A shirt shows that sexism in science isn't dead A shirt shows that sexism in science isn't dead Driving Force November 14, 2014 A firestorm erupted when an article in the New York Times proclaimed “Academic Science Isn’t Sexist.” Scientists and journalists wrote dozens of response pieces debunking the premise of the article. Little did they know that a new storm was on the horizon. The so-called “shirtstorm” is a visceral reminder that sexism in science is far from dead.  The diversity disconnect in Silicon Valley Driving Force October 16, 2014 The saga of “Silicon Valley ‘gets religion’ on diversifying the tech workforce” continues to be jolted by stories in USA Today and other commentary, including that in this column. The latest discussion in USA Today of hiring practices by companies like Apple, eBay, Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Yahoo discloses yet another facet of workforce composition. Black women in STEM: Denial and debunking Driving Force October 2, 2014 They can't help themselves. "Anti-affirmative action deniers," as I call them, see the failures of college access through a lens that assumes a bending of rules in college admissions and an inevitable mismatch of talent and achievement. Why do elite life science labs run by men have fewer female trainees? Driving Force September 29, 2014 Women now earn more than half the Ph.D.s awarded in the life sciences but hold only 18 percent of full professorships in these fields. A recent study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that one potential cause for this disparity is that female graduate students and postdocs are underrepresented in top labs. This underrepresentation is problematic, as top labs are the primary feeders to faculty positions. Affirmative action: Class, race, place and the future of STEM Driving Force August 5, 2014 Time to take stock. Since the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the use of race in college admissions in Fisher v. University of Texas, what are the prospects that race-conscious affirmative action will prevail in higher education? Lifting the curtain on graduate admissions Driving Force July 29, 2014 Among the mysteries preserved by American universities is the process of review and selection of candidates for admission to graduate programs. A new study of how this process unfolds in 12 fields (including three STEM disciplines) within three highly-competitive research universities affords us a rare glimpse of—and raises red flags about—faculty committee dynamics in the interpretation of evaluative criteria. Bluntly put, two stages of review yield two categories of candidates, systematically disadvantaging one. Grant opportunity for early-career women in chemical sciences Monday, June 30, 2014 The objective of the Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences, is to kick-start the research career of promising future senior investigators. The Marion Milligan Mason Fund will provide three grants of $50,000 every other year to women researchers engaged in basic research in the chemical sciences. Awards are for women who are starting their academic research careers. In addition to research funding, the program will provide leadership development and mentoring opportunities.  Silicon Valley workplace biases mirror sins of the past Driving Force July 8, 2014 Surprise! Silicon Valley’s tech industry is your father’s Chevrolet after all. You would not have guessed that another generation of innovators would replicate the white- and male-dominated workforce—top to bottom—that has characterized science and engineering in the U.S. for decades.  Can female LEGO figures attract more girls to science? Can female LEGO figures attract more girls to science? Driving Force June 11, 2014 LEGO, the famous building-block toy company, recently made an exciting announcement. They will soon release a new LEGO set called ‘Research Institute,’ which will contain all-female scientist minifigures—an astronomer, paleontologist and chemist—with accompanying science props. To LEGO, releasing this set will mean getting more money from science-obsessed collectors, but this move may have even broader ramifications. By explicitly providing girls with examples of female scientists as toys, LEGO could be planting seeds for future career choices. NIH holds contest for fixing bias in peer review (with cash prizes) Capitol Connection May 27, 2014 Recent studies have demonstrated that African American researchers are less likely to receive NIH grant funding than are white researchers. The NIH wants to know if grant-reviewer bias is causing this disparity and wants to improve the overall fairness of peer review. With these aims in mind, the NIH is issuing two challenges for improving the grant review system.