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RAISE in the news again August 9, 2012

Posted by The Raise Project in Career.
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Thanks to Under The Microscope for the feature in their Summer Science Stories series! Supernaturally superb!

http://www.underthemicroscope.com/stories/summer-science-stories-raiseing-women-in-stem 

cupcakes_sarah_chu.jpg

I am documenting my time running the RAISE project this summer. RAISE, whose acronym (Recognizing the Achievements of women In Science, technology, Engineering, math, and medicine) does great work in making sure the accomplishments of women in these fields does not go unnoticed.

The good news: more and more women and girls are entering STEM fields. But wait: why do they receive such a low percentage of awards, honors, and prizes? This is what I am studying–and trying to change!–this summer.

Part of the gap is that women are less likely to tell others about their accomplishments, so they get nominated less frequently for awards. RAISE has a program to encourage women to apply. Even nominate yourself! This is totally acceptable practice for most awards. Another aspect is that gendered language can be secretly embedded into male and female writing styles. Men often use more action-oriented words, while women are less direct. People giving awards can unconsciously react to these writing styles, favoring the bolder approach.

RAISE has fun in the office, too. We love reading up on the cool new things in the STEM world. Do you like oranges? Vijayakumari Narukulla, a scientist in India, just cultivated a new disease- and virus-resistant one, so we’ll have more around the world. How about solar cells? Gcineka Mbambisa of South Africa is working on a more efficient design. Both of these gals won awards for their work.

The bottom line is: always be proud of your work! If you have worked hard, apply for an award, prize, honor, or scholarship. You never know what could come of it! And even if you don’t win, other scientists will be interested to find out about what you’ve done.

And now, off to another awards dinner to cheer on my fellow STEM rockstars!

Caption Information: Recognition can be informal, too! Pic of me (right) and my roommate, acupuncturist Laura Wong, celebrating her great work in the field of immunology. Cupcakes help the immune system, right?

About me: I am 27, getting my M.A. in international affairs at American University in Washington, D.C. I run the RAISE Project under the umbrella of the Society for Women’s Health Research.

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