Member meeting Friday 6/24 at 9 in BAG 464

Our first WCS member meeting of the summer will be this Friday, June 24th, at 9:00 am in Bagley 464 (if you’re standing at Drumheller Fountain and facing Bagley, it’s in the back left corner of the building, on the fourth floor). There will be donuts and/or banana bread!

We have a bunch of things to discuss, including several potential summer events (mindfulness meditation workshop, summer picnic/outing, workshops with the career center) and some ongoing or upcoming projects (new outreach activities, diversity in STEM summit this fall, and more). If you have any other ideas or topics to discuss, please email us!

See you Friday!

Book club week 1: prologue

This year for our summer book club, we’re reading Lab Girl by Hope Jahren! Meetings are on Thursdays at noon in CHB 439; you can sign up and find the reading schedule here. At our first meeting, we read the prologue together and discussed our first impressions. Here’s a few notes on what we talked about…

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Recap: Dan Grunspan, UW Anthropology, on Gender Bias amongst Undergraduates in STEM Courses

grunspan

Hi folks! Happy Memorial Day. Here’s my take on Dan Grunspan’s talk, titled “Old Boys’ Club Starts Early: Males Under-Estimate Academic Performance of Their Female Peers in Undergraduate Biology Classrooms.” After I give my two cents, I’ll provide some cool links! Some notes: Dan’s research differentiated between people using the words “male” and “female.” In order to stay true to his analysis, I will do the same (even though gender is a spectrum and male and female are technically references to “biological sex,” whatever that is).

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Thursday 5/26 at 5:30 in CHB 102: discussion of gender in undergraduate biology classes with Dan Grunspan, UW Anthropology

Please join us on Thursday, May 26th at 5:30 pm in CHB 102 for “Old Boys’ Club Starts Early: Males Under-Estimate Academic Performance of Their Female Peers in Undergraduate Biology Classrooms” with Dan Grunspan. Dan is a UW anthropology graduate student and author of a recent study investigating how gender influences students’ perceptions of their peers in undergraduate biology classes at UW.

Here’s the abstract for Dan’s talk; you can also check out the whole paper here.

Women leave STEM fields at a higher rate than their male peers. Inequitable social environments in undergraduate classrooms may contribute to this gap in retention rates. We examine how gender influences student perceptions of one another in undergraduate Biology courses by asking students to list peers they feel are strong with the course material. We asked this question eleven times over three iterations of the same large introductory Biology course. We find that males are more likely than females to be listed by their peers as strong with the course material. Social network models which control for students’ grade, whether they were outspoken, and the course structure, reveal that this bias is driven by males under-nominating their female peers, and over-nominating their male peers. Females, on the other hand, nominated equitably based on student performance and outspokenness. The most renowned students in all three classes are male. The results of this survey may reflect differences in the social environments faced by male and female students, which could influence self-confidence, and ultimately persistence in this STEM discipline.

This event will be a great way to learn more about gender in STEM education and how it affects us as students, teachers, and scientists. Special thanks to Women in Genome Sciences for hosting a similar discussion last month in their department; we’re excited to bring this conversation to chemistry. Hope to see you there!

Mentoring tips and resources from our peer mentoring workshop

Here are some notes about mentoring from yesterday’s workshop, “I’m an experienced graduate student?! Tips and advice for sharing your knowledge.” Thanks to Janice DeCosmo, Lindsey Madison, and Julie Cass for contributing their mentoring expertise! Thanks also to everyone who submitted questions for the panel.

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Mentoring and more mentoring! Workshop 3/30 at 5 in CHB 102

WCS is excited to announce the new chemistry department peer mentorship network! The goal of this program is to help incoming grad students with questions about starting grad school (research, classes, moving to Seattle, work/life balance etc.) as well as integrating them into the department when they arrive.

We’re currently recruiting both mentors and mentees! If you’re a current chemistry graduate student, check out our mentor sign-up survey and expectations here. If you’re an incoming UW chemistry grad student, check out our mentee sign-up survey and expectations here. We’ll be pairing mentors and mentees based on survey responses and would love to have as many people involved in the program as possible.

To kick off our mentoring program and start broader discussions about mentoring, we’re having a workshop on Wednesday, March 30th at 5:00 pm in CHB 102. Entitled “I’m an experienced graduate student?! Tips and advice for sharing your knowledge”, this event will feature a brief presentation by Janice DeCosmo, the Associate Vice Provost for Undergraduate Research. Following this, we’ll have a panel discussion with Janice as well as Julie Cass and Dr. Lindsey Madison, both experienced graduate peer mentors. Also, there will be pizza! You can RSVP on facebook and invite your friends here.

Whether you’re pursuing a career in academia, industry, or something else, mentoring is an important skill related to management, leadership, and teamwork. Experience with peer mentoring can help you develop these valuable skills for working with people. Plus, understanding both sides of the mentor/mentee relationship can help you manage your relationships with your advisor and other mentors. We’ll keep collecting and sharing more resources beyond our mentor network and workshop, so stay tuned!