URI to host conference on diversifying
science and engineering
KINGSTON, R.I. -- March 30, 1999 -- "Women and minorities are all
but invisible in many college science and engineering curricula," says
Donna M. Hughes, who is working to change that. Hughes directs the Women,s
Studies Science and Engineering Curriculum Project at the University of
Rhode Island, which will hold a conference entitled "Diversifying the
Culture and Curriculum of Science, Engineering and Women,s Studies"
on April 6 and 7.
The conference is free and open to the public. All presentations will
be held in the Cherry Auditorium of the Chester H. Kirk Center for Advanced
Technology on URI,s Kingston campus.
"Typically in college courses, there is no mention made of the contributions
of women inventors and scientists," says Hughes, who is also URI,s
Eleanor M. and Oscar M. Carlson Endowed Chair in Women,s Studies.
URI was one of 10 universities and colleges selected in December 1996
by the Association of American Colleges to participate in the national curriculum
project, "Women and Scientific Literacy"Building Two Way Streets."
This three-year initiative is funded by the National Science Foundation
and seeks to strengthen the content and teaching methods of undergraduate
science education for women.
"The purpose of this conference is to help improve the climate for
women and minorities in science and engineering by making institutional
change," Hughes says. "We hope to sensitize college students to
institutional biases that they may not otherwise be aware of."
A dramatic example of this bias"and the subject of one of the conference
speakers"is the Human Genome project, which seeks to map out the entire
human gene pool. The primary sources of DNA collected and analyzed thus
far are white people living in North America"even though the bulk of
the world,s population consists of people of color living on other continents.
Highlights of the conference include:
April 6, 7 p.m. Angela Ginorio, director of the Northwest Center for
Research on Women at the University of Washington in Seattle, will deliver
the keynote address, "The Importance of Meaningful Communities to Women
and Ethnic Minorities in Science and Engineering." Ginorio has done
significant research on girls and women in science and racial and ethnic
identification. She is the author of Warming the Climate for Women in Academic
April 7 - 9 a.m. Judy Meuth, wildlife biologist for the U.S. Fish and
Wildlife Service, and instructor in the Women,s Studies Program at Washington
State University, will deliver a talk entitled "Science in Women,s
Studies: Combining the Scientific Method, Laboratory Exercises and Feminist
April 7 - 10:45 a.m. Lynn Stein, associate professor in electrical engineering
and computer science at MIT, will lecture on "Cultural Revolutions
in Computer Science."
April 7 - 1:30 p.m. Fatimah Jackson, professor of zoology and anthropology
at the University of Maryland, will talk about "Changing the Scientific
Lessons Learned from the Human Genome Project."
For more information call 874-5150. Program access will be provided for
persons with disabilities. If you need disability assistance, or sign interpretation
or have questions about accessibility, please call at least three days in
For More Information: Donna Hughes, (401) 874-5150
Ann MacDonald, (401) 874-2116