Women in Science

I am committed to increasing the participation of women in earth and environmental science fields and more generally in any STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field. As such, I am part of the leadership for 500 Women Scientists and served as part of the Leadership Board for the Earth Science Women’s Network from 2012-2020. I work collaboratively to develop evidence based mentoring programs and professional development programming to broaden access, increase opportunities, and improve workplace climate for all people, across STEM fields.

PROGRESS: Promoting Geoscience Research, Education, and Success. Our recently completed NSF grant (2014-2020) focused on investigating the role of mentorship and leadership development in the recruitment and retention of women in the geosciences.  As part of this project we have created a website for undergraduate women interested in geosciences (including but not limited to: atmospheric science, environmental science, geology, geophysics, hydrology, ecology, etc.). The website provides resources for undergraduates as well as information about many common myths regarding women in STEM fields. To find more resources go to: geosciencewomen.org. Early results (Hernandez et al. 2017) from our study show promise: women included in PROGRESS are more likely to identify multiple mentors and report a greater sense of inclusion within the scientific community and interest in staying in science. Read a project update in EOS and about our newest results in Geosphere (Hernandez et al. 2018).

PROGRESS workshop, Fall 2016, Estes Park, CO

We were recently funded by NSF IUSE ($3 million) to test the scalability and sustainability of our mentoring program nationally! Read more about this exciting development here!

ADVANCEGeo PartnershipEmpowering geoscientists to transform workplace climate. Several members of the ESWN Leadership Board partnered with professional societies (AGU and AWG) and education researchers to develop sexual harassment training modules for environmental and earth science faculty. Read more about our NSF ADVANCE grant (2017-2021) in the independent student newspaper at CC and on our project site.

As my role as a professor at Colorado College I serve as the faculty representative on the Title IX working group and as one of the College’s representatives on the National Academy of Sciences Action Collaborative on Preventing Sexual Harassment in Higher Education.

In addition, a group of us (Angie Pendergrass, Jane Zelikova, Aisha Morris & myself) organized a workshop in conjunction & with funding from the Aspen Global Change Institute to develop modules for diversity and inclusion training. Our white paper – a guide to organizing inclusive meetings is available online. Read the accompanying Nature News & Views piece here.

There are many great organizations who’s missions are to broaden participation in STEM fields. Here are just a few inclusive of or focused on earth & environmental science fields:

  • Association for Women Geoscientists AWG is a great organization that promotes women in geosciences (ESWN is currently partnering with them to address the problems of sexual harassment in academia/workplace)
  • Earth Science Women’s Network is a nonprofit, grassroots organization started by seven atmospheric scientists who met at a conference & realized they were “the only one” in their lab group. Known for their professional development workshops, networking, and discussion boards (now private Facebook group) the group aims to make the earth and environmental sciences welcoming to all.
  • 500 Women Scientists is a grassroots organization started by four women who met in graduate school at CU Boulder and who maintained friendships and collaborations after jobs and life took them away from Boulder. Immediately following the November 2016 election, they published an open letter re-affirming their commitment to speak up for science and for women, minorities, immigrants, people with disabilities, and LGBTQIA.
  • SACNAS  is an inclusive organization dedicated to fostering the success of Chicano/Hispanic and Native American scientists, from college students to professionals, in attaining advanced degrees, careers, and positions of leadership in STEM.
  • National Association of Black Geoscientists NABG is a non profit organization that provides support (e.g. professional development, scholarships, networking opportunities) to black geoscientists.
  • GeoLatinas is an inclusive, member-driven organization with a mission to embrace, empower, and inspire Latinas to pursue and thrive in careers in Earth and Planetary Sciences.

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