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Engineering and Mini-Golf January 4, 2013

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What is better than a museum with a mini-golf course inside it? Answer: that museum recognizing an awesome society with a prestigious award. The National Building Museum has honored the Society of Women Engineers with its Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology. The vote was unanimous. Go, SWE!

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The National Building Museum will award Henry C. Turner Prize for Innovation in Construction Technology to Society of Women Engineers (SWE), which was chosen by jury in recognition of 60+ years of giving women engineers unique place and voice within engineering industry. Prize will be presented on February 5, 2013 in Washington, D.C., where SWE’s Betty Shanahan will deliver “Diversity Fueling Innovation” lecture and discuss ways to promote under-represented populations in STEM professions.

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Shout out for Cancer Research, and an awesome name- Dr. Suetonia Palmer August 24, 2012

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Shout out for cancer research. How do platelets help or hinder the process of treatment?

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University of Otago researcher Dr Suetonia Palmer is one of three recipients of a $25,000 L’Oreal For Women in Science Fellowship, awarded in Melbourne on Tuesday.

The other two are a Melbourne researcher who battled leukemia as a teenager and a scientist recognized for her work in nanotechnology.

Dr Palmer received the award for her work in chronic kidney disease.

Working from temporary facilities as Christchurch rebuilds, she is guiding doctors and policy makers across the world as they attempt to make the best decisions for their patients.

The fellowship will take her work further and help her study what information people receive when their kidney disease worsens and they have to go on dialysis.

That usually requires four hours a day, four days a week in hospital. However, in Christchurch most people have dialysis machines at home.

Dr Palmer will determine what is best practice.

She is also a senior lecturer in the Department of Medicine.

Dr Kylie Mason from Melbourne’s Walter and Eliza Hall Institute will investigate ways to reduce the side-effects of new cancer drugs and explore the role of platelets.

She has previously researched ways to extend the life of platelets, the cell fragments that manage blood clotting.

Cancer patients often need platelet transfusions but supply can be a challenge for blood banks because the cells only last five days.

Her work could pave the way to increase the blood bank life of platelets as well as helping cancer patients.

Her battle with leukemia sparked a lifelong interest and career in medicine and research.

Walter and Eliza Hall Institute director Dr Doug Hilton said Dr Mason’s personal battle with cancer had not only fueled her passion for medicine and research, but given her a unique perspective as a cancer patient, haematologist, scientist, and mother.

Melbourne scientist Dr Jia Baohua from Swinburne University of Technology was recognized for her role in developing low cost solar energy using nanotechnology to create thin-film solar cells.

Go Pam Maynard! July 9, 2012

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If blueprints aren’t your thing, it doesn’t mean you should rule out a career in Tech. There are such a wide variety of jobs in the field. Thanks for your insight, Ms. Maynard. And congrats on winning your First Women Award!

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By Pam Maynard

At the very end of last month Real Business announced the winners of the 2012 First Women Awards. Designed to recognize pioneering women whose achievements open opportunities for others, the awards showcase the wealth of career opportunities available for women in the science and technology sectors, aiming to inspire more women into the profession by highlighting the success of leading women in the field.

This year I was one of the lucky ones to be honored with a win in the First Women of Science & Technology category.

I have been in the technology industry for over 15 years and can truly say that I enjoy my work and always look to push myself beyond the boundaries – both real and perceived – of being a female in the sector. The sad fact however is that despite ongoing efforts, technology remains a less-thought of career path for female graduates.

The key misconception out there is that women simply can’t have a successful career in technology. This is absolutely not true and is something that we should all be working to change. We need to get more women into technology at an early age but to do so we need to be able to highlight powerful examples of women who are excelling in their careers. If you look at organizations in the UK like Capgemini, Accenture and Microsoft, and other FTSE 100 companies you can find very successful females with technology-focused careers – the challenge now is to make sure we are raising their profiles as high as they can go.

Another misconception about technology as a career is that it is very narrow in scope. In fact, a career in technology is so much broader – it is not just about developing technology solutions and technology companies do not have to be full of technologists. There is a huge set of different roles that sit around the delivery of a technology solution and require different skillsets. Whether it is project management or business analysis, these types of roles often come with an increased requirement for collaboration – one of the softer skills found more in women than men. If companies want to start bringing in more female talent, they need to get better at recognizing and defining the skillset they require from employees and reflecting this back in their recruitment efforts.

If I were going to use my recent win as a platform to speak to girls considering a career in technology my first piece of advice above all else would be for them to have confidence in their value. Today’s young women need to have more self-belief and recognize the value in the unique skills and experience that they can bring to the sector. Males and females bring different skillsets to any work place and a balanced gender mix is optimal for the success of any business.

Prize or Prejudice? June 7, 2012

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OK, so this is about lit, not STEM. But the interesting question is…. are women-only awards a help or hindrance??

Thanks, A.S. Byatt, for today’s ponderance. I wish I possessed the answer. ha ha! .. groan.

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By CYNTHIA OZICK

BRITAIN’S prestigious Orange Prize, awarded exclusively for fiction by women writing in English without regard to nationality, has just now completed its 17th year. And while the prize is lauded for its international reach and has never been disparaged for choosing to bar translated work, once again the annual clamor erupts: how can such a circumscribed honor be deemed legitimate? Why only women?

A. S. Byatt, the eminent British novelist who in 1990 won the Booker Prize, and who has determinedly kept her books out of the Orange race, offers a blunt answer: “The Orange Prize is a sexist prize. You couldn’t found a prize for male writers. The Orange Prize assumes there is a feminine subject matter — which I don’t believe in.” Responding to the recent report that Orange, a telecommunications company, will no longer sponsor the award, this principled writer demurs yet again. “I shan’t mourn it. … Women should be allowed to have everything men have, but they shouldn’t be allowed to have their own little sheep pens.”

On one hand, “sheep pen,” “ghetto,” “biologically based self-confinement.” And on the other, the Woolfian ideal of “a room of one’s own,” ultimately culminating in the Orange Prize. Which view is truer, which owns the greater persuasive force?

In the hope of settling this dispute, I ask you to consider the history of literary women. It turns out, oddly, to be also a prolific history of “men,” among whom the most celebrated are Currer, Acton and Ellis Bell (Charlotte, Anne and Emily Brontë), George Eliot (Mary Ann Evans), George Sand (Amandine Aurore Lucie Dupin), Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen), Vernon Lee (Violet Paget).

The motive behind these necessary masquerades is hardly an urge to hide. Instead, it is a cry for recognition and a means of evading belittlement, or worse yet, the curse of not being noticed at all. The most pointed symptom and symbol of this pervasive fear is the poignant exchange between the 20-year-old Charlotte Brontë and Robert Southey, England’s poet laureate. Humbly and diffidently, she had sent him a sampling of her poems, trusting that he might acknowledge the worth of what she knew to be her “single, absorbing, exquisite gratification.”

His notorious reply, while conceding her “faculty of verse,” is nearly all that remains of his once powerful fame. “Literature,” he chided, “cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be. The more she is engaged in her proper duties, the less leisure she will have for it, even as an accomplishment and a recreation.” If such condescending sentiments leave a contemporary writer feeling sick at heart, Brontë thought the letter “kind and admirable; a little stringent, but it did me good.”

The Orange Prize, then, was not born into an innocent republic of letters. Nor need we thumb through past centuries to discover the laureate’s enduring principle. After gaining a modicum of notice following an eclipse lasting years, I was once praised, as a kind of apology, by a prominent editor with these surprising words: “I used to think of you as a lady writer” — an inborn condition understood to be frivolous and slight, and from which recovery is almost always anomalous.

So much for the defense of a reparative award dedicated solely to writers who are women. Advocacy of this sort, vigorously grounded as it is in a darker chamber of the literary continuum, is not the Orange’s only defense. We are reminded that there are, abundantly, prizes for regional writers, for black writers, for Christian writers, for Jewish writers, for prison writers, for teenage writers, for science writers, and on and on. Why must a prize for women’s writing be the single object of contention?

Yet this argument will not hold water. Each such category signals a particular affinity, or call it, more precisely, a culture (and in the case of Jews and Christians, a deeper and broader civilization), and women are integral to all of them. To argue for femaleness-as-culture is to condemn imaginative and intellectual freedom and to revert to the despised old anatomy-is-destiny. And to the sheep pen and the ghetto and the circumscribed body of feeling and thought.

In an essay titled “Literature and the Politics of Sex,” I once ventured a definition of feminism. “In art,” I wrote, “feminism is that idea which opposes segregation; which means to abolish mythological divisions; which declares that the imagination cannot be ‘set’ free, because it is already free. I am, as a writer, whatever I wish to become. I can think myself into a male, or a female, or a stone, or a raindrop, or a block of wood, or the leg of a mosquito. Classical feminism,” I concluded, “was conceived of as the end of false barriers and boundaries; as the end of segregationist fictions and restraints.”

And then, lo! To confound this declaration, blind luck landed me on the Orange shortlist. Did I hasten to demand omission from so discriminatory a roster? No. I was, in fact, exhilarated and privileged; I rejoiced in this out-of-the-blue acknowledgment by faraway judges in another country. Where now were my anti-separatist convictions? Was I sunk, after all, in hypocrisy, opportunism, expediency, cynicism? Perhaps all; decidedly all. Yet I failed to feel defined by any of these evils; I felt no bad faith. It came to me then, since a writer is a writer is a writer (“male and female created He them”), it may also be true, for the sake of literature itself, that a prize is a prize is a prize. For readers and writers, in sum, the more prizes the better, however they are structured, and philosophy be damned.

Cynthia Ozick is the author, most recently, of the novel “Foreign Bodies,” shortlisted for the 2012 Orange Prize.

South Africa: Google Accolade for Young Female Techies June 6, 2012

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Anita Borg is an active benefactor for young, mid-level, and senior career women in STEM. We feature their awards in our searchable database. Do YOU qualify? Find out at http://raiseproject.org!

 

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Recently named the Google Anita Borg Memorial Scholarship recipients, Maletsabisa Molapo (24) and Joyce Mwangama (25) have a bright future ahead in the African Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) landscape.

The scholarship is an international award initiated by Google that seeks to recognise women in ICT who perform with distinction in sciences degrees. It also seeks to encourage and reinforce the presence and leadership of women in technological fields, who currently remain a minority. The scholarship comprises a financial award for one academic year and a networking retreat to Google in Zurich, Germany.

Molapo and Mwangama are two of the three women awarded this prestigious scholarship in South Africa. Both young women are currently enrolled at the university of Cape Town (UCT) pursuing ICT related degrees. Molapo pursues a Masters in Computer Sciences degree as a Mandela Rhodes scholar whilst Mwangama is a candidate for a Doctorate (PhD) in Electrical Engineering in her second year of research.

BACKGROUND

Citing the genesis of her passion for technology, Molapo reminisces about her undergraduate days at the University of Lesotho (NUL), where she completed a Bachelor of Engineering Degree in Computer Systems and Networks in 2009. “I was the only female in my engineering class. I constantly felt the need to excel and be competent as a female in a male dominated class,” says Molapo.

Molapo ‘s interest in the application of ICTs in empowering communities, particularly women and youth, was the catalyst to her founding the National Association of Women in Technology in Lesotho whilst at NUL. The association seeks to cultivate a culture of academic and professional excellence among female technologists in Lesotho. “As students we used to visit high schools, citing our own stories in order to cultivate a culture of positivity towards academic and professional excellence. However, we noticed that girls did not do well in sciences and we challenged ourselves to make a difference,” says Molapo.

Mwangama on the other hand was born in Tanzania and migrated to Botswana at the age of 4. She currently holds a Bachelor of Sciences in Electrical and Computer Engineering and a Masters in Electrical Engineering both from UCT. Her interests include Next Generation Mobile Networks and Future Internet architectures and technologies. Talking of her vision for a robust African digital arena, Mwangama says her goals are not restricted by boarders. “The whole African digital and technological landscape is challenged. I believe mobile telecommunication is the next big thing and East Africa has understood how to utilise these for development,” she says. “Africa’s technologists must understand Africa’s difficulties and merge their creativity with technological advancement to solve our energy, internet, climate and social crises.

FUTURE IN ICTs

Both students are set on completing their current degrees and venturing into the tech-world in full force. Molapo’s research in the area of Information Communication Technologies for Development (ICT4D) and focuses on the use of mobile-videos to train low-literate health workers in Lesotho and Sierra Leone. She forms part of the executive leadership of the UCT Chapter of the United Nations Association of South Africa. She has been also been selected as a 2012 fellow of the Moremi Initiative for Women’s Leadership in Africa (MILEAD). Her interests are in ICTs for the promotion of health and education and Data Visualisations.

Mwangama’s PhD research revolves around the concept of the evolution of Mobile Broadband Networks, which is gaining momentum in the communications and networking research field. She also works for the Electrical Engineering Department at UCT as a Research and Teaching Assistant. Outside academics, Mwangama is heavily involved in volunteer and leadership positions within at her university and within the local community. She has run the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) student branch at UCT. She is also the Pre-University Activities coordinator for the Africa region where she is involved in initiatives to promote engineering and sciences to high school learners.

By the looks of things, both young women have a bright future in the industry and are both looking up to the networks created through the Google scholarship and Zurich trips.

2012 Women in Science series features stem cell researcher June 5, 2012

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Highlighting Women in Science, a great series run through the University of Wisconsin, which points a well-deserved spotlight on female research.

 

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June 04, 2012 College News – The Medical College of Wisconsin’s 6th annual Women in Science series will feature Michele Battle, PhD, a stem cell researcher and Assistant Professor of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, at the June 21 luncheon presentation at the Woman’s Club in Milwaukee. This presentation is geared for the lay public.

Dr. Battle will discuss recent scientific advances that make it possible to transform human stem cells into organ-specific cell types. She is using government-approved stem cells in her laboratory to study the formation of the gastrointestinal tract. The ultimate goal of her research is to discover stem cell-based therapies to restore the function of diseased or damaged organs.

Women in Science is an opportunity to meet outstanding female scientists and physicians and learn about their cutting-edge research. Series subscriptions are available for a suggested minimum donation of $250, which includes five presentations, and also supports two annual awards for promising women scientists. Admission, food and parking are included at all of the events in the series.

Dr. Battle’s luncheon presentation is sponsored by Anonymous Donors of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation and held in cooperation with TEMPO Milwaukee. The event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club of Wisconsin, 813 E. Kilbourn Avenue.

The mission of Women in Science is to showcase outstanding research and provide financial support for women scientists at the Medical College of Wisconsin.

Seven Scientists Win Kavli Prizes June 4, 2012

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Seven scientists whose work spanned the outer reaches of the solar system and penetrated the inner workings of brain circuits and nanotubes were named winners of the 2012 Kavli Prizes on Thursday. The $1 million awards, sponsored by the physicist, businessman and philanthropist Fred Kavli, are given every two years by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters for work in the fields of astrophysics, nanoscience and neuroscience, “the biggest, the smallest and the most complex,” in the words of Mr. Kavli.

Mildred S. Dresselhaus, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, won the nanoscience prize for her research on carbon nanotubes, the chicken-wire wonder cylinders of pure carbon, and how they conduct heat and electricity. She is known around M.I.T. as “the queen of carbon,” according to her colleague Angela Belcher, who noted that she had been working on carbon fibers since the 1960s and had been able to predict the properties of nanotubes, which can be formed by rolling or twisting a sheet of carbon atoms only one atom wide, before they had been discovered in the lab.

Cornelia Isabella Bargmann of Rockefeller University, Winfried Denk of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, and Ann M. Graybiel of M.I.T. will split the neuroscience prize for work aimed at elucidating how the brain processes information from the environment. Dr. Bargmann has unraveled some of the logic of the neural circuits of C. elegans, a worm with only 300 nerve cells that is used in genetic research. Dr. Denk developed microscopy techniques that allowed researchers to make three-dimensional maps of the internal wiring in brain tissues.

Dr. Graybiel is an expert in the basal ganglia, structures in the forebrain that control movement and have been implicated in diseases like Parkinson’s and addiction. Her work, the academy said, shows how patterns of neural activity change and reorganize themselves as animals develop new skills or habits, both good and bad.

At a ceremony at New York University on Thursday morning, Dr. Bargmann was asked why we should study such a primitive worm. “The worms are our partners and collaborators,” she answered, adding that their systems are simple enough that “you can really try to understand the whole system at once.” Her research had shown, she said, that the brain has innate pathways that link certain signals to certain behaviors. For example, she said, “children are born knowing they like sweet things and reject bitter ones.”

The winners of the astrophysics prize will also split $1 million for exploring a hitherto unknown facet of the architecture and history of the solar system: a cloudy disk of ice and rock known as the Kuiper Belt. It looms outside the orbit of Neptune and contains at least 70,000 objects left over from the formation of the planets. David C. Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Jane X. Luu of M.I.T.’s Lincoln Laboratory discovered the Kuiper Belt in the form of a slow-moving (meaning it was very far away) object in 1992.

The third winner of the astrophysics prize, Michael E. Brown of the California Institute of Technology, has discovered a series of massive bodies in the Kuiper Belt, including, in 2005, Eris, which is more massive than Pluto. His work led to a worldwide debate on the definition of planethood, which resulted in Pluto’s being dumped from the roster of planets and designated, like Eris and others, a dwarf planet.

The awards were announced by Nils Christian Stenseth, president of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters, as part of a World Science Festival event. John Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and President Obama’s science adviser, spoke about the administration’s efforts to cultivate a climate of innovation, citing the trip of the private Dragon spacecraft to the International Space Station.

Women in Technology Names Sensei Enterprises President Sharon D. Nelson, Esq. Winner of the 2012 Small Business Leadership Award May 23, 2012

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May 23, 2012, 10:25 a.m. EDT

Women in Technology Names Sensei Enterprises President Sharon D. Nelson, Esq. Winner of the 2012 Small Business Leadership Award

FAIRFAX, Va., May 23, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — Women in Technology, a Washington, D.C. area organization of professional women in the technology community, honored some of its own May 17 at the 13th Annual WIT Leadership Awards Banquet hosted by Maureen Bunyan, co-anchor for WJLA-TV ABC-TV News. The awards honor leading female professionals who have excelled as mentors and exemplified unique vision and talent in the technology industry during the previous year.

Ms. Nelson was asked to offer a favorite quote upon acceptance of her award. She quoted Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, who said “Well-behaved women rarely make history.” She therefore exhorted her fellow honorees “to resolve to go out and misbehave.” In a video filmed at the awards ceremony, Ms. Nelson challenged young girls to excel in mathematics and science, saying “Don’t let the boys have all the fun – you can do it – believe in yourselves!”

ABOUT SENSEI ENTERPRISES, INC.

Sensei Enterprises, Inc. is a nationally known digital forensics, information security and information technology company. Based in Fairfax, Virginia, Sensei combines legal expertise with high-level technical certifications to serve the technology needs of the legal and corporate communities. Sensei’s principals have written articles about legal technology for many publications, and co-authored The 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 editions of the Solo and Small Firm Legal Technology Guide (ABA, 2008-2012),The Electronic Evidence Handbook: Forms, Guidelines and Checklists (ABA, 2006) and Locked Down: Information Security for Lawyers (ABA, 2012). To learn more, please visit http://www.senseient.com . They lecture about information security, information technology and digital forensics throughout the country.

For more information about this release, call Sharon D. Nelson, Esq. at 703-359-0700.

SOURCE Sensei Enterprises, Inc.

MIT’s Amy Finkelstein Wins John Bates Clark Medal April 30, 2012

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By Neil Shah of the Wall Street Journal

Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Amy Finkelstein won the American Economic Association’s John Bates Clark medal.

The economics profession’s most prestigious award after the Nobel Prize, the Clark medal is given every year to the nation’s most promising economist under the age of 40. It’s a good predictor of future Nobel Prize winners: Of the 34 people who have won the award since 1947 — the Clark used to be given biennially — 12 went on to the win the Nobel Prize later, including Paul Samuelson and Milton Friedman. (One economist calls the Nobel Prize “the Clark with a 25-year lag.”)

The 38-year-old Finkelstein has focused on public finance, health economics and the insurance market.

In one experiment, she and other researchers tracked a group of low-income, uninsured adults in Oregon who were randomly picked to get — or not get — the chance to apply for public health insurance. Because it was a randomized controlled trial, the experiment sidestepped common pitfalls that researchers examining the effects of insurance face, including the tendency of sicker people — or unusually healthy people — to seek insurance.

The result: A year later, those selected by the lottery to be able to apply for Medicaid were more likely to have Medicaid, used more health care, had lower out-of-pocket medical expenditures and reported better physical and mental health.

Read original article here: http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/04/27/mits-amy-finkelstein-wins-john-bates-clark-medal/

Google Science Fair: Teenage Girls Discuss Award-Winning Research At TEDxWomen January 30, 2012

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Talk about girl power — three American high school girls made headlines in November when they swept the 2011 international Google Science Fair, earning the grand prize awards in all three age groups.

Over 10,000 students from 91 countries entered the first-annual Google Science Fair, and 15 finalists (nine of whom were boys) were selected to present their research to judges at Google’s headquarters in Silicon Valley.

17-year-old Shree Bose from Fort Worth was awarded for her research on a chemotherapy drug, cisplatin, that is commonly used to treat women with ovarian cancer. Bose discovered a cellular energy protein that could keep cells from growing resistant to cisplatin over time.

In the 15-16 age group, Naomi Shah won with her study of the effects of air quality on lungs, focusing on individuals with asthma. Lauren Hodge dominated the 13-14 age group with her research on whether various marinades reduce the level of carcinogens and other cancer-causing compounds produced when grilling meat.

This year, the competition will heat up again for Google’s second-ever student science competition. The 2012 Google Science Fair launched yesterday, and is now accepting entries from students ages 13-18 from around the world.

Originally from