Georgetown Launches Women in Science Website

The university launched a website dedicated to Georgetown women in science March 9 in conjunction with Women’s History Month.

The website celebrates the contributions of Georgetown’s female students, alumnae and faculty members in the mathematics, medicine, physical, social, computer and life sciences.

Fourteen events are being held at Georgetown for Women’s History Month, including a panel on women in the military March 23 and a panel called “Unboxing the Patriarchy” March 29.

Women remain minorities in the sciences across the United States. According to a report from the National Girls Collaborative Project, although they constitute half of the total American college-educated workforce, women constitute only 29 percent of the American science and engineering workforce.

University Media Relations Manager Ryan King said the website was inspired by the December death of astronomer Vera Rubin (GRD ’54), whose research exploring galaxy rotation rates and dark matter led to a major shift in understandings of the cosmos among scientists.

“The idea for this project was formed after Georgetown alumna and renowned astronomer Vera Rubin died this past December,” King said. “Our office began to evaluate our legacy of pioneering women in science and also to reflect on the current female faculty in science at Georgetown. We are continually looking for opportunities to feature research conducted by our outstanding faculty.”

Vice Provost for Research Janet Mann, who is also a professor in the biology and psychology departments, said the website showcases just some of the successes of Georgetown women in science.

“The website was created to highlight women scientists, past and present, during Women’s History Month,” Mann said. “This was an opportunity to highlight the many women who make Georgetown a great place to engage in scientific endeavors. This feature is just a snapshot and not comprehensive of everyone—or even every woman—contributing to our rich community.”

Mann said she hopes the website draws attention to the scientific work being done by women at the university.

“As Vice Provost for Research, we want to promote Georgetown research, across every discipline, as much as possible. Sometimes I hear members of our own community say, ‘Georgetown doesn’t do science.’ That is patently false,” Mann said. “We have some truly exceptional scientists, natural and social scientists, from past and present, male and female. Some of the historical figures are legendary — and many community members are unaware of their achievements and incredible contributions.”

Current Georgetown undergraduate students featured directly on the website include Breanna Walsh (COL ’17) and Angela Bai (COL ’17).

King said the website helps showcase Georgetown’s diversity and innovation, especially in light of Women’s History Month.

“It’s clear that we have a rich and diverse community of faculty, students and alumni in the sciences,” King said. “We saw that we had generated a great collection of digital content that features female faculty, students and alumni in the sciences through our regular coverage. We saw an opportunity to pull this content together in a showcase to our larger campus community during Women’s History Month and on International Women’s Day.”

King said the university hopes to continue highlighting under-recognized communities on campus.

“We hope visitors will gain a better understanding of the scientific work being done within the campus community through faculty, graduate and undergraduate research,” King said. “We hope to do similar projects in the future that highlight contributions of our communities in different disciplines.”

While the website highlights accomplishments of women in science, assistant professor of molecular oncology Chunling Yi said the field is still full of obstacles for women.

“Science is still a very male-dominant field, like many other fields,” Yi said. “So it is also an extra challenge for women just in terms of socializing with our scientists.”

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