Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine will take a close look at the spill's health impacts pregnant women and women of reproductive age in Louisiana's coastal parishes. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provided $6.5 million to do the work. The study will follow 500 pregnant and 500 women of reproductive age over five years. It will look at women in Lafourche, Terrebonne, Orleans, Plaquemines, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes and will also look at the impact of repeated disasters on pregnancy outcomes and women's health.
From the article:
A new study aims to examine the oil spill's potential health effects on wives, sisters and mothers.
Tulane University's School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine will take a close look at the spill's health impacts pregnant women and women of reproductive age in Louisiana's coastal parishes. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences provided $6.5 million to do the work.
It's the first long-term study to examine a major spill's effects on pregnant women and women's health, said Dr. Maureen Lichtvelt, chairwoman of environmental policy for Tulane and the study's lead researcher.
“Pregnant women are always a population of concern when there are environmental exposures,” Lichtvelt said. “The developing fetus may be vulnerable to even small doses of contaminants.”
The study will also look at the impact of repeated disasters on pregnancy outcomes and women's health.
The study will follow 500 pregnant and 500 women of reproductive age over five years. It will look at women in Lafourche, Terrebonne, Orleans, Plaquemines, Jefferson and St. Bernard parishes.
The National Institutes of Health, a federal research program, is conducting a long-term study to monitor the health of tens of thousands of oil-spill workers and volunteers. Three other schools also received grants totaling more than $17 million to study other oil-spill health issues, including an independent study into seafood safety.
The authors argue that the concerns of policy makers about the competitiveness of America's students are overstating and misidentifying America's challenges in science and engineering, and that they are missing the real opportunities for improving the nation's education and work force. Instead, they suggest: The United States needs to improve education broadly rather than expand particular fields of study; look inward rather than abroad for exemplary educational models, in light of the limits of international comparisons; and focus on the core lessons about improving the lowest-performing group of students.
From the article:
We believe that those concerns are overstating and misidentifying America's challenges in science and engineering, and that they are missing the real opportunities for improving the nation's education and work force. As we examined the evidence, several points became clear: The United States needs to improve education broadly rather than expand particular fields of study; look inward rather than abroad for exemplary educational models, in light of the limits of international comparisons; and focus on the core lessons about improving the lowest-performing group of students. There is actually no compelling evidence that, over all, the educational pipeline is failing to meet demand.
Our recent analysis of Department of Education data for three decades followed students from high school to the job market. We found little in the way of overall change in students' pursuit of science-and-engineering studies or their entry into those careers over the past 30 years. We found that while a steady proportion of college students graduated in science and engineering, no more than half of them landed jobs in a formally defined core science or engineering occupation.
So, given a steady supply, why do companies report difficulty in finding ideal workers? Listen carefully and it sounds as if the employers would like entry-level workers to have skills not typical of newly graduated students. Leading engineering companies seek technologists with a depth of skill in a technical area combined with a broad education across technical fields, business, and the social sciences. Colleges find it difficult to develop all of that in only four years. So the hiring difficulty may reflect problems with pedagogy, the structure of higher education, the unwillingness of some employers to train new workers, and a lack of collaboration between academe and industry. It does not, however, indicate a loss of student interest or a shrinking pool of science-and-engineering graduates.
A study by researchers at University of Washington of female engineering students' perceived challenges finds significant differences between black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American and white women. The findings could help institutions better retain particular underrepresented groups of students.
Attempts to recruit and retain more women in undergraduate engineering programs often lump all female students into a single group. At best, minority women as a group may receive special attention.
But a new study of female engineering students' perceived challenges finds significant differences between black, Hispanic, Native American, Asian-American and white women. The findings by researchers at University of Washington could help institutions better retain particular underrepresented groups of students.
"What we're finding is these women's experiences are different, which is why grouping all women together doesn't make sense," said co-author Elizabeth Litzler, research director at the UW's Center for Workforce Development. She recently presented the findings in Vancouver, B.C., at the annual meeting of the American Society for Engineering Education.
The study used data collected in 2008 by the Project to Assess Climate in Engineering survey, conducted by UW researchers and funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. Investigators distributed questionnaires and interviews to undergraduate engineering students at 21 U.S. colleges and universities that were interested in supporting diversity programs. The study received more than 10,500 responses, with higher than average numbers of women and minority students.
"The study's size gave us a really great opportunity to talk about race, which is usually not possible in engineering," Litzler said.
The UW researchers looked at the aggregate findings to seek overall trends among the responses. Students were asked about such subjects as teaching, labs, student interactions, personal experiences and their perceptions of their major.
"We see important trends in our findings," Litzler said. "For example, Hispanics reported feeling like they were taken less seriously than other students. African-Americans, not at all."
However, black women reported higher instances of feeling singled out in the classroom because of their race than Hispanic, Native American and Asian-American women.
Another significant finding related to female students' comfort approaching their professors. Many female students said they were uncomfortable approaching professors with questions, but black women were significantly less likely to report this as an issue.
Native American women were the least likely to approach their professors individually.
"These findings advance our understanding of race and experience of undergraduate engineering education," Litzler said. "I don't think this suggest huge differences. But having a better understanding of where students may be coming from may be able to help us direct them, and give them suggestions that may lead to them staying in engineering."
The trends come from analyzing numerical scores on the questionnaires. Next the researchers will analyze the students' interview responses to better understand the reasons behind these trends.
The UW investigators also will continue with the larger PACE study. Researchers gave each school a summary of its students' responses as well as recommendations for interventions that would improve the students' experiences, such as instituting diversity training for teaching assistants, or providing more mentoring opportunities for freshmen women. More than half the schools have since implemented at least three of the suggested interventions.
"You can't just attack retention by developing a bunch of interventions. Institutions need a strategic plan," said co-author Suzanne Brainard, UW affiliate professor of gender, women and sexuality studies and of human centered design and engineering and executive director of the UW's Center for Workforce Development.
A new grant from the Sloan Foundation will allow the center to follow up with the schools. Starting in September, UW researchers will go back and collect data to see whether the targeted interventions succeeded in retaining more women and minorities. Brainard said she is confident the data will show that retention rates have improved.
Students at the UW were not included in the study because it looked only at one-tier schools, where students enroll in an undergraduate engineering program directly from high school. However, the UW and other schools where not all engineering students are admitted in the freshman year could still benefit from the findings, the authors said.
Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) analyzed grant applications to determine whether there is a correlation between the sex of the applicants and the award of NIH grant funding. The study determined that success and funding rates for men and women were not significantly different in most award programs and that, in programs where participation was lower for women than men, the disparity was primarily related to a lower percentage of women applicants compared with men, rather than decreased success rates or funding rates.
Longitudinal analysis showed that men with previous experience as NIH grantees had higher application and funding rates than women at similar career points. On average, women received larger R01 awards, which are the "gold standard" of NIH funding, than men, but men had more R01 awards than women at all points in their careers.
Purpose: The authors provide an analysis of sex differences in National Institutes of Health (NIH) award programs to inform potential initiatives for promoting diversity in the research workforce.
Method: In 2010, the authors retrieved data for NIH extramural grants in the electronic Research Administration Information for Management, Planning, and Coordination II database and used statistical analysis to determine any sex differences in securing NIH funding, as well as subsequent success of researchers who had already received independent NIH support.
Results: Success and funding rates for men and women were not significantly different in most award programs. Furthermore, in programs where participation was lower for women than men, the disparity was primarily related to a lower percentage of women applicants compared with men, rather than decreased success rates or funding rates. However, for subsequent grants, both application and funding rates were generally higher for men than for women.
Conclusions: Cross-sectional analysis showed that women and men were generally equally successful at all career stages, but longitudinal analysis showed that men with previous experience as NIH grantees had higher application and funding rates than women at similar career points. On average, although women received larger R01 awards than men, men had more R01 awards than women at all points in their careers. Therefore, while greater participation of women in NIH programs is under way, further action will be required to eradicate remaining sex differences.
According to the National Science Foundation (NSF), African-Americans earn only 1 percent of Ph.D.’s in physics. This blog post discusses a May 2011 NSF workshop focused on collaboration in the sciences with the express purpose of increasing the participation of under represented minorities in the STEM fields. Of note is a Master's-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program partnership between Fisk, a historically black university (HBU) and Vanderbilt.
Female students have long surpassed their male peers in the rates at which they seek higher education. Yet across sectors, women’s representation in professional leadership roles has stalled at 15-17%. If women make up the majority of students earning Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctoral degrees why are there so few women in top management positions? Further aggravating women’s uneven progress, the disparity is often most pronounced in the most lucrative fields, including STEM, economics and finance.
This project tackles what too often seems to be an insurmountable problem: the lack of women in technology fields. Research shows that fewer girls are going into computer science partly because fewer women are in technology fields and those that are in the field continue to drop out at high rates, especially at pivotal mid-points in their careers. This is true across industry, government and educational institutions in the United States.
To shed light on this problem, Jenna Gretsch selected a group of peers, mostly women who were at mid-points or higher in their careers and asked them questions regarding how they got into computers and what keeps them there. Specifically, Gretsch solicited their reflections and experiences regarding gender discrimination and inequality.
Republic: A dual degree program between the University of Notre Dame and St. Mary's College has increased the percentage of women in the College of Engineering from 22 percent to 30 percent. In addition to more targeted recruitment, the program is helping to increase the national average of women in engineering which currently hovers around 18 percent.
"After Title IX was passed in 1972, women made monumental strides in higher-level education and now account for 50 percent or more of students in every field of study — as long as engineering is not included on that list.
The national average of women majoring in engineering is a meager 18 percent, said Cathy Pieronek, the assistant dean of academic affairs in engineering at the University of Notre Dame. When Pieronek and other officials at Notre Dame's College of Engineering realized the extent of the gender gap in 2002, they took steps to improve the situation.
In the past eight years, Notre Dame increased the percentage of women in the College of Engineering from 22 percent to 30 percent in this year's freshman class. Pieronek said this number is especially impressive when compared to the national average and percentages at other universities.
Pieronek said, however, the College of Engineering at Notre Dame is graduating more women thanks in large part to a dual program with neighboring Saint Mary's College. The program, which was formalized in 2005 but existed since the early 1970s, allows a Saint Mary's student to take pre-engineering classes starting her sophomore year at the college, while concurrently earning a degree in mathematics or one of the sciences. At the end of her four years, she graduates from Saint Mary's with a bachelor's degree in her selected major and then enrolls at Notre Dame for a fifth year in the College of Engineering."