Friday, March 06, 2009

Science Super-Stars that Escaped Me at the 2009 AAAS Conference

First, the AAAS organizers seriously misunderstood in the draw of its Workshops for Women and Minorities. It was standing room only with people spilling out into the hallway for many sessions. While out in the hall listening to the workshop Career Boosters for Women and Minority Scientists, I re-learned about the Just-Garia-Hill Project. Actually AcmeGirl told me about it at the ScienceOnline09 Conference, but the message didn't sink in. The man at the podium as Dr. Robert Dottin, the Director of JGH discussed his career experiences and the creation of the Virtual Community of Minority Scientists. I was stalking him for the remainder of the conference; but I was unsuccessful at finding him again. The Just Garcia Hill Project is an online community for scientists of color and individuals/organizations interested in promoting diversity in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math).

Named after three pioneering minority professionals, JustGarciaHill is committed to increasing the number of minorities entering science careers and to celebrating contributions to science by minority scientists.

Related to that…the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) is now assembling a database of minority women scientists and engineers. I signed up and if you would like you name added to the list email me and let me know. Please provide your name, title, and email address. AWIS is a fabulous organization (and membership is NOT limited to women). In the past I was a more active member of my local chapter, here in St. Louis. AWIS hosts several social networking, professional development, and outreach activities here. Most major cities and/or universities have an AWIS chapter. It’s worth inquiring about.

Speaking of AWIS…the Women and Minorities Networking Breakfast at AAAS was sponsored by AWIS and I saw a familiar face, Kelly Malcom of Duke University. Why does she tell me that THE Shirley Malcom is her mother. What!

Kelly and me Kelly's mom and me
Later, while attending a panel discussion about the new direction of Science Outreach, the audience was introduced to Dr. Walter Massey. Before this time I had never heard of him, but lo! I should have. He is a former NSF Director, President of Morehouse College, and president AAAS (1989). So of course, I google stalked him and discovered he was born and raised in Hattiesburg, Mississippi - not far from my hometown- and received his Ph.D. in Physics from Washington University in St. Louis. How amazing, academically it’s like I have been walking in the shadow of his footsteps. Now he lives in Chicago and is on the Board of Museum of Science and Industry (?) and the big initiative Science Chicago. I was all set to tackle him with my camera at the end of the discussion, but he slipped away. Curses.
Finally, a good friend and scientist called my attention to the fact that Steve Benner was presenting on the last day of the Conference. Dr. Benner is a molecular biologist who postulates what life might be like on other planets m- neat hypothetical, mind-stretching stuff. It was a very interesting panel – all about Weird Life. I did manage to take a picture of him, but that was the best I could do.
But hey, I did snap a photo with this guy who kind of sort of looks like Charles Darwin. He has the beard and hairline, at least. I wonder if any of the Marine Guys would get anywhere close to this with their Great Darwin Beard Challenge? We'll see.
Finally, thanks to all of you for reading Urban Science Adventures! ©. This blog is now listed in Wikio’s Top Science Blogs for the month of March (#47). That’s up 20 spots from last month, no doubt most of that movement is due to the Diversity in Science Carnival. This month’s theme is Women Achievers in STEM – Past and Present.


Unknown said...

So glad you were able to do some networking and at least follow-up on the workshops and talks you attended later.

And yeah to the Darwin Beard Challenge!

Unknown said...

You look great! And such big smiles! :) Congrats on being on the Wiki! :)

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