedia Women in STEM Edit-a-Thon. More info
East Central

Chicago, IL
March 29, 6:00 pm, General Meeting and Information on Travel Award application. For more info, contact the chapter.

Auburn, AL
March 14, annual Pi-day for local Alabama Girl Scouts, hands-on demonstrations on science and engineering in agriculture. More info contact Bonnie Wilson

State College, PA  
Date TBD (March), Sigma-Millipore tour, professional development seminar, and free networking lunch with Sigma-Millipore employees. For more info contact Victoria DeLeo or visit the State College chapter website.

National Capital
March 4-26, Members needed to participate as judges for various science fairs. For details on specific fair and questions about carpooling contact Robin Woo or visit the chapter Facebook page.

Richmond, VA 
March 3, 12:00-12:50pm, Pharmaceutical Job Search. VCU School of Pharmacy, Room 129 A/B. More info

Research Triangle, NC
April 2, 2:00pm, Chapter meeting: discussing and planning on future outreach events. Bean Traders. For more info, contact the chapter or visit the Research Triangle chapter website

April 24, 6:00pm, Wikipedia Workshop. UNC Health Sciences Library, Rm 527. More info

West Central

Twin Cities, MN
March 21, 5:30-8:00pm, Discussion with a local biotech entrepreneur (Sally Hed), "Living the Dream: My Career as a (Female) Biotech Entrepreneur". Birchwood Café, 3311 East 25th St., Minneapolis. More info 

Eastern South Dakota
March 11, 6:30 pm Trivia Night, Ramada Hotel, 1301 W. Russell St., Sioux Falls
March 20, 4:00pm, Chapter Business meeting
March 21, 12:00pm, GWIS Brown Bag
More info 

Los Angeles, CA
March 4th, 8:00am, Volunteer with GWIS at USC’s Friends and Neighbors Day. Lunch will be provided. More info here or contact the chapter

March 16, April 13; 4:30-6:00pm, Book Club: Hidden Figures. University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, St. John Plant Laboratory Rm 400.

April 15th, 2017, 8:00am-2:00pm, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa campus, Expanding Your Horizons, leading STEM engagement for grades 6-8. More info.
International Chapter
Whatsapp Group
. The WhatsApp app, available for computers and smart phones, will allow International chapter to connect with other members in real time to ask questions of officers, find out about funding opportunities, ask for guidance with applications, find fellow members in the same scientific field and/or region of the world. If interested in participating in this group, please send an email to International Chapter president Susan Fetics with the subject “Whatsapp for International”. 

Get Involved with GWIS!

Support and be part of a growing network of women scientists.

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About GWIS

Founded in 1921, Graduate Women in Science is an inter-disciplinary society of scientists who collectively seek to advance the participation and recognition of women in science and to foster research through grants, awards and fellowships. We comprise over 20 active chapters of more than 800 women who are "United in Friendship through Science" to support and inspire member professional goals and mutual appreciation of science. Learn more at

Contact GWIS

PO Box 580140 
Minneapolis, MN 55458

Stacey Kigar

Jane Sharer Maier

Membership Secretary
Laura Arneson

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