Tag: History

historical context

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Horrific Discovery and Warning: academic pursuits should be ethical and informed by federal laws concerning Indigenous peoples

There are many reasons to be sensitive to and acknowledge diverse experiences, values, beliefs, and ways of being. Our team works to highlight some reasons in the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.  However, occasionally situations come to our attention that we had not thought about previously.  The 1990 Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) requires institutions with federal funding not only to catalog their Indigenous collections, but to take steps to return them to the appropriate tribal nation communities. This NBC News article {https://apple.news/A5P82kqRFReyBdUB_Ux062g} about a discovery at University of North Dakota serves as a warning that academic pursuits should be informed by federal laws concerning Indigenous peoples.

Further, past and present research activity should demonstrate respect and consideration for the people who are affected by those activities.  In situations like these, transparency and sensitivity should extend to the community the university is part of and to communities that academics are engaged with in research activities.  When we investigate or discover this hasn’t happened in the past, we should take immediate steps to rectify the situation to the best of our abilities.  For example, Michigan Tech scholars are increasingly educating themselves how to be more inclusive and equitable in research, and partnering to be more collaborative with Indigenous communities and the Ojibwa homelands of the Keweenaw and beyond.  

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Beyond Productivity Metrics: Call for a Paradigm Shift in STEMM

In this essay, a group of scientists advocates for paradigmatic change in the academic scientific enterprise. Specifically, they point to biases in STEMM measures of success, normative standards that support a subset of scholars and narrow the career pathways for others, and call out those in positions of power for engaging in advocacy performances rather than substantive change. They offer several ways to“pivot the paradigm”. First, address the gendered, raced, and classist biases in the “publish or perish” model that relies on impact scores to assess value. Second, expand measures of scientific value to encourage non-publishing pathways (i.e., applied sciences, public dissemination, podcasts) that acknowledge the critical need for researchers with expertise to engage in broader communities (i.e., policy, training). Third, implement multidimensional and networked mentorship to support a ”publish and flourish” model of STEMM excellence. Fourth, engage in creative, innovative ways to dismantle discriminatory systems to instead promote equity, diversity, and inclusion with effective accountability mechanisms. Finally, invest the resources to promote belonging, safety, and well-being at the research group, departmental, institutional, and funding levels. We applaud this far-reaching call for transformative change to realize justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the academy.

Today’s feature was shared with us by Amy Marcarelli. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. . To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Chicken or the Egg: Is pay in a field low because women enter it or because women tend to prefer lower paying jobs?

We recently acknowledged March 15th as equal pay day, the date when women’s pay for the prior year finally equals what men earned. In other words, women must work 2-½ months longer to make the same amount and Black, Hispanic, and Indigenous women have to work even longer. Why? A popular explanation is that women are attracted to lower paying fields. This is a logical fallacy. Research in 2016 found that “when women moved into occupations in large numbers, those jobs began paying less even after controlling for education, work experience, skills, race, and geography.” These include STEM fields, such as biology.

Conversely, as fields attract more men, pay increases and the field gains prestige (e.g. computer programming) as noted in this and another extensive analysis. In academia, as women increased from 14% to 42% of faculty, the average salaries of new assistant professors fell by 8% in that field according to England et al 2007. Additional research has tracked attitudes, showing that as the number of women increases in a field, that field becomes labeled as “soft” (Summary, Light 2022) and “men become markedly less interested in pursuing a career in that field of study” (England 2007). This research culminates in “substantial evidence that employers placed a lower value on work done by women.” At Tech, we can counter this pervasive societal gender bias by directly examining how we value (with communication, recognition, and compensation) the work of our talented women faculty.

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE PI team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Association of Women in Science responds to the resignation of the director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy: Ignoring or disregarding complaints harms climate.

The Association of Women in Science (AWIS) recently issued this statement in response to a high level director’s resignation from a key government STEM office. Their statement calls out an ongoing pattern (both at the national and local level) of institutional negligence in which organizational leaders have regularly failed to proactively respond to practices of discrimination, harassment, and bullying in a timely manner. They instead dismiss the importance or impact of discriminatory events leading to a public perception that nothing is being addressed, a perception that demoralizes institutional climate. Vetting candidates for leadership should include careful assessment of these issues. If issues arise after hire, proactive responses are important; organizations must enforce a zero tolerance policy for bullying and harassment. The AWIS statement repeats a common example in which BIPOC faculty are frequently mistaken for a staff occupational identity and we note that this example itself perpetuates inequity, both for those faculty and for those whose occupation is implicitly disparaged. Routing out the systemic patterns of discrimination that have become commomplace is difficult and requires vigilance and a demonstrated commitment to zero tolerance. 

Today’s feature was shared with us by the ADVANCE Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

Celebrating Black History Month, Week 4

Dr. Patricia Bath: An ophthalmologist and laser scientist. She invented a new device & technique for cataract surgery known as laserphaco. She was also the first woman to chair an ophthalmology residency program in the U.S. (At Drew-UCLA). https://bit.ly/3GyE8En

Dr. George Carruthers: An aeronautical and astronautical engineer who worked for the US Naval Research Lab. He invented the first far-UV electronographic detector design that was robust enough for space. He developed the first moon-based observatory that was used by the Apollo 16 mission. https://go.nature.com/3grjlbd

Dr. Susan McKinney-Steward: The 3rd Black woman to earn a medical degree in the US, and 1st in New York State. She had her own practice in Brooklyn, co-founded the Brooklyn Women’s Homeopathic Hospital and Dispensary. She also sat on the board of, and practiced medicine at the Brooklyn Home for Aged Colored People. https://bit.ly/3GzNzTT

Dr. Daniel Hale Williams: A physician and surgeon who had his own practice in Chicago. He adopted sterilization procedures for his office based on the findings of Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister. He performed the first successful heart surgery in 1893. Was elected as the only Black charter member of the American College of Surgeons in 1913. https://bit.ly/35WCsb1

Dr. Jane C. Wright: A physician who did groundbreaking cancer research. Her testing of new chemicals on human leukemias and other cancers of the lymphatic system laid the foundations for chemotherapy. https://bit.ly/3Gz7D91

Lewis Howard Latimer: Self-taught in the art of mechanical drawing. Worked as a patent draftsman. Invented an evaporative air conditioner, an improved process for manufacturing carbon filaments for light bulbs, and an improved toilet system for railroad cars. https://bit.ly/3HATCsv

Dr. Euphemia Lofton Haynes: First Black woman to earn a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1943. She taught for 47 years and was the first woman on the DC Board of Education where she fought racial segregation and supported a lawsuit to desegregate the school system. https://bit.ly/3HCaRdg

Garrett Morgan: Almost entirely self-taught, he obtained his first patent for an improved sewing machine. This led to his invention that gave him financial freedom: hair straightening cream. Then in 1914 he patented a breathing device or hood that became the prototype and precursor for the gas masks used during WWI. He also invented/patented the 3 way traffic light that is the precursor to our modern traffic lights. https://bit.ly/3ovT7IW

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: Public Statements are Not Actions

This is Black History month; next month is Women’s History month. We celebrate by highlighting the first black woman to earn her Ph.D. in physics in the U.S., Willie Hobbs Moore, who was also an electrical engineer and received her degree in physics from the University of Michigan in 1972. Dr. Moore is known for a number of achievements including bringing Japanese manufacturing practices to Ford in the 1980s, working in the field of molecular spectroscopy, and supporting STEM education for minority students. 

Dr. Moore was able to break through a glass ceiling but, unfortunately, fifty years later this glass ceiling remains for many minorities. This IEEE article suggests institutions need to move beyond public statements expressing solidarity with the Black community to examining the different types of anti-Black violence that  is tolerated within their own campuses, such as beginning with engineering education and practice. This examination should include what the authors call the “engineering ecosystem” and the “three realms of experience” that Black students must navigate within this ecosystem (mainstream culture, Black culture; the status of the oppressed minority). 

Today’s feature was shared with us by The ADVANCE PI Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

Celebrating Black History Month, Week 3

Lonnie G. Johnson: A mechanical and nuclear engineer, he worked for NASA and the Air Force. He worked on the Galileo mission to Jupiter as well as the early stages of the Cassini project. Perhaps most noted as the inventor of the Super Soaker, he holds over 100 patents with more pending. https://bit.ly/3usEeeh

Alma Levant Hayden: A chemist and expert in spectrophotometry, the measurement of how substances absorb light. She was one of the first (if not the first) Black scientists at the FDA where she exposed the anti-cancer drug Krebiozen as a fraud. https://bit.ly/331OpLk

Dr. Charles Henry Turner: A behavioral scientist and early pioneer in the field of insect behavior. He was the first to prove that insects have the capacity to hear and that they learn by trial and error. He also discovered that honeybees can see visual patterns. Quite possibly the first to show that bees can also see color. https://bit.ly/3uwQdaw

Dr. Willie Hobbs Moore: The first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Physics in 1972. Her research focused on infrared spectroscopy. She also advocated for better STEM education for minority populations. https://bit.ly/3J87ZVF

Benjamin Banneker: Largely self-educated mathematician, astronomer, & writer. Best known for his almanacs (1792-1797) that included his own astronomical calculations, literature, medical and tidal information. Banneker wrote a letter to Thomas Jefferson “respectfully chiding” him and his fellow patriots for their hypocrisy – enslaving Black people while fighting the British for their own independence. https://bit.ly/3HACDqu

Carolyn Parker: She earned two Masters, one in Mathematics from University of Michigan & one in Physics from MIT. She was a research physicist on the Dayton Project, part of the Manhattan Project. She helped research using polonium as the initiator for atomic explosions. https://bit.ly/3rvbgs3

Dr. Herman Branson: A biophysicist, he made significant contributions to how proteins work and how they contribute to diseases like sickle cell anemia. He is best known for his research on the alpha helix protein structure. https://bit.ly/3rxhurz

ADVANCE Weekly Roundup: High school chemistry textbooks fail to advance positive role of women in field

Many young people are introduced to professions like Chemistry in high school and textbooks play a major role in informing students about the discipline and the people who work within it. An article in Chemistry World shines a light on what happens when textbooks are biased in their representation. A study of four widely used Chemistry texts in the UK and Ireland found that of 105 historic figures named in the books, only 4 were women, all Nobel Prize winners. Men mentioned in the books include non-scientists such as Julius Caesar, Barack Obama, Kofi Annan, and artist David Hockney. Two of the four textbooks did not mention a single woman. Of 131 images, only 16 were of women alone. Only one of those was a known woman, Dorothy Hodgkin – one of the Nobel winners, compared with 52 identifiable men. The textbooks included many images of women doing domestic work such as shopping or laundry.

This study reinforces a pattern observed in a study of US college Chemistry textbooks which found that male names appeared every 4 pages while female names appeared every 250 pages. As college educators, we can redress this in part by being particularly mindful of avoiding books with these kinds of inequities when we choose college textbooks for our classes. As Dr. Claire Murphy, lead researcher on the UK study stated, “The biases we have observed are not unique to a single publisher, textbook or curriculum. They are also not unique to chemistry.”

Today’s feature was shared with us by David Flaspohler, chair of the Advocates Team. If you have an article you think we should feature, please email it to advance-mtu@mtu.edu and we will consider adding it to the ADVANCE Weekly Roundup.

The ADVANCE Weekly Roundup is brought to you by ADVANCE at Michigan Tech, which is an NSF-funded initiative dedicated to improving faculty career success, retention, diversity, equity, and inclusion. To learn more about this week’s topic, our mission, programming efforts, and to check out our growing collection of resources, contact us at (advance-mtu@mtu.edu) or visit our website: www.mtu.edu/advance.

Celebrating Black History Month, Week 2

Bessie Blount Griffin: A physical therapist in the late 1940’s who helped teach her amputee clients how to write using their mouths and feet. She also invented a portable apparatus that enabled amputees to feed themselves. https://bit.ly/3L1rcKx

George Washington Carver: An accomplished botanist and inventor. He developed techniques to improve soils depleted by repeated plantings of cotton using crop rotation. He ensured the success of this technique by popularizing the new crops by developing hundreds of applications for them. https://bit.ly/3oxlfeN

Dr. Mae Jemison: Fluent in Russian, Japanese & Swahili, was a Peace Corps medical officer and had her own private medical practice. She was the first Black woman in space (STS-47, aboard Endeavor). She was also the first real astronaut on an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation at the invitation of LeVar Burton. https://bit.ly/3LfTp0o

Dr. Guion Bluford Jr.: An Air Force pilot who flew 144 combat missions in Vietnam. He was the first first Black man to travel into space (STS-8, aboard Challenger), and laughed the entire way: “It was such a fun ride.” Inducted into US Astronaut Hall of Fame 1997. https://bit.ly/3LeU4Po

Alice Ball: A chemist, teacher, and researcher. She developed an injectable treatment for leprosy. She was also the first woman to graduate with a Masters in chemistry from College of Hawaii, and became the institute’s first woman chemistry instructor when she was only 23. https://bit.ly/3rwRrRp

Dr. William Warrick Cardozo: A physician and pediatrician as well as professor at Howard University. He was a pioneer investigator of sickle cell anemia and a leader in medical research of problems affecting people of African descent. https://bit.ly/3ouNtqB

Dr. Bettye Washington Greene: An industrial research chemist. She was the first Black female Ph.D. chemist to work in a professional position at Dow Chemical Company. She worked with latex and polymers, including interactions between latex and paper. https://bit.ly/3otEBBe

Celebrating Black History Month, Week 1

As a way to celebrate Black History Month, ADVANCE is highlighting a different person every day who has made contributions to STEM in the past and present. This week we are featuring the following:

Dr. Marie M. Daly: First Black woman to obtain a Ph.D in chemistry in the US. She discovered the relationship between high cholesterol and heart disease.

Dr. Warren Washington: Distinguished climate scientist and former chair of the National Science Board. He developed one of the first atmospheric computer models of Earth’s climate.

Katherine Johnson: A school teacher who joined NACA (today’s NASA) as a “human computer”. Her calculations helped sync Apollo’s Lunar Landing Module with the Command and Service Module. She was featured in “Hidden Figures.”

Dr. Percy Julian: A pioneering chemist whose synthesis of a chemical called physostigmine, which was used to treat glaucoma, is “one of the top 25 greatest achievements in the history of American chemistry.”

Lyda Newman: An inventor who patented a new type of hairbrush that was specifically for African American hair. The hairbrush was the first to have entirely synthetic bristles. Her invention made it cheaper and quicker to manufacture hair brushes. She was the 3rd Black woman to ever receive a patent.

Vivien Thomas: A researcher who was paid as a janitor while doing amazing doctoral research. He developed a surgery that would successfully help save the lives of infants born with Tetralogy of Fallot.