Bruce Presents Webinar, “Women in Contemporary Science: How to STEM the Leaky Pipeline”

Above: Women in Contemporary Science Panelists Dr. Tarika Barrett, Dr. Catherine Early, Adania Flemming, Dr. Tara McAllister,
Rachelle Saunders, Dr. Jennifer Rosati, and Dr. Jessica Ware.

To watch the edited recording of the April 8 Bruce Presents panel discussion, please click here.

First, the good news: In 2020, three of the ten Nobel Laureates in STEM disciplines were women. Dr. Andrea Ghez shared the Nobel Prize in Physics for the discovery of a supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy, and Drs. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing the groundbreaking CRISPR method for genome editing.

Global recognition for these landmark achievements is richly deserved and a sign of progress in honoring the contributions of the women who work in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. But while the prestigious honors track with the current levels of women scientists who hold research positions in those fields, they also point to a disturbing discrepancy: 50% of STEM degrees are awarded to women, but only 28% of STEM occupations are held by women.

Exploring ways to overcome the factors and biases that limit women from advancing equitably in science-based professions wasthe subject of the Bruce Presents webinar, Women in Contemporary Science: How to STEM the Leaky Pipeline, on April 8, 2021, 7:00 – 8:30 pm via Zoom. Lending their insight and expertise to this important conversation is a multidisciplinary panel of seven women researchers, scientists, and executives from around the world:

  • Dr. Tarika Barrett, Incoming CEO and current COO, Girls Who Code
  • Dr. Catherine Early, Curator of Ornithology and the Barbara Brown Chair
    of the Biology Department at the Science Museum of Minnesota
  • Adania Flemming, Researcher and PhD Student, University of Florida
  • Dr. Tara McAllister, Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Auckland
  • Dr. Jennifer Rosati, Professor of Forensic Entomology, John Jay College, CUNY
  • Rachelle Saunders, Producer, “Science for the People” podcast 
  • Dr. Jessica Ware, Associate Curator, American Museum of Natural History; Principal Investigator, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics; Associate Professor, Richard Gilder Graduate School

The moderator of this conversation is Kate Dzikiewicz, Bruce Museum Science Curatorial Associate and curator of the upcoming science exhibition, The Amazon Rainforest: Beauty • Destruction • Hope. A Q&A session led by Bruce Presents Co-Producer Leonard Jacobs will follow the discussion.

Admission to the webinar on April 8 is free for Museum members and $20 for non-members; students receive a 20% discount. To register, visit the Reservations page at brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376, ext. 311. Support for Bruce Presents programs is generously provided by Berkley One, a Berkley Company, Connecticut Office of the Arts, and Northern Trust.

“Though progress has certainly been made, there still are many challenges that face women in STEM,” says Kate Dzikiewicz.These issues range from the obvious, such as discrimination and harassment, to the more subtle and insidious, like achieving work/life balance, and the lack of encouragement and role models in younger years. Now, women are dropping out of the workforce in record numbers as childcare facilities and schools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These are issues that won’t go away by ignoring them, and challenges that the scientific community will have to work together to overcome.”

More about our Women in Contemporary Science panelists on April 8:

Dr. Tarika Barrett is the incoming CEO and current Chief Operating Officer at Girls Who Code, an international non-profit organization working to close the gender gap in technology by inspiring, educating, and equipping young women with the computing skills to pursue 21st century opportunities. Previously, Dr. Barrett worked as the Chief Program Officer at iMentor, leading the organization’s programmatic efforts to build mentoring relationships that support students from low-income communities in graduating high school and succeeding in college. A graduate of Brooklyn College, Barrett has an M.A. in Deaf Education from Columbia Teachers College and a PhD in Teaching and Learning from New York University.

Dr. Catherine Early is the Barbara Brown Chair of Ornithology at the Science Museum of Minnesota, where she curates the Biology Department's 170,000 specimens. Her main research interest is the relationship between cranial anatomy, sensory specializations, and behavior in vertebrate animals, with a current focus on modern-day and extinct birds. Dr. Early earned her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from Ohio University, where she used CT scanning to study the shape of the brains of birds and how they changed through evolutionary time.

Adania Flemming spent her formative years in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island nation in the Caribbean. She earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology at the University of Tampa, followed by a MSc in Zoology, at the University of Florida. She is a PhD student at UF, in the Biology department, with a joint appointment in the Florida Museum of Natural History and is a research assistant with the iDigBio project. For her PhD, Flemming is combining her interest in education with Ichthyology, with an interdisciplinary research project where she is interrogating museums as a space to broaden diversity of minoritized and marginalized tertiary level students in STEM.

Dr. Tara McAllister is a mother and an Indigenous researcher from Aotearoa, New Zealand. She is a Post-doctoral Fellow with Te Pūnaha Matatini (the University of Auckland) and completed her PhD in Freshwater Ecology in 2018 at the University of Canterbury, where she investigated the environmental drivers of toxic algal blooms. Dr. McAllister’s research focuses on freshwater ecology, Indigenous knowledge, and, most recently, understanding inequities for Indigenous people in higher education.

Dr. Jennifer Rosati is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sciences at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) in Manhattan, NY. Since beginning her teaching career at John Jay in 2014, she has now become a Course Coordinator for Biology and Major Coordinator and Advisor for the Forensic Science Program. Before beginning her career at John Jay College, Dr. Rosati obtained her PhD in Forensic Entomology at the University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada. In addition to her teaching and research, over the past 15 years Rosati has been involved in forensic casework in Canada and the U.S. She has consulted in criminal and civil cases in the medico-legal, pest-control, and agricultural fields.

Rachelle Saunders is the Producer and one of the Hosts of the long-running interview podcast “Science for the People,” which explores the connections between science, popular culture, history, and public policy. She has been interviewing science researchers, writers, authors, and journalists for podcasts since 2011. Saunders is also a Technical Product Manager and a developer working in the tech and cyber security industries.

Dr. Jessica Ware is an Associate Curator in invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Ware’s research focuses on the evolution of insects, with an emphasis on Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies) and Dictyoptera (termites, cockroaches, and mantises). Ware holds a BSc from the University of British Columbia in Canada, and a PhD from Rutgers in New Brunswick, NJ. She is the current president of the Worldwide Dragonfly Association, and serves as Vice President of the Entomological Society of America.

To participate in the Women in Contemporary Science: How to STEM the Leaky Pipeline webinar on April 8, 2021, 7:00 – 8:30 pm, visitthis page at brucemuseum.org or call 203-869-0376, ext. 311.