The FemSTEM Symposium is a collaboration between me and Professor Andrea Bruder (Chair and Associate Professor of Math and Computer Science at Colorado College) that is designed to illustrate how the interdisciplinary study of power and inequity necessitates pedagogical and scholarly collaboration among intellectuals in myriad fields within and outside of the academy, not just those that may be more obviously connected than others.
The symposium includes free and open lectures at Colorado College and convergence classes co-taught by Colorado College professors across disciplines that are designed to help us better examine the crises of our times, particularly those relevant to the relationships between feminism, science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
This year, the symposium will feature a talk by Cynthia Chapple, Founder and Managing Director of Black Girls Do STEM (BGDS), which was created to provide middle school-aged Black girls with opportunities to learn, create, and build confidence in their abilities to become STEM professionals while they are still curious and excited to learn new things. In doing this, BGDS aims to close the gap between Black woman scientists, engineers, and the rest of the STEM world. During her visit, Ms. Chapple, who was a student in Dr. Lewis’ after school program, The Tarajia Project, for Black girls at Lafayette Jefferson High School in Lafayette, IN, will also conduct an after-school workshop entitled “Biotechnology: DNA Extraction” for Black girl students at Horizon Middle School in District 49, where my daughter is currently enrolled in 8th grade and where my son attended for all three years of middle school.
This year, the symposium featured a talk by Dr. Rachel Ivie, Director of the Statistical Research Center at the American Institute of Physics, organized and hosted by Dr. Kristine Lang, Associate Professor of Physics at Colorado College; followed by a Spring 2019 talk by Dr. Deboleena Roy, Chair and Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Associate Professor of Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology at Emory University, organized in large part by Malone DeYoung (Feminist & Gender Studies ’20) and especially Nan Elpers (Psychology major and Feminist & Gender Studies minor ’20), then Co-Chairs of the Feminist Collective (FemCo) at Colorado College.
2017-2018 (Inaugural Year)
We kicked off the symposium with a talk by Dr. Samantha Blackmon, Associate Professor of English at Purdue University and Co-Founder of Not Your Mamma’s Gamer; followed by a talk co-sponsored by the Harold D. and Rhoda N. Roberts Memorial Fund Lecture featuring Dr. Talithia Williams, Associate Professor of Mathematics and Associate Dean for Research and Experiential Learning at Harvey Mudd College and host of PBS’ NOVA Wonders; and we concluded with a screening of Hidden Figures followed by a discussion featuring me, Professor Bruder, and Desirae Martinez (Class of 2013), the first Colorado College student to graduate with a major in Mathematics and a minor in Feminist & Gender Studies.