Fifty-one senior women professors in chemistry and physics from forty-six liberal arts colleges gathered in June in Washington, D.C. to participate in the first ever summit meeting focused on the Advancement of Senior Women Scientists at Liberal Arts Colleges. Hiram College Professor of Physics Laura Van Wormer was one of only two faculty members from Ohio to attend the summit.
“Attending this summit was an honor for me and for Hiram College,” Van Wormer said. “We were among the smallest liberal arts colleges represented, and I was one of about 15 physicists who were invited. The ideas generated at this meeting will not only benefit my research, but have opened up opportunities for me to network on a national scale and make a difference locally and especially regionally for senior women scientists.”
The two-day working meeting focused on the distinctive environments of undergraduate liberal arts institutions and the challenges faced by senior women science faculty on these campuses to attain leadership roles and professional recognition. Also present at the summit were representatives from professional organizations who advocate for faculty development and for women’s leadership and gender equity on a daily basis. Summit participants considered the practices, infrastructure, and campus climate needed to support and enhance the professional careers, visibility, and leadership of women science faculty on liberal arts campuses.
The meeting was organized by the co-principal investigators of a project funded by the National Science Foundation ADVANCE Partnerships for Adaptation, Implementation, and Dissemination (PAID) program. Leading the project are four full professors of chemistry: Professor Kerry Karukstis, Harvey Mudd College; Professor Laura Wright, Furman University; Professor Miriam Rossi, Vassar College; and Professor Bridget Gourley, DePauw University.