Stanford University

Leading experts in science, gender studies, policy formation to be in residence

Eight leading experts in science, gender studies and policy formation will be in residence at the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Studies during the 2007-08 academic year to collaborate on advancing the national agenda on women in science, engineering and technology.

"This is our dream team," said institute Director Londa Schiebinger, who has been working for more than two years to bring the scholars to campus. "We plan to bring together working scientists with experts in gender studies. During the past 20 years, gender studies has made important inroads into the humanities and social sciences, with the result that departmental cultures have come to foster the achievements of women as well as men. This has not occurred to the same degree in the natural sciences and engineering, but we hope that this interdisciplinary group of scholars will be able to start changing the culture and increase the number of female academics in those fields. We want to set the agenda nationally."

The scholars will pursue their own research and form small working groups that will meet weekly through March 2008, when the institute plans to hold a national conference on women in science. The fellowship program is supported by the institute's endowment fund, the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice Provost and Dean of Research.

The fellows are:

Cynthia M. Friend, the T. W. Richards Professor of Chemistry, professor of materials science and the first female chair of Harvard's Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. At Harvard, Friend has served as associate dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and as co-principal investigator of the Materials Research Science and Engineering Center and Research Experiences for Undergraduates. Friend also has helped forge new opportunities for female scientists in jointly chairing a federally sponsored workshop, "Building Strong Academic Chemistry Departments Through Gender Equity," that led to important policy changes at funding agencies. Friend will be in residence from January to June 2008 and plans to study gender issues related to scientific funding and professional recognition.

Sabine C. Girod, Stanford assistant professor, Department of Surgery; and chief, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Health Care System. Girod, the first female professor in oral and maxillofacial surgery in West Germany, will be at the institute from October 2007 to May 2008. She will collaborate with the Office of Diversity and Gender at Stanford Medical School to support a program to expand diversity and excellence in medical faculty recruitment. She also will help develop an educational curriculum about gender/racial stereotyping and its consequences for science and medicine.

Myra M. Hart, Harvard professor of management practice. Hart joined Harvard Business School in 1995 and teaches graduate, executive and alumni courses. At Harvard, she directed two major case-writing initiatives that introduced more female protagonists and broader definitions of success into the master's curriculum. Her current research concerns women's entrepreneurship. She will be in residence from January to March 2008 and will contribute to the institute's research study of female entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.

Nancy Hopkins, the Amgen Professor of Biology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Since 1994, Hopkins has worked to promote women in science. In 1995, she was appointed chair of MIT's first Committee on Women Faculty in the School of Science and in 1999 published an influential report on the situation of women in academic life. Hopkins will be in residence next March and will contribute to discussions of the role of gender in science.

Michelle Murphy, associate professor of history, University of Toronto. Murphy's interests include the history of sex, gender, race and environmental politics. She is finishing a book titled Seizing the Means of Reproduction: Technology, Feminist Health Practice and Biopolitics. Murphy will be in residence during the 2007-2008 academic year.

Kavita Philip, associate professor of women's studies, University of California-Irvine. Her interests include transnational studies of science and technology, environmental history, and gender/race and globalization. Philip will be in residence from January to June 2008. She and Murphy will collaborate on a study titled "Environmental History, Indigenous Knowledge and Gendered Practices in South Asia, 1950-2005."

Sue V. Rosser, dean, Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts, Georgia Institute of Technology, and professor of history, technology and society. Rosser, the author of about 120 journal articles, focuses on the theoretical and applied problems of women and science, and women's health. Rosser will be in residence in March and May 2008 and will contribute to the institute's research into women and science.

Sheri D. Sheppard, Stanford professor of mechanical engineering and co-director of the Center for Design Research. In collaboration with researchers at other institutions, Sheppard is leading a longitudinal study of 160 students from their freshman through senior years of engineering studies to explore the developmental, cognitive and institutional factors that contribute to student success. Sheppard will be in residence from September 2007 to June 2008.