In April I asked a group of sixth graders from Beaufort Middle School in North Carolina, "Do I look like a scientist to you?" A young boy sitting in the corner of the room loudly answered, "Uh, yeah. Why not?"
If there is one 2014 resolution I hope the media makes good on, it's a vow to describe female scientists with words that fairly and respectfully convey the extent of their accomplishments. An example at the end of 2013 illustrates why.
I realized I can help by sharing my experiences visiting middle school classrooms, writing lesson plans and taking part in activities specifically targeted at getting girls interested in STEM. I thought I would put together my top five pieces of advice for scientists visiting K-12 classrooms.
Have you ever noticed how girls' toys are mostly static? Dolls, kitchen sets and stuffed animals don't demonstrate concepts of forces, momentum, cause and effect, control, friction, balance and inertia.
I understand that all NFL players have put their heart and soul into football and have practiced hours on end to be where they are now. But then what about the scientists, who are unraveling the mysteries of our world, to better humankind?
I don't want to slow down the engine that is promoting improved access for girls and women in science and technology. But Stoet and Geary's data actually beg for answers about educating the low achievers.
The paucity of impact-making announcements by female astronomers in general is dreadful. How can it be, that well over a century after the first women received PhDs in astronomy, women have failed to match their male peers in this and other aspects of STEM academia?
Growing up, we loved science class. We brewed steaming potions by mixing chemicals; created ice cream by shaking salt, ice and sugar; and crafted volcanoes made out of clay. Somewhere along the line, however, our interest in pursuing the sciences disappeared.
Two recent studies shed important empirical light on gender bias in the sciences and should be cause for great scrutiny and reflection by America's universities and colleges. If we are to continue to be preeminent in science and technology, we must engage women fully in that challenge.
Walk through any hospital, and in all probability, the majority of physicians honored on wooden panels will be men. When we think of scientists or physicians, we do not picture in our minds a woman, but instead the stereotypical white male.