Women in STEM

Institute for the Liberal Arts

Program Description

Women still face unique challenges in STEM fields. To support undergraduate students, graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty in STEM fields at Boston College and beyond, we aim to establish a new program focused on promoting and enhancing women’s successes. This program will include four interconnected and synergistic interdisciplinary initiatives on campus during the 2018-19 academic year:

1.     A year-long Speaker Series highlighting recent research on both diversity and inclusion in STEM and the role that gender and racial biases play in shaping scientific questions and technical systems.

2.     A linked pair of Conversations targeted toward graduate and postdoctoral women in STEM hosted by an interdisciplinary group of faculty from the sciences and humanities.

3.     A Women in STEM Wikipedia Edit-A-Thon designed to give undergraduate students an opportunity to take action to promote the work of women in STEM.

4.     A faculty engagement seminar, “Redesigning the Clubhouse: Supporting and Retaining Minorities in STEM,” for faculty who want to foster more inclusive environments for minorities in STEM fields.

Together, these initiatives will highlight women’s achievements and challenges in academia, provide support and encouragement to academics at all levels, and foster community, collaboration, and conversation about women and gender in STEM fields at Boston College.

Women in STEM

Women in STEM

Faculty Collaborators

Kathryn Lindsey, Assistant Professor of Math. 
 Kathryn Lindsey is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics. Her research focuses on dynamical systems, low-dimensional geometry, and complex analysis. She was a co-founder and former president of the Cornell Student Chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics.

Sarah McMenamin, Assistant Professor of Biology.  Sarah McMenamin is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology. The McMenamin Lab uses the zebrafish model to ask questions about how vertebrates coordinate development at different life stages.

Emily Prud’hommeaux, Assistant Professor of Computer Science.  Emily Prud’hommeaux is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science. Her research focuses on applications of natural language processing for health and accessibility. Before coming to BC, she was an Assistant Professor at RIT, where she co-founded the Computational Linguistics and Speech Processing lab.

Jenna Tonn, Visiting Assistant Professor of Science and Technology Studies.  Jenna Tonn is the Core Visiting Assistant Professor in Science and Technology Studies in the Department of History. Her research centers on the social and cultural history of scientific knowledge, with a specific focus on women and gender in STEM. She is currently working on a book about the gendered social world of nineteenth-century experimental biologists.

Program Schedule

Tuesday, September 25th
Gioia De Cari's one woman show Truth Values: One Girl's Romp Through M.I.T.'s Math Maze
Co-sponsored by the Departments of Mathematics and Physics
Hosted by: Kathryn Lindsey (Computer Science)
Location: Robsham Theater, Boston College


Friday, October 19th, 12-1:30pm

Speaker: Dr.  Banu Subramaniam, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Hosted by: Jenna Tonn (History)
Talk title: When Alien Becomes Exotic: Gender, Race, and the Practice of Science
Location: Fulton 145

Wednesday, October 24th, 4:30-6:00pm

Fall faculty/graduate student conversation with professors Gail Kineke (Earth and Env. Sciences), Kathryn Lindsey (Math), Sarah McMenamin (Biology), Emily Prud'hommeaux (Computer Science)
Moderator: Anna Gerrits (Earth and Environmental Sciences)
Location: Stokes N115

Thursday, February 7th, 2:15-4:15pm

Speaker: Dr. Linda Sax, UCLA
Hosted by: Professor Emily Prud'hommeaux
Talk title: The Gender Gap in Computing: How Some Universities are Moving the Needle
Co-sponsored by the Department of Computer Science
Location: Fulton 117
Stay and chat! A short reception will follow Dr. Sax’s talk.

Tuesday, February 26th, 4:00-5:00pm
Co-sponsored event with the Complex Problems course “Powering America”
Tea with Dr. Ana Unruh Cohen, Managing Director for Governmental Affairs, Natural Resources Defense Council
All BC undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to attend!
Hosted by: Professors Conevery Bolton Valencius (History), John Ebel (Earth and Environmental Sciences), Jonathan Krones (Earth and Environmental Sciences), and Jenna Tonn (History)
Location: Stokes 203N

Tuesday, March 19th  4:30-6:00pm

Speaker: Dr. Joan Roughgarden, Stanford
Hosted by: Professor Sarah McMenamin (Biology)
Talk title: Dynamics of the Host/Microbiome Interaction in Holobionts: A Mathematical Model.
Location: Devlin 101

Saturday, March 23rd

Women in STEM Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
Hosted by Jenna Tonn (History) and Chelcie Rowell (BC Libraries)
Location: TBD

Thursday, March 28th  5:00-7:00pm

Graduate and Postdoc STEM Happy Hour (3/28) at the Faculty Dining Room
BC’s Institute for the Liberal Arts' Women in STEM Project invites all graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in STEM fields to join us for food, drinks, and conversation from 5-7pm on Thursday, March 28th at the Faculty Dining Room. Come ready to eat and meet new people! All are welcome.

Feel free to reach out to Anna Gerrits (gerrits@bc.edu) or Jenna Tonn (jenna.tonn@bc.edu) with questions. Come ready to eat, meet new people, and make new friends!
Location: Corcoran


Tuesday, April 9th 1:00-3:00pm

Faculty Engagement Seminar: “Redesigning the Clubhouse: Supporting Women & Minorities in STEM”

Co-Sponsored by the Center for Teaching Excellence

Led by Dr. Leena Akhtar, this workshop is designed to introduce a series of useful frameworks for supporting women and minorities in the sciences. In addition to considering the institutional and historical pressures that have led to discrimination and exclusion and pressing issues facing junior scientists today, we will discuss strategies for more effectively connecting with and supporting women and minorities aspiring to STEM careers. The workshop is open to all faculty and staff at Boston College.


Upcoming April/May Events

Spring Women in STEM Conversation with Faculty/Grad Students (RSVP: Yes)
Spring Faculty Development Workshop, “Redesigning the Clubhouse: Supporting and Retaining Underrepresented Minorities in STEM,” with Dr. Leena Akhtar, co-hosted by the Center for Teaching Excellence

All Events Are Free and Open to the Public