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Unintended Consequences How science professors unintentionally discourage women of color 23 February 2007 How science professors unintentionally discourage.

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1 Unintended Consequences How science professors unintentionally discourage women of color 23 February 2007 How science professors unintentionally discourage women of color 23 February 2007

2 To download this presentation and some of the papers it is based on: To download this presentation and some of the papers it is based on:

3 2001 college grads College gradsScience grads All women57%54% Data from retrieved 28 Sept 2005www.nsf.gov/statistics

4 2001 college grads College gradsScience grads All women57%54% Asian3.3%5.2% Data from retrieved 28 Sept 2005www.nsf.gov/statistics

5 2001 college grads College gradsScience grads All women57%54% Asian3.3%5.2% Black5.6%4.3% Hispanic4.3%3.6% American Indian.41%.37% Data from retrieved 28 Sept 2005www.nsf.gov/statistics

6 2001 PhDs, working scientists Awarded science PhDs Employed PhD scientists All women39%23% Asian4.9%4.5% Black1.5%.6% Hispanic1.6%.7% American Indian.1%N/a Data from retrieved 30 Sept 2005www.nsf.gov/statistics

7 The good news 1997 S&E grad students 2004 S&E grad students All women40%42% Asian2.5%2.9% Black2.7%3.1% Hispanic1.8%2.5% American Indian.2% Data from Tables D-2 & D-3, retrieved 20 Feb 2007www.nsf.gov/statistics/wmpd/sex.htm

8 The bad news African American, Latino and American Indian students are less likely to graduate in science than similarly prepared White and Asian students (Huang, Taddese & Walter, 2000) At CU Boulder: This pattern persists among declared science majors after controlling for financial need and preparation (Johnson, under review) African American, Latino and American Indian students are less likely to graduate in science than similarly prepared White and Asian students (Huang, Taddese & Walter, 2000) At CU Boulder: This pattern persists among declared science majors after controlling for financial need and preparation (Johnson, under review)

9 Why this matters Equity Quality of science (Harding, 1991, 1993) Employment patterns: altruistic science (Johnson, 2005) Equity Quality of science (Harding, 1991, 1993) Employment patterns: altruistic science (Johnson, 2005)

10 The question Why are women--especially women of color--under-represented in the sciences?

11 Explanations

12

13 National Academies report Women are not as good in math Girls and boys perform the same in high school now Only a matter of time-- not enough qualified women “Women’s representation decreases with each step up the … hierarchies,” even in fields with lots of women for the past 30 years Executive summary, Beyond Bias and Barriers, available at under “download free”http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11741.html

14 National Academies report Women faculty are less productive Women’s productivity is now comparable to men’s Women take more time off due to children Women take more time off early in their careers; over a lifetime, men take more sick leave than women Executive summary, Beyond Bias and Barriers, available at under “download free”http://www.nap.edu/catalog/11741.html

15 Subconscious bias Implicit Association test: 71% associate science with men, 9% associate it with women. To take the test: implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/ implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/ For more info: Nosek, B. A., Smyth, F. L., Hansen, J. J., Devos, T., Lindner, N. M., Ranganath, K. A., Smith, C. T., Olson, K. R., Chugh, D., Greenwald, A. G., & Banaji, M. R. (2006). Pervasiveness and Correlates of Implicit Attitudes and Stereotypes.. Unpublished manuscript: University of Virginia. Implicit Association test: 71% associate science with men, 9% associate it with women. To take the test: implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/ implicit.harvard.edu/implicit/demo/ For more info: Nosek, B. A., Smyth, F. L., Hansen, J. J., Devos, T., Lindner, N. M., Ranganath, K. A., Smith, C. T., Olson, K. R., Chugh, D., Greenwald, A. G., & Banaji, M. R. (2006). Pervasiveness and Correlates of Implicit Attitudes and Stereotypes.. Unpublished manuscript: University of Virginia.

16 Seemingly neutral conditions Seymour & Hewitt (1997), Talking About Leaving ~350 well-prepared students, 7 institutions across the country Some stayed in science, some left All reported similar conditions Seymour & Hewitt (1997), Talking About Leaving ~350 well-prepared students, 7 institutions across the country Some stayed in science, some left All reported similar conditions

17 Seemingly neutral conditions Hard classes Bad teaching Competition Fast pace Heavy work loads Unsupportive culture Hard classes Bad teaching Competition Fast pace Heavy work loads Unsupportive culture

18 Seemingly neutral conditions Masculine skill: rising to a challenge, without nurture “Most women we encountered had entered college at a peak of self-confidence, based on good high school performances, good or adequate SAT scores and a great deal of encouragement and praise from high school teachers, family and friends” ( ). Masculine skill: rising to a challenge, without nurture “Most women we encountered had entered college at a peak of self-confidence, based on good high school performances, good or adequate SAT scores and a great deal of encouragement and praise from high school teachers, family and friends” ( ).

19 Seemingly neutral conditions “in treating male and female student alike, faculty are, in effect, treating women in ways that are understood by the men, but not by the women” (260). White middle class skill: focus on individual goals “in treating male and female student alike, faculty are, in effect, treating women in ways that are understood by the men, but not by the women” (260). White middle class skill: focus on individual goals

20 Seemingly neutral conditions Eisenhart & Finkel (1998), Women’s Science Study of science workplaces which women believed were good for women “ For the most part, the women actually found easy access and success only insofar as they worked as if they were prototypical white males ” (12). Eisenhart & Finkel (1998), Women’s Science Study of science workplaces which women believed were good for women “ For the most part, the women actually found easy access and success only insofar as they worked as if they were prototypical white males ” (12).

21 At last: Women of color First: Some seemingly neutral conditions which disadvantage women of color Next: Your responses Then: Some possible solutions And finally: More good news First: Some seemingly neutral conditions which disadvantage women of color Next: Your responses Then: Some possible solutions And finally: More good news

22 My study Setting: Large Research I university, 85% white Participants: 6 Black women, 7 Latinas, 3 American Indians, 4 Asian/Pacific Islanders Academic preparation comparable to other science majors Setting: Large Research I university, 85% white Participants: 6 Black women, 7 Latinas, 3 American Indians, 4 Asian/Pacific Islanders Academic preparation comparable to other science majors

23 Data 12 formal interviews Participant observation in classes and labs (gen chem, honors chem, physics, environmental bio, molecular bio, o chem, plant anatomy, human anatomy) 12 formal interviews Participant observation in classes and labs (gen chem, honors chem, physics, environmental bio, molecular bio, o chem, plant anatomy, human anatomy)

24 Data analysis Searched for patterns of behavior and experiences Generated assertions Checked assertions against new data Presented findings to participants Focus groups with other women of color Searched for patterns of behavior and experiences Generated assertions Checked assertions against new data Presented findings to participants Focus groups with other women of color

25 Findings 3 discouraging practices in science classes Large lecture classes Asking and answering questions in class Engaging in research 3 discouraging practices in science classes Large lecture classes Asking and answering questions in class Engaging in research

26 Findings Two discouraging cultural values Focus on decontextualized science Presentation of science as meritocratic, raceless and genderless Two discouraging cultural values Focus on decontextualized science Presentation of science as meritocratic, raceless and genderless

27 Large lecture classes The women… Wanted to get to know professors (Many) came from urban or rural schools where they were cherished Found lectures alienating; felt conspicuous but also invisible The women… Wanted to get to know professors (Many) came from urban or rural schools where they were cherished Found lectures alienating; felt conspicuous but also invisible

28 It was a shock, literally a shock walking into my first class and seeing the teacher down there with the microphone, and seeing him like put up the screen on this huge—I mean, it’s bigger than our little theater in our town, I’m just like “oh my god,” you know, I mean it was huge, and I just couldn’t adjust to that.

29 And I couldn’t adjust to the fact that I couldn’t talk to this teacher, you know, face-to-face. One, I didn’t have the time, and then they didn’t have the time. Because they were always doing other things, and they had like five hundred students in the first class, so it’s just like, they can’t take that much time just for you, you know. --American Indian woman, molecular biology major, now a pharmacist

30 Alexis was in cell biology with us that year. And towards the last exam, Alexis and I went to go talk to the professor who was teaching— he’s a really good teacher. He [said] “strange, I don’t recognize you guys from my class. Do you sit in the back?” And in retrospect, I was like “Dang!” How could he miss us?? Me, Alexis and Derartu were the only Black people in the whole class! I was like “do you not look up?” I don’t know. “Next time we’ll sit on your little podium.”

31 Even though, you know, maybe he didn’t recognize us legitimately, OK? There’s like three hundred people to stare at every day for six months or whatever. But still, I still just felt like not involved in the class, you know? Just kind of like a spectator of the class, like I’m not really a part of the learning process, I’m just kind of watching and hopefully getting a good grade. --Black woman, molecular biology major, now with a master’s in public health

32 Asking and answering questions Common tactic of professors Seems laudable Good way to be recognized by professors Some students take advantage of it more than others White men answered, white women asked, women of color were silent Common tactic of professors Seems laudable Good way to be recognized by professors Some students take advantage of it more than others White men answered, white women asked, women of color were silent

33 Asking and answering questions Socialized as women not to draw attention Felt conspicuous Feared they alone, out of 250 students, were confused All students seemed to have this opportunity but only some took it Socialized as women not to draw attention Felt conspicuous Feared they alone, out of 250 students, were confused All students seemed to have this opportunity but only some took it

34 Like the classes were, you know, there’s a select few over-achievers who laugh at all the jokes, who ask questions, who ask the “challenge the professor” questions, who probably clone genes at home, I don’t know—it’s like those select few and the professor, and everybody else is just either asleep or just scribing every word they can get. And that’s just what I felt like—the class is just following along, and I’m just sort of like along for the ride. --Black molecular biology major

35 Doing research Some women in this study had outstanding experiences Some had spectacularly bad experiences Some women in this study had outstanding experiences Some had spectacularly bad experiences

36 I like working in the lab because I get to go in there and I get to do all this stuff that you have no idea what you’re doing— because you work with things that you can’t see, right? And so you do a lot of stuff, and you don’t know what you’re doing, you don’t know if it’s going to work or whatever, and then you find out that it works, and you’re just kind of like “Wow, I did that, and it worked! And now I know that this species is not related to this species...”

37 It was just all this work on trying to find out [using DNA sequencing] if some species were related, and how closely they were related. It was just learning—learning about things that you can’t see by using things that you can see. … After I graduate, I want to come back and do a doctorate, probably in genetics, some kind of genetics. And then I want to do research. I just find it fascinating! You’re always learning! That’s what I like—I like learning. Finding things out. --Latina molecular biology major, now a PhD-holding research scientist

38 I did research my freshmen year in an environmental biology lab and it was sooooo boring to me. I was looking into a microscope 3-4 hours a day looking at fungi. How fun is that? I would go to the professor in charge of the lab with intent of getting course advice or help as far as what else my biology degree would get me. I was expecting a mentor, but that didn't happen. He was too busy for little ol’ me.

39 Also one of his grad students accused me of stealing his favorite pen, which ended up being in his lab pocket the whole time and he eventually apologized. That is why I switched my major.

40 Then I did paid research in a kinesiology lab my second year. That was cool, it was in a human cardiovascular lab. Then another student and I wrote a grant to go to Mexico—that was the best experience ever. And now I am doing my own independent stuff on diabetes in the Latino/Hispanic community.

41 Anyway, my mentor is acting like it is such a hassle to work with me, so I don't know or care what is up with him. He just seems so distant. The whole purpose of having a mentor is to have that person MENTOR you. My lab now is highly male dominated. Sometimes I just feel so inferior, not only because I am a female, but because I am an undergraduate. I feel at times I have a double stereotype, a woman of color. -Latina kinesiology major, master’s in public health, now applying to doctoral programs

42 Research: Mixed results Intimate spaces, close contacts with professors Some labs let women express their interest in science Other labs amplified women’s feelings of alienation and difference Intimate spaces, close contacts with professors Some labs let women express their interest in science Other labs amplified women’s feelings of alienation and difference

43 Decontextualized science Lectures and labs focused on minutiae of science Seldom gave a big picture Seldom talked about why information was interesting “just pouring information at you in a sort of condescending way” Lectures and labs focused on minutiae of science Seldom gave a big picture Seldom talked about why information was interesting “just pouring information at you in a sort of condescending way”

44 Decontextualized science Reasons women in the study liked science: It’s interesting Means to a health career Interested in the human body Felt slighted or alienated when these motivations were not acknowledged Reasons women in the study liked science: It’s interesting Means to a health career Interested in the human body Felt slighted or alienated when these motivations were not acknowledged

45 Decontextualized science Professors centered interactions around science, not around students

46 Some science professors only look to the science aspects, they’re only into the intellectual thing. I guess they have to be if they’re teaching that, but—I cannot expect them to be open-minded about different things, like your life, when you do get advice from them. Many people are just like “OK, this is the career, this very intellectual, Ph.D., Master’s, that kind of thing.” I think they should ask the question like “what do you want to do? What makes you happy?” --Asian American molecular biology major, completed PhD in biomedical sciences, now in medical school

47 Merima: Whenever I go talk to molecular biology professors, they make me feel, I don’t know—he’s a nice teacher, but they make me feel stupid. [Chris & Monica: Uh-huh.] I couldn’t even divide ten thousand by ten—I was so nervous. One time he said “did you understand what I just said?” I said “uh-huh,” so he said “repeat in your own words,” and I couldn’t. The hard thing is that for med school, they want you to have two science recommendations. This summer I’m going to work with somebody, but I don’t know who else I could get a recommendation from. I’m not just going to go up to somebody, just because I went to their office hours.

48 Angela: What are they doing that makes you feel stupid? Monica: They put you on the spot. Merima: And they’re not too friendly. If you don’t know the answer, they just wait. Chris: It’s like they expect you to know the answer. And then, if you don’t, they just wait. They don’t tell you the answer. Merima: And I can tell you a lot of molecular biology students feel like this. It’s not just me or Chris.

49 Meritocracy Belief that success in science comes only from talent Well-intentioned belief, but: Made some of the women feel like special cases, even more different Belief that success in science comes only from talent Well-intentioned belief, but: Made some of the women feel like special cases, even more different

50 I was doing my report on Graves’ Disease a couple weeks ago. There’s different genes related to Graves’ Disease, for different ethnicities, and for a long time, they were like “OK, it’s just this one gene,” but it was only found with white people. And I thought that was really interesting. But then in my presentation, I was like “should I mention the part about African Americans having a different gene?” And women get affected a lot more. And I thought “damn, that’s kind of messed up, that I should re- think presenting—it’s as normal to the disease as its symptoms, know what I’m saying?” But still, I sort of felt “damn, should I not mention that?”

51 In class, if there’s one black person and you’re the only other colored person, you know that you’re going to get to know that person, just by that person being brown, because it’s just like—you always get called out in class, and you have nobody else to talk to, because they don’t know how it is to be brown, and in school, and it is totally different. --American Indian pharmacist

52 In a class where there’s me and then like one or two other people of color, we all seem to stick together, and somehow we all end up being lab partners, or something like that. Some people may feel like they’re being left out, or they can’t interact with the white people in the class, or something like that, because it seems like whenever I’m sitting there and it’s time to pick your lab partner, whoever else is the minority in the classroom will come and find me. Most of my lab partners have been minorities. --Latina molecular biology major, now pursuing PhD in the biomedical sciences

53 Meritocracy… Made race and gender patterns seem like personal choices Obscured common reasons women of color studied science Made race and gender patterns seem like personal choices Obscured common reasons women of color studied science

54 Conclusions Women in this study faced the same difficulties all science students faced Weed-out courses Multiple choice exams Inaccessible professors Women in this study faced the same difficulties all science students faced Weed-out courses Multiple choice exams Inaccessible professors

55 Conclusions They also faced unique difficulties Felt conspicuous Didn’t like to draw attention Felt conflicted between their altruism & their professors’ decontextualized science Interpreted decontextualization as hostility or lack of caring Were skeptical of claims about meritocracy They also faced unique difficulties Felt conspicuous Didn’t like to draw attention Felt conflicted between their altruism & their professors’ decontextualized science Interpreted decontextualization as hostility or lack of caring Were skeptical of claims about meritocracy

56 Difficulties came from Pragmatism (big classes) Good intentions (asking and answering questions in class, taking on research assistants) Pragmatism (big classes) Good intentions (asking and answering questions in class, taking on research assistants)

57 Success in these settings required… Comfort with attention Knowledge of how to succeed in an unsupportive environment Comfort with personal interactions centered on information, not relationship Race- and gender-blindness Comfort with attention Knowledge of how to succeed in an unsupportive environment Comfort with personal interactions centered on information, not relationship Race- and gender-blindness

58 But the setting “seemed fair”… Because rhetoric of meritocracy obscured racial and gendered patterns Both the women in the study & professors explained women’s non- participation in individual terms--lack of interest, lack of preparation, lack of ability Because rhetoric of meritocracy obscured racial and gendered patterns Both the women in the study & professors explained women’s non- participation in individual terms--lack of interest, lack of preparation, lack of ability

59 Feedback Does this data--and my arguments about it--seem convincing? Other seemingly neutral practices? Does this data--and my arguments about it--seem convincing? Other seemingly neutral practices?

60 Some solutions Recognize that science has a culture which certain types of students may not be familiar with Occasionally put science in context Establish rapport with students during office hours or research Mention race & gender where they make sense Recognize that science has a culture which certain types of students may not be familiar with Occasionally put science in context Establish rapport with students during office hours or research Mention race & gender where they make sense

61 Other solutions??

62 Altruism Subset of previous sample 3 Black women, 4 Latinas, 3 American Indian women, 4 Asian/Pacific Islanders Still in contact with them 5-6 years after original study 13 of the 14 expressed specific altruistic values, often tied to science Subset of previous sample 3 Black women, 4 Latinas, 3 American Indian women, 4 Asian/Pacific Islanders Still in contact with them 5-6 years after original study 13 of the 14 expressed specific altruistic values, often tied to science

63 No matter what I choose to do, I’m sure it will be something like a doctor, a teacher, a counselor, something where I’m involved with other people and working, trying to help other people. --African American biology/psychology major, now an M.D. No matter what I choose to do, I’m sure it will be something like a doctor, a teacher, a counselor, something where I’m involved with other people and working, trying to help other people. --African American biology/psychology major, now an M.D.

64 Altruism and science careers Career goals as undergraduates: Teaching science (4) Using science to preserve the environment (3) Health professions (10) Career goals as undergraduates: Teaching science (4) Using science to preserve the environment (3) Health professions (10)

65 Medicine as altruistic science And so, with medicine, I could have patients, and I could do clinical research, and stuff like that. Anything that I can do to help people would really make me feel good --Latina molecular biology major, now working on a PhD in biomedical sciences And so, with medicine, I could have patients, and I could do clinical research, and stuff like that. Anything that I can do to help people would really make me feel good --Latina molecular biology major, now working on a PhD in biomedical sciences

66 Medicine as altruistic science 1. medicine is fun, fascinating, 2. it is a career that will keep me interested and challenged, 3. the opportunity to serve many different people , American Indian biology major, now an M.D. 1. medicine is fun, fascinating, 2. it is a career that will keep me interested and challenged, 3. the opportunity to serve many different people , American Indian biology major, now an M.D.

67 Medicine as altruistic science Seven students specified desire to work with under-served populations

68 Medicine as altruistic science From what I see, they’re the ones who don’t have all the means necessary to keep them really healthy. […] So I want to work with people of color. And I’m a person of color, and I want to see them be healthy, and do well, and help them succeed, just like I did. --American Indian M.D. From what I see, they’re the ones who don’t have all the means necessary to keep them really healthy. […] So I want to work with people of color. And I’m a person of color, and I want to see them be healthy, and do well, and help them succeed, just like I did. --American Indian M.D.

69 Race and altruism 5 students connected their altruism with their experiences as women of color and residents of medically under-served areas

70 Race and altruism If you’re often put in a lesser position, or something like that, and you manage to get above that, but you see other people being subjected to it, then you want to do what you can to help them out of it, and make them see that there’s another way. --African American M.D. If you’re often put in a lesser position, or something like that, and you manage to get above that, but you see other people being subjected to it, then you want to do what you can to help them out of it, and make them see that there’s another way. --African American M.D.

71 Altruism as a buffer In science settings: I get the feeling I do when I walk through somebody’s house with shoes on. Like I’m in somebody else’s home and I’m improperly walking, when I’m in science --African American molecular biology major, now in public health In science settings: I get the feeling I do when I walk through somebody’s house with shoes on. Like I’m in somebody else’s home and I’m improperly walking, when I’m in science --African American molecular biology major, now in public health

72 Sophomore year was like the year I was going to switch and become a teacher, and get my master’s—I don’t know what I was going to do, but it was going to be something else, and [the director of an enrichment program for students of color in science] was like “no, there is a way to find the union between social issues and science. Just stick with it.” And on that faith, on faith that he was right, I decided, “well, I’ll try it.” --African American public health worker

73 I don’t really have a feel for the science department. But working with other people, and being active with other communities of color, you learn about their struggles and this or that, and so when you apply both of them together— biology and working with people—I can see that medicine is one way to connect them all. So that’s helping me achieve my goal. --American Indian M.D.

74 Altruism as a bridge to science: I wasn’t as excited to work on plants as I was to work on animals, just because it didn’t really affect me whether or not this family belonged to this family or not, but now that I’ve been doing it, it’s really interesting, just like seeing the way that they go about doing it. --Latina molecular biology major, now working on PhD I wasn’t as excited to work on plants as I was to work on animals, just because it didn’t really affect me whether or not this family belonged to this family or not, but now that I’ve been doing it, it’s really interesting, just like seeing the way that they go about doing it. --Latina molecular biology major, now working on PhD

75 I remember studying about genetics and the base primers and blah blah, and here I am, doing it in real life…life a mad scientist. I used to think, this is just a job to provide the means for the ends (graduation). But now I am doing so well in this job and have learned how the worlds of hard science meet public health… , Latina kinesiology major, on working in a kinesiology lab to put herself through her master’s in public health.

76 7 years later…. Engaged in research (natural or social sciences) with altruistic applications: 7 AIDS prevention Maternal and child health Organ transplants Infection in American Indian populations Pharmaceuticals Engaged in research (natural or social sciences) with altruistic applications: 7 AIDS prevention Maternal and child health Organ transplants Infection in American Indian populations Pharmaceuticals

77 7 years later…. Health professionals (5) Applying to medical school (1) Organizing and recruiting women or women of color in the sciences (3) Health professionals (5) Applying to medical school (1) Organizing and recruiting women or women of color in the sciences (3)

78 ??? Your ideas of how any or all of this could be used to retain more able women of color in the sciences???


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