FAQs: So you want to be a WCSUW officer?

• Are there any requirements to become an officer? Yes – you have to be a UW student and want to promote women in the chemical sciences!

• What if I’m worried about the time commitment? The various officer positions have a range of commitment levels (see the descriptions at the end of the post) and all of the officers act as a team to help if things get overwhelming for someone.

• I’m a first year, can I run for a position? Of course! We’ve had many first years as officers in the past. In fact, some of our founders were first years when they helped start WCSUW.

• I want to plan an event, but am not sure about being an officer. What can I do? We encourage members to plan events! We have significant infrastructure in place to assist with planning and implementing events to help things run smoothly.

• I don’t know how much time I’ll have to devote to WCSUW, is there an easy way to be involved? Be a member! We have lots of opportunities to help plan events, volunteer at outreach activities, and volunteer during on campus events.

Officer positions:

Secretary – We sometimes call the Secretary position the “Treasurer of Words,” which is a surprisingly accurate title. The Secretary takes meeting notes, sends reminder emails, and publishes meeting recaps. Also in the Secretary’s wheelhouse is maintaining the WCS Facebook page, other social media presences, and writing small publicity statements for the Bagley Bulletin. Being Secretary is an excellent way to learn to treasure words and develop communication skills.

Outreach Coordinator – If you like talking to kids and organizing mini-field trips for graduate students, this is the job for you! As it stands, this position focuses on managing supplies and organizing groups to participate in K-12 outreach around the Seattle area. Primarily, this is done by bringing short, chemistry-based demos to school science nights in the area, and through a number of annual events such as Seattle Expanding Your Horizons. This job can be low maintenance/ low stress, although there are many opportunities for a new outreach coordinator to expand into different types of science outreach.

Webmaster – Being the WCS webmaster is a great position for an incoming first year; it has a very manageable amount of work, and is easily accessible for any level of computer literacy. If you like social media, this is the position for you. Duties involve maintaining the website, moderating social media, updating the calendar, and ensuring that the blog is up to date. Optional duties involve more in-depth tech knowledge, which our current webmaster is willing to assist with or teach you!

Treasurer – The primary duty of the treasurer is to manage the WCS budget. That involves generating the annual budget, keeping track of expenditures, submitting reimbursement requests, and communicating with the department finance office.

Undergraduate Liaisons – This position has an additional requirement – you have to be an undergrad! This position is responsible for communicating our events to undergraduates and giving them a voice within the organization.

Vice President – The vice president primarily serves to assist the other officers, particularly the president. Duties mainly involve helping plan events, volunteering at various activities, and providing additional support whenever needed.

President – The president is generally responsible for managing WCS and making sure stuff happens. While all officers and many members plan, lead, and help run events, the president checks that individual events are on track, helps coordinate event-planning teams, and manages more long-term planning. The president also calls and facilitates member meetings and is often the first contact person for the group.

Ice cream social Wednesday 9/28!

Please join Women in Chemical Sciences at UW for our annual welcome ice cream social, on Wednesday, September 28th from 3 to 5 pm in CHB 102. We’ll be kicking off the new academic year with lots of delicious ice cream and toppings, along with the chance to meet and mingle with graduate students, faculty, and staff in the chemistry department! You can check out a few photos from last year’s event here and RSVP and invite your friends on our facebook event page. Hope to see you there!

Women Crack the academic glass ceiling

This week’s C&E News features an article entitled “Women crack the academic glass ceiling” on the increased representation of women among chemistry faculty at major research universities, according to surveys conducted by OXIDE, the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity. Though the percentage of women professors is still only 19.1%, this represents an improvement over the last survey and an encouraging trend. The article also includes interviews with several professors (including Christy Haynes, who gave a talk for WCS in fall 2014!) on how their departments are improving diversity and what else can be done.

Member meeting Tuesday 9/6 at 9 am in CHB 339

In preparation for the start of the new academic year, we’ll be having a member meeting next week on Tuesday, September 6th at 9:00 am in CHB 339. Three questions we’re trying to answer:
1. What should we focus on in our presentation and flyer for the incoming first-year chemistry graduate students at orientation?
2. Should we switch officer elections from an in-person show-of-hands format to online?
3. What should our department’s diversity committee focus on, and how can we work with them moving forward?
Bonus question: What ice cream flavors and toppings should we get for our annual welcome ice cream social?
Feel free to email or talk to any of the officers if you have any ideas, or just bring your thoughts to the meeting. Hope to see you next week!

Two upcoming events: mindfulness and politics

Managing with Mindfulness: Meghann Gerber, PsyD and licensed psychologist, will be giving Women in Chemical Sciences an introduction to mindfulness meditation on Friday, July 29, at 10:00 AM in CHB 239. Mindfulness meditation is a practice that involves cultivating attention to the present moment in a nonjudgmental manner. Over time this practice strengthens attention and promotes an open attitude that is particularly helpful for responding to life’s challenges. Please come and enjoy a relaxing wind-down from your week!

Women in Science & Politics: Women in Chemical Sciences will host a talk by UW Chemistry alumna Jennifer Brookes (PhD ’15). As a SPIE/OSA Arthur H. Guenther Congressional Fellow, Dr. Brookes spent the last year in Washington, D.C. working as a special legislative assistant for Congresswoman Louise Slaughter (D–NY). She will talk about her experience as a scientist working on public policy issues around gender in science and education, and how her work is more broadly connected to the underrepresentation of women and their voices in Congress. The talk will be held on Monday, August 1, at 5:00 pm in 261 Bagley Hall, and all are welcome to attend.

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!

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


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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