Monday, December 15, 2008

Science Blogging Conference will address Diversity in Science

The 2009 ScienceOnline Conference will take place MLK weekend in Research Triangle, North Caroline. This conference is like many other Blogging Conferences - networking, increasing readership, moneytizing, and improving your blog. Like other "special interest blogging groups" the participants will address important matters of concern to them.

The overarching issue being addressed is Scientific Literacy. How the public consumes, comprehends, and using science information (and disquishes it from psuedo- or non-science information) in order to make decisions about their lives.

Another important issue is Inclusion or Diversity in STEM. How do we create and maintain diversity among our ranks at colleges, universities, and other research centers? There are two workshops to deal with this.
1. Gender in science — online and offline — moderated by Suzanne Franks, Abel and Alice Pawley: How to get and make allies? What allies can and should be doing? How the Web provides new methods and means for action and effecting positive change. Go here to discuss.
2. Race in science – online and offline — moderated by Danielle Lee and Samia Ansari: The issues of gender and race are related and have overlaps, yet there are differences as well that need to be explored. If there is no profile picture, most readers will automatically assume that the author is white. What can be done to promote minorities blogging? How can blogs by minorities be used to attract kids into science careers? How to get and make allies? What allies can and should be doing? How the Web provides new methods and means for action and effecting positive change. Go here to discuss.
I really hoped to attend the Conference. Last year I missed it for work reasons and I think the same precluding factors will keep me away this year. However, I appreciate that the conference organizers encourage bloggers to sound off about issues by posting comments on the wiki. I can't quite yet figure out how to do that, so I'll sound off here and encourage others to sound off here in the comments or visit the wiki to sound off or post at your blog and trackback or all of the above.

Since I've talked about race issues, particularly, my race (African-American) and STEM diversity, I'm tempted to just offer them links to my previous posts. I still might do that, but I offer this first - an abstract I ran across on ERIC. It is an abstract of a paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Montreal, Canada, April 1983).

"The differences in the personality and social backgrounds of college students majoring in science and nonscience fields were assessed with 91 black and 109 white students. The following categories of majors were compared: natural science, social science, and nonscience (education, business, history, and all others). The personality and attitudes of students were assessed by the 16PF, Bem Sex-Role Inventory, and the Attitude Toward Women Scale. Data were also collected on birth order, number of siblings, and social class. The black natural science majors were from a higher social class and more practical and toughminded than were the black social and nonscience majors. The white natural science majors were more masculine sex-role oriented and more sober than were the white social and nonscience majors. In comparison with nonscience majors, natural science majors were more often first born and from higher social class families with fewer siblings. There were more racial differences found than college major differences; however, black and white science majors were more similar than black and white students in the other two college major groups. It is suggested that knowledge about the characteristics of black scientists may be helpful in identifying prospective scientists. "

Authors: ML Clark and W Pearson, Jr.

This paper/data was presented 25 years ago. A whole generation ago. I wonder what new insights we have today?

Here is another paper, something more recent, that is also very interesting.
African American Women in Science: Experiences from High School through the Post-Secondary Years and Beyond by Sandra L. Hanson.


Anonymous said...

here is some more interesting news - Black students at predominantly white universities who have white roomates do better academically.

Villager said...

I hope you get a chance to make it to this conference. It is always impressive when a conference is SOLD OUT over a month in advance!

peace, Villager