Creating a culture of safety in the lab Creating a culture of safety in the lab Driving Force August 15, 2014 In recent months we’ve learned that samples of living smallpox virus were abandoned in a National Institutes of Health (NIH) storage room, that dozens of employees at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) were potentially exposed to a poorly handled shipment of anthrax, that a CDC lab accidentally contaminated a flu sample with the deadly H5N1 bird flu strain, and that a chemistry professor was fined $10,000 (and 800 hours of community service) for failing to properly supervise a research assistant who died in his lab. Members of the public may have been horrified about these cases, but academic scientists were likely less surprised. This is because many labs have an “insufficient culture of safety,” according to CDC Director Thomas Frieden. How can labs better foster a culture of safety? Tech diversity:  Where analysis meets advocacy Tech diversity: Where analysis meets advocacy Driving Force August 18, 2014 The reports from Silicon Valley—eBay this time—of a workforce in which blacks and Hispanics are grossly underrepresented continues to tell a story of how the tech industry has evolved a workforce that sure doesn’t look like America. 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 Tuesday, July 1, 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.  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. Nonacademic careers for STEM Ph.D.s differ by race and gender, study shows Driving Force May 13, 2014 More than half of people with doctorates in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields go on to have nonacademic careers. What types of jobs do these STEM-degree holders end up having? And are there gender and/or race differences in these jobs? A recent report provides some interesting answers to these questions. Describing and Measuring STEM Teaching Practices Describing and Measuring STEM Teaching Practices Download April 18, 2014 This new book "Describing and Measuring STEM Teaching Practices," is the result of a AAAS/NSF meeting that drew participants from nearly 50 institutions to identify tools and techniques that can be used in describing teaching practices. It discusses five techniques that individuals or organizations can use to measure STEM teaching: faculty and student surveys, interviews, classroom observations and teaching portfolios. The best descriptions of STEM teaching typically involve the use of multiple techniques, the book concludes. Defying disciplinary categories: A new career type? Driving Force April 23, 2014 "I write fiction and I'm told it's autobiographical, I write autobiography and I'm told it's fiction, so since I'm so dim and they're so smart, let them decide what it is or what it isn't."—Philip Roth, Deception, 1997.