ACS Women Chemists of Color Program: Empirical Studies Symposium at NOBCChE

The American Chemical Society (ACS) Women Chemists of Color Program organized and sponsored an Empirical Studies on Women of Color in STEM Symposium at the 39th Annual Conference of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). This symposium highlighted research and data on women of color in science and related fields to share findings and increase understanding of factors that affect their experiences. See the event flyer.

The ACS Women Chemists of Color Program builds community, provides resources, and advocates for minority women chemists. Program Homepage

Symposium Program

Friday, September 28, 2012 — 1:30–3:00 pm
Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Harding Room
NOBCChE 39th Annual Conference — Washington, DC,

Sponsored by the ACS Women Chemists of Color Program
Presider: Gloria Thomas

1:30 pm: Introductory Remarks

1:40 pm: Faculty Women of Color: The Critical Nexus of Race and Gender. Caroline S. Turner, Ph.D., California State University, Sacramento; Kathleen Wong (Lau), Ph.D., Western Michigan University; and Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Ph.D., California State University, Fresno
Abstract: In the wake of legal challenges to affirmative action, such as Gratz and Grutter, this paper examined the experiences of faculty women of color at ten public research extensive predominately white universities. Research questions were, What are the lived experiences of faculty women of color in public research predominately white institutions?, and What are the implications of Gratz and Grutter for faculty women of color within their institutions? To address these questions, researchers conducted twelve 90-minute focus groups with 51 faculty women of color. Faculty came from a wide range of academic fields and disciplines, from all regions of the U.S., and occupying tenured/tenure track ranks (assistant, associate, and full professors). The focus groups produced 426 pages of transcription. A constant comparative analytic framework involved the identification of discrete information in each transcript and then comparing this with other data looking for similarities and differences or patterns in the data. Forty codes were noted for support systems and 121 for challenges. The coded narrative data were then imported into NVIVO, a qualitative data analysis computer software package. NVIVO then allows the researchers the capability of producing reports based on each question posed in the focus groups conducted.

Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Critical Race Feminism (CRF) served as frameworks providing lenses to examine the intersectionality of identities with regard to research questions. Overall, the study found that faculty women of color across three disciplinary areas (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [STEM], Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences [SBE], and Humanities/Arts) perceive a worsened campus climate for diversity post-Gratz and Grutter. They describe far more challenges than supports on their respective campuses. For example, many note experiences with racial and gendered assumptions of their intellectual/professional inferiority, living within contexts promoting the socially constructed, multiple myths of white male superiority. Faculty women of color also report that communication about diversity initiatives and resources on their campuses was extremely uneven and idiosyncratic. As extreme tokens, faculty women of color indicate that they have few opportunities to connect with each other to tap the institutional memory and experiences of other faculty women of color and that they are reliant on learning about support initiatives from others. While faculty and administrators directing such initiatives may be highly supportive of the retention of faculty of color, through their everyday practices they may reinforce and participate in segregated communication networks which do not include all faculty women of color. Findings point to a continued need for all levels of campus leadership to sustain their commitment in addressing challenges described by faculty women of color and to strengthen support structures to ensure their retention and development. It is also essential for institutions to find effective ways to inform faculty women of color of institutional initiatives with the potential of supporting their research and promoting the development of an inclusive research community. Further studies are recommended that delve into the nuanced experiences of women of color within academe, especially those in the sciences.

1:55 pm: Broadening Participation for Women of Color in the Academy: A Roadmap for Federal Funding Agencies. Kelly Mack, Ph.D., University of Maryland Eastern Shore and Claudia Rankins, Ph.D., National Science Foundation
Abstract: The numbers of women from historically underrepresented minority populations remain disproportionately low in the academic science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Among the accepted reasons for this phenomenon are a lack of access to culturally competent mentoring and societal pressures, both intrinsic and extrinsic to the academy. While these influences do not fully encompass the entirety of the unique disposition of women of color in the academic STEM disciplines, they do contribute to the persistently low representation of women of color. Institutions of higher education, scientific societies and organizations and government agencies have made significant attempts to reverse this trend. However, to date, no collaboratively focused effort that targets the intersection of gender and race has been employed. The current project focuses on a comprehensive and multi-pronged strategy toward empowering STEM women of color in the academy and raising the national level of consciousness about their circumstance. Specifically, this strategy is characterized by 1) a cross-disciplinary collaboration, 2) group interviews and 3) a national conclave focused on women of color in the STEM disciplines. Overall, the collective intelligence from women of color that emerged from this strategy resulted in a prescribed set of objectives related to promoting career development for women of color, and formed the basis of a highly-reproducible plan of action for sustained efforts aimed at improving the representation of underrepresented groups in the STEM disciplines.

2:10 pm: Seemingly Fair Practices Which Disadvantage Women of Color in Science. Angela Johnson, Ph.D., St. Mary’s College of Maryland
Abstract: Black, Latina and American Indian women are under-represented in the sciences; in 2001, they made up less than two percent of employed Ph.D. scientists. In this talk, I will present NSF statistics about the under-representation of women of color in science, focusing particularly on chemistry. I will then explore how the culture of science is closely aligned with the cultural skills of white middle class men. Using data from an ethnographic study of nineteen women science majors of color at a predominantly white Research I university, I will discuss some of the teaching practices and cultural values which, despite the stated intentions of some science professors to retain women students of color, served to benefit white students and male students at the expense of the women in this study. I will end with a discussion of some of the approaches used by the women in my study to persist in science, and what college professors and science professionals can do to better support women of color to survive this culture as well as to dismantle unintended barriers in their own settings.

2:25 pm: Intersections of Race and Gender in STEM: Research on Undergraduate Women of Color. Dawn R. Johnson, Ph.D., Syracuse University
Abstract: Although women from racial/ethnic minority groups continue to enroll in higher education in greater numbers, their participation and bachelor’s degree attainment lags behind White women in many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. The presence of racial/ethnic and gender marginalization suggests that women of color have unique experiences from White women and men of color that contributes to their participation in STEM postsecondary education. Women of color begin college with strong interests in STEM fields; however, many encounter a difficult learning environment in STEM, including racial discrimination, exclusion and isolation among peers, endurance of stereotypes, and lack of support from faculty. Some women of color develop resilience and coping strategies to persist in STEM, while others leave their STEM major altogether. As educational policy and programs work to cultivate a diverse scientific and technical workforce in the United States, accounting for the needs of women of color is a critical dimension. This presentation discusses research on women of color in STEM, including their representation among STEM undergraduate students, the challenges and barriers they encounter, as well as how they have been successful. Suggestions of educational programs and policies that support the needs of women of color in STEM are also presented.

2:40 pm: Evidence of Ascendency: Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Apriel K. Hodari, Ph.D., Council for Opportunity in Education and Maria (Mia) Ong, Ph.D., TERC
Abstract: While many programs focus on improving the academic success of women and minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), research on effective intervention strategies has been meager. What research does exist focuses largely on the dynamics of underrepresentation: the factors that discourage these populations from remaining committed to their chosen discipline. Across two projects, Inside the Double Bind: A Synthesis of Empirical Literature on Women of Color in STEM and Beyond the Double Bind Women of Color in STEM, we have collected and analyzed evidence about what works for women of color in STEM education and careers. In this talk, we will present findings from our work, including both personal and programmatic strategies than engender success and mitigate continuing challenges.

2:55 pm: Concluding Remarks

Speaker Biographies

Apriel K. Hodari, Ph.D.
Vice President, Professional Development and Director, Stokes Institute Council for Opportunity in Education

Apriel K. Hodari is the Vice President for Programs and Professional Development, and Director of the Louis Stokes Institute for Opportunity in STEM Education at the Council for Opportunity in Education. She earned a doctorate in experimental nonlinear optics from Hampton University, following which she joined the Physics Education Research Group at the University of Maryland as an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, focusing on undergraduate physics learning at historically black colleges and universities and at women's colleges. From 2000-2001 she served as an AAAS Congressional Science Fellow, managing a portfolio of issues including education, health care disparities, and science research funding. Her current research includes conducting critical ethnographies of institutions that have an established record of promoting success for women of color in STEM disciplines. Dr. Hodari was Co-Leader of the U.S. Delegations to the Second and Fourth International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) Conferences on Women in Physics, and Consultant for the project Inside the Double Bind: A Synthesis of Literature on Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. She currently serves as Co-Principal Investigator for the project Beyond the Double Bind: Women of Color in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and External Evaluator for Findings the Roots: Interactive Influences of Individual, Secondary School, and College Institutional Factors on the Success of Women and Underrepresented Minorities in STEM Majors.

Angela C. Johnson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Educational Studies, St. Mary’s College of Maryland

Angela Johnson is an Associate Professor of Educational Studies. She is a former high school physics teacher and long-time collective member of off our backs, the radical feminist newsjournal. She graduated in physics from Bryn Mawr College and earned her doctorate in the social foundations of education from the University of Colorado at Boulder, with an emphasis in anthropology. She teaches courses in educational equity, assessment, educational policy, and research methods. She has authored and co-authored numerous articles and book chapters on the experiences of women of color in predominantly White science contexts and on other issues involving equity and excellence in science and science education.

Dawn R. Johnson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Higher Education Department, Syracuse University

Dr. Dawn Johnson is an Assistant Professor of Higher Education at Syracuse University. Her research examines the racial climate on campus and in the classroom for students of color in STEM majors, with a special interest in the experiences of women of color. She formerly directed recruitment and retention programs for under-represented students of color at a science and engineering university. Dr. Johnson teaches in the areas of student affairs administration, college student identity development, and diversity issues in U.S. higher education. She received her doctorate in Counseling and Personnel Services from the University of Maryland.

Kelly Mack, Ph.D.
Professor, Natural Sciences, University of Maryland Eastern Shore

Currently, Dr. Mack is a Professor of Biology at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where she has taught courses in Physiology and Endocrinology for 15 years, and is on loan from her home institution (since Fall 2008) serving as a Program Director for the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Program. At her home institution, Dr. Mack served in many capacities including Biology Program Director where she was responsible for providing leadership and strategic vision for the intellectual, educational, and professional development of biology majors and for the coordination of faculty in providing quality instruction, research, and development activities. During her tenure at UMES, Dr. Mack served as Principal Investigator, Director or Co-Director for externally funded projects that totaled over $12 million dollars, including the UMES ADVANCE Program, which focused on issues related to African American women faculty in the STEM disciplines and led to the initiation of several institution-wide practices to promote the professional development of all faculty.

Dr. Kelly Mack received her Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Biology and later the PhD degree from Howard University in Physiology. Dr. Mack has had extensive training and experience in the area of cancer research with her research efforts focusing primarily on the use of novel antitumor agents in human estrogen receptor negative breast tumor cells. Specifically, these efforts have included the role of the cellular accumulation of cisplatin in breast tumor cells, and the use of demethyltransferase inhibitors and histone deacetylase agents in inducing the re-expression of the estrogen receptor in human breast tumor cells. More recently, her research focus has involved the use of bioflavonoids in the regulation of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) and estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast tumor cell proliferation.

Dr. Mack has served as a member of the Board of Governors for the National Council on Undergraduate Research and is a current member of the National Institutes of Health Review Subcommittee for the Minority Opportunities in Research (MORE) Division.

Claudia Rankins, Ph.D.
Program Officer, Division of Human Resource Development, National Science Foundation

Claudia Rankins is a Program Officer in the Directorate for Education and Human Resources at the National Science Foundation. She manages the Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) which provides awards to enhance the quality of undergraduate science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and research at HBCUs as a means to broaden participation in the nation’s STEM workforce. She also manages the Centers of Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREST) program which makes resources available to enhance the research capabilities of minority-serving institutions through the establishment of centers that effectively integrate education and research.

Prior to this post, Dr. Rankins served at Hampton University for 22 years in a number of capacities, including endowed university professor, chair of the department of physics, assistant dean for research, and dean of the School of Science. She also directed STEM enrichment and research programs for students ranging from middle school through post baccalaureate studies.

Her formal education includes military training, certification as translator and interpreter for German, French and English, a B.S. in Mathematics from Christopher Newport University, an M.S. in Statistics from Old Dominion University, an M.S. in Physics, and a Ph.D. in Physics both from Hampton University.

Since 1998, Dr. Rankins secured over $10 million in external grants that supported pre-college activities as well as undergraduate education and research in STEM. Her research in theoretical particle physics focused on the development of a model to describe distribution amplitudes and form factors of pseudoscalar mesons. Her current research interests focus on the underrepresentation of women faculty of color in STEM disciplines in the academy.

Caroline S. Turner, Ph.D.
Professor, Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program, California State University, Sacramento

Caroline Sotello Viernes Turner is Professor and Graduate Coordinator, Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program, California State University, Sacramento and Professor Emerita, Higher & Postsecondary Education, Lincoln Professor of Ethics and Education, Arizona State University. Recognizing her exemplary scholarship and mentorship, Turner is the 2010 recipient of the ASU Chicano Latino Faculty Staff Association (CLFSA) Dr. Manuel Servin Faculty Award, the 2009 recipient of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) Scholars of Color in Education Distinguished Career Contribution Award, the 2009 AERA Dr. Carlos J. Vallejo Memorial Award for Lifetime Scholarship, the 2008 Recipient of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Council on Ethnic Participation Mildred Garcia Award for Exemplary Scholarship, and the recipient of the 2008 & 2009 Arizona State University Mary Lou Fulton College of Education Dean’s Faculty Excellence Award.

Currently, she serves as Chair of the ASHE Council on Ethnic Participation and Faculty Co-Chair of AERA’s Advancing Research on Underrepresented Ethnic Populations in Education, Carlos J. Vallejo Research Track on Latinas and Latinos in Education Pre-Conference. Turner was the founder and State Site Coordinator for the Arizona Education Policy Fellowship Program and served as President of the Arizona State University Chicano/Latino Faculty and Staff Association. Her research and teaching interests include access, equity and leadership in higher education, faculty gender and racial/ethnic diversity, organizational change, and the use of qualitative methods for policy research. Her publications include a book entitled Diversifying the Faculty: A Guidebook for Search Committees, which is widely adopted selling over 17,000 copies nationally and internationally, a co-authored book entitled Faculty of Color in Academe: Bittersweet Success, and a co-edited book, Understanding Minority-Serving Institutions. Her current book projects include the following titles: Promoting Social Justice in Higher Education: Preparing the Next Generation of Scholars and Practitioners (sole author) and Mentoring Across Institutions, Gender, Race & Class: Cultivating the Next Generation of Academics of Color (co-editor).

Dr. Turner has served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Higher Education, The Review of Higher Education, and presently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Hispanic Higher Education. She is one of the founding editorial advisory board members for the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. She was elected and served on the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Board of Directors. In 2001-2002, she was selected as an American Council on Education (ACE) Fellow. Dr. Turner has also served as Interim Dean for research for the Arizona State University College of Education and as coordinator for faculty programs at the University of Minnesota where she co-founded a national symposium on the recruitment, retention, and development of faculty of color entitled “Keeping Our Faculties.”

Professor Turner’s research includes a Spencer Foundation funded study of the faculty search committee process and hiring of faculty of color, a PEW Foundation funded study of Latino faculty in theological education, a Ford Foundation funded study of Diversity in Academe Post-Grutter, a Stanford University funded study of Pre – 16 reforms and the promise of a seamless educational system, a study of women of color presidents in higher education, and a study of faculty and students of color in mathematical sciences and related fields. She was a Visiting Scholar with the Stanford Institute for Higher Education Research (SIHER) and named a Distinguished Alumni Scholar by Stanford University. Turner received her undergraduate degree in History and her master’s degree in Educational Psychology from the University of California, Davis. She received her doctorate in Administration and Policy Analysis from the Stanford University School of Education.