Meeting recap 10/8/2014

Thanks to everyone who attended Wednesday’s member meeting! Here’s a recap of the events and projects we discussed.


Gender diversity workshop follow-up: Last week’s workshop, led by Jen Self of the Q Center, involved a lot of good discussion and was attended by some new people. We talked about the differences between sex, gender, and sexual orientation; non-binary genders; and pronoun usage (here is a comic about pronouns that summarizes some of the same points we went over).

We also discussed how our graduate student health insurance program (GAIP) does not cover transgender healthcare. The union will be renegotiating GAIP benefits this fall, and feedback from graduate students on this issue could make a big difference. From Addie’s follow-up email after the event: “To get involved with the graduate student union on issues of transgender health care, the point person for that project is David Parsons.  You can reach him at or by his phone number 206-604-1522.  If you want to help coordinate a petition, write letters to the people in charge of the policy, or help with the arbitration hearing in November, he’s the person to contact.” You can also contact Addie ( to get involved with this effort and/or the ongoing effort to get gender-neutral bathrooms in Bagley and CHB.

WCS birthday party and Ada Lovelace Day celebration: Thursday, October 16th at 8:00 pm at the College Inn Pub. To celebrate two years of being a student group, we’ll meet at the College Inn for drinks and cake. Thursday is two days before the anniversary of our very first meeting, and two days after Ada Lovelace Day, a celebration of women in science.

Christy Haynes visit: Tuesday, October 21st from ~9:00 am to 1:00 pm. Professor Christy Haynes, from the University of Minnesota, is visiting UW to give the analytical seminar on Monday the 20th. WCS is hosting an extension of her visit on Tuesday. There will be a small-group discussion (~9:00 to 10:15 in CHB 439) followed by a seminar (10:30 to 11:30 in CHB 102, coffee and snacks provided) and lunch. More details will be sent out soon, and you can also contact Heidi ( if you are interested in being involved with this event.

Officer elections: sometime during the week of October 27th. There will be an email sent out this Monday with descriptions of officer positions (president, vice-president, secretary, treasurer, webmaster, outreach coordinator, undergraduate liason) and a Doodle poll for setting the date and time. Everyone is encouraged to run for any officer position!

Cultures Connecting workshop: Tuesday, November 18th from 12:00 to 1:30 pm in CHB 102. This workshop will focus on equity and inclusion and will encourage conversations about diversity. More information about the organization can be found here.

Maria Klawe: December 5, time TBD. Maria Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College, will be visiting UW and giving the first annual WCS lecture (this series probably needs a better name – we’re open to suggestions!). She’s a computer scientist who has helped change the way computer science is taught at Harvey Mudd, and has made a ton of progress in expanding the participation of women in STEM. Check out this PBS “The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers” feature on her for more about how cool she is!

Jill Tarter: March 3. Jill Tarter, an accomplished physicist and astronomer and the director of SETI (as well as the inspiration for the character played by Jodie Foster in the movie Contact), will be giving the Danz Lecture for the UW Graduate School Public Lecture Series in March. WCS is hosting her visit and will be responsible for scheduling her activities, including meetings with faculty and students in different departments. You can watch her TED talk here, and contact Marie ( if you’re interested in helping plan her visit!

Outreach projects

STEM-OUT: This program is seeking mentors to work with some really awesome high school students at TAF Academy in Kent, with the goal of broadening participation in STEM fields. Scheduling is flexible and transportation is provided. Applications are due by October 15th, and you can apply here. Contact Elaine ( for more details.

CENTC collaboration: WCS will be working with the Center for Enabling New Technologies through Catalysis (CENTC) and potentially the undergraduate chemistry club to develop more outreach programs. There will be a brainstorming meeting soon, where we’ll discuss our goals and possible outreach settings (in-classroom vs after-school programs, middle school vs high school, convenient locations vs locations where students have fewer opportunities to get involved in science). Everyone is welcome to get involved in the planning and/or participate in outreach events. Stay tuned to this mailing list for more details!

SEYH: For the past two years, WCS has participated in Seattle Expanding Your Horizons (SEYH), a one-day conference for middle-school girls interested in STEM. We’re planning to lead a workshop at SEYH again this year, with the same “chemistry mystery” theme and activities. Check out last year’s recap on our blog for more info. SEYH isn’t until March 14th (Pi Day!), so planning for this event won’t start for a while, but we’re definitely going to sign up.

Other things

Constitution: The proposed amendments to our student group constitution (available on Google Drive here) passed. Modifications include the addition of an officer position for undergraduate liason, clarification of what happens if an officer steps down mid-year, and incorporation of more flexibility into the elections scheduling process. The new constitution will be posted on the WCS-UW website and filed with the UW Student Activities Office.

Nelson diversity posters: Donna Nelson (University of Oklahoma chemistry professor, candidate for ACS president, and scientific advisor for Breaking Bad) has conducted several demographic surveys of faculty in top departments in a variety of science and engineering fields. She has collected a huge data set (tables available here) that contains lots of information about diversity (or lack thereof) in academia. For example, in 2007 there were 1691 chemistry professors in the top 50 departments; of those 1691, there were 18 black men and 4 black women. We’re interested in making posters and infographics that highlight some of these statistics and posting them in different departments around campus to get people talking about diversity. Feel free to peruse the Nelson Diversity Surveys data and start coming up with some facts and statistics we could use. We’ll discuss this project further at a later meeting, but if you’re interested in taking the lead, contact Heidi ( and Sarah (


As always, you can contact any of the officers or email with questions, comments, or suggestions.

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