Inspiring Innovation Through Imagination:
Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Joan Ogwumike, Staff
The National Women’s History Project’s 2013 theme for Women’s History Month is: Inspiring, Innovation Through Imagination: Celebrating Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In consideration of this theme we are highlighting Purdue women who are doing great work in the above fields. Enjoy their interviews.
Dr. Zenephia Evans, Director of Multicultural Science Programs
What inspired you to be in this field?
I have always been fascinated with not just accepting things but wanting to understand the workings of the body and the world by asking - ‘Why?’ I vividly remember asking this question from the time that I was a little girl and my parents encouraging me to seek to find the answer if they could not answer my question. In my mind, this marked the beginning of my fascination with science. I had the inquisitive mind and I would sit back, observe the things around me and I wondered, ‘Why do we all have different skin tones, why do birds fly and dogs walk, why do cats meow and dogs bark and why we do have one nose and two eyes and two ears?’ My parents nurtured this interest by enrolling me in science and math programs in the community or at various colleges and universities which propelled me forward in science and I have never looked back. I enjoy the scientific process and the findings that are a result of this journey. I am able to look at my hand and not only see my fingers but to think about the blood flow, the muscle and bone make up, the various layers of the skin that serve as a barrier to the outside world, etc...
How can other females be in this field?
As the nature of the scientific arena is changing, it is imperative that science is being taught in all schools by well qualified and trained educators. Educators and parents need to ensure that the stigma of science being a male dominated field does not deter females from asking the why questions and designing the experiments to be able to formulate valid conclusions. All of us need to reinforce to young ladies that the scientific quest is open for anyone as long as you can dream, work hard and persevere.
Which campus programs are catered to women in your field?
While I have knowledge of many programs that are available on campus, I could not begin to adequately address and list all of the programs that focus on increasing the number of females in the scientific arena. Most programs monitor the number of females and then design and implement activities to aid in addressing the low numbers. The programs are catered at the elementary, middle school, high school, undergraduate or graduate level to increase the pipeline of females being actively engaged in the sciences. Strides are being made and it is important that we continue to move forward with due diligence.
Dr. Monica F. Cox, Associate Professor of Engineering Education
What inspired you to be in this field?
I obtained my undergraduate degree in mathematics from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and I had an opportunity to meet numerous women in science and mathematics who encouraged me to pursue graduate studies in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) field. The person who encouraged me to pursue a graduate degree in engineering was Dr. Etta Falconer, one of the first African-American women to obtain a Ph.D. in mathematics in the U.S. Like me, she was from a rural southern town, and she challenged me to push myself beyond the boundaries that I had set for myself. Because of her and my experiences conducting undergraduate research at Spelman, I gained the confidence to obtain my Master’s degree in industrial engineering at the University of Alabama and to engage in engineering education research.
How can other females get into the same field?
Females should seek diverse mentors. This includes males and people of other races and nationalities. In addition, women should think outside of the box about potential roles that they want to play within the field. It is important to seek out traditional and nontraditional opportunities, engineering opportunities such as internships and undergraduate research experiences. There are numerous engineering disciplines, so if someone does not like one area of engineering, try another. Creativity is at the core of engineering, so success requires persistence and being proactive.
What existing campus programs are tailored for women in this field?
We do have programs that serve women and women of color in engineering. Among these include the Women in Engineering Program and the Minority Engineering Program. Although these formal programs exist, women faculty within the College of Engineering who serve as role models and create classroom environments that welcome women. Women need to seek these faculty members out and ask them about their college experiences and how they might succeed. There is a strong preschool to 12th grade (P-12) focus across multiple colleges at Purdue. Parents and students should explore the web sites for each College to identify programs that might engage high school students during the summer and during the academic year.
Dr. Antonia Munguia, Director of Technology Diversity
What inspired you to be in the field of technology?
I am the diversity director for the College of Technology. We have seven departments, which include Aviation Technology, Building Construction Management, Computer Graphics Technology, Computer and Information Technology, Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Technology Leadership and Innovation. I am responsible for outreach, recruitment and retention initiatives for women and other underrepresented students. Every day is different; I enjoy sharing the world of technology with students. I want to see our students succeed and if I have a little hand in that, I have done my job. The possibilities are endless in technology. Our students are finding jobs and progressing towards their dreams.
How can other females get into the same field?
There are lots of choices in technology, and many areas where women can be successful. If they enjoy solving problems, and working on teams, learn best through hands –on experiences, have an aptitude for science and math, welcome opportunities to try new technologies and want to gain skills to help them manage both people and projects, Technology is for them.
What existing campus programs are tailored for women in this field?
The College of Technology has several programs to help women succeed and acclimate to the college. We have a Women in Technology learning community for freshman students; it is a living and learning community. In class they learn skills and strategies needed to succeed in technology careers. They also discover the ways in which women balance their professional and personal lives, discuss gender differences and how to better communicate with male classmates, and work to create their own personal brand. They also meet with successful female alums from the College of Technology. We also sponsor four student organizations which focus on women. They are Women in Aviation (WIA), Women in Construction Management ( WICM), Female Recruiting Retention Initiative (FRRI) and Women in Technology (WIT).
The college has several programs in place to recruit young high school women into Technology. All programs introduce the students to the possibilities in Technology. They include:
- TAGS (Technology Advances Girls Scouts) Program, a program for 6th -8th graders where we collaborate with the Girls Scouts of America
- TEAM (Technology Expanding All Minds) summer camp for high schools females
- WOWiT (Window of Opportunity for Women in Technology), where we collaborate with Project Lead the Way classrooms
- SPIRIT (Surprising Possibilities Imagined & Realized through Information Technology) summer program targeting high school females
- DOiT (Discovering Opportunities in Technology) program targeting 11th grade females to attend and visit with the college for three days to learn more about technology.
Black Voices of Inspiration Spring Concert
Loretta Davidson, Staff
Our very own Black Voices of Inspiration (BVOI) will be featured in their annual spring concert on March 23, 2013 @ 7:00 p.m. in Loeb Playhouse, Stewart Center. Established in 1973, this concert is a celebration of 40 years of remarkable performances. The ensemble is under the direction of the Black Cultural Center’s full time Artist- In-Residence, Dr. Twana A. Harris. Harris with her many years of experience as a music educator, composer, musician and vocalist has cultivated a diverse group of talented individuals eager to showcase their work.
Doniece Leshore, a first semester junior and third semester member of BVOI describes preparing for the show this way,
“I look forward to having an opportunity to touch people’s hearts through song and hopefully allowing them to see things differently than before. Personally, it means a lot to me to be able to give my time to an ensemble that betters me and allows me to inspire others by singing. There’s really not a theme but as a group of talented singers we all have a purpose, and our purpose is to sing our hearts out and in the process of doing so, if we can, try to bring joy to or uplift others. I think people will really love the show and realize that it’s okay to be expressive and praise God. The show is going to be great! Everyone should definitely come support all of the lovely people who will be playing, singing, and directing. We will not let you down!”
Tickets are available at Loeb box office. Costs are $5 for Purdue students and $7 for the general public.
Student Body Speaks: Purdue Students in Washington, D.C. For Inaugural Events....
Loretta Davidson, Staff
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion sponsored a trip to Washington, D.C. for 24 Purdue students during inauguration weekend which also coincided with the Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday. Over 100 students applied for the opportunity to join the trip. Below enjoy some quotes from several students and a personal reflection about the trip.
Personal Reflection, Cameryn Dennis:
“The most inspiring part of our trip to Washington, D.C. was definitely being able to come together with so many other leaders and potential leaders on campus and kind of vibe with them and have intellectual discussions about our views of Purdue and how we define diversity on campus and how we plan to make campus a more inclusive place. While it was awesome being in DC during the inauguration it was even more amazing to be with so many people that, like me, had so much to say about inclusion on our campus and how it can be improved, and then figure out what steps we would have to take next to make our goals a reality.
I learned a lot about not only diversity from a color standpoint, because we always hear the black vs. white argument, but also from other socially excluded groups that simply don’t come to mind as often as they had before. We learned about woman’s suffrage and the battle to gain the right to vote, the discrimination that women went through and we learned about the human rights campaign fighting for gays, lesbians, queers and transgender people. At first I looked at the trip as a way to connect with other diverse leaders and go to Washington, D.C. and have a great time, which did happen, but so much more than that also transpired during that long weekend. We built friendships and connections that will last and we had discussions that will pave the way to take action on this campus sooner than later to make it more inclusive. We showed each other that none of us are alone and that we all have something in common. Seeing all of the museums and organizations and sights in DC really sparked a sense of need in us all to take action and make a change.”
“I developed empathy throughout the course of the trip. I can relate more to others and their cultures now that I know more about them. I can easily put myself into their shoes, and was doing this a lot over the course of the trip, and experienced a wide range of emotions. I wish there was more time so I could learn more about all of the underrepresented populations!”
“Even when we weren’t in formal discussion settings I had the chance to have genuine, meaningful conversations about race and diversity with my peers. It was just as enriching as going to the museums and learning there, if not more, because we are all so closely connected.”
“I really appreciated the opportunity to converse with my fellow students and share my story on the bus ride there, and back. I felt as though they knew my background better, and that they could relate to me on a personal level. I also thought we were engaged in a very encompassing, change-making conversation. We spoke of a variety of different things, and we addressed all that we could. I even got a chance to throw collaboration ideas out there!”
Focus on the Media
Celebration and Sorrow Across Movements Hip Hop’s Inheritance
Joan Ogwumike, Staff
In Hip Hop’s Inheritance: From the Harlem Renaissance to the Hip Hop Feminist Movement by Reiland Rabaka the text begins by discussing how the evolution of Hip Hop ties into African American identities and experiences. Rabaka’s premise states that “Hip Hop’s Inheritance seeks to analyze and criticize what the hip hop generation has literally, inherited from previous generations of African American and allied others: from blackface minstrel and black women’s club movements to the New Negro movement and Harlem Renaissance, from the Civil Rights and Black Power movements to the Black Arts and Feminist Art movements. Moreover, Hip Hop’s Inheritance will also be concerned with what the hip hop generation has not inherited” (3). With this, readers can attest what the book could uncover, or continue to read and realize that Rabaka is really focused on what is happening in the genre that has grown positively and negatively within the African American community.
The book does not eclipse the fact that the Hip Hop world is made up of Dj-ing, break dancing, beat-boxing, and the art of graffiti: it is a culture. Rabaka reminds readers that Hip Hop is more than just rap music, but a culture significantly inherited from different movements.
Within the book, he quotes other Hip Hop writers and their theories. By doing so he conceptualizes his points and broadens them with other sources. In addition to the context, Hip Hop’s Inheritance is stylistically written in first person, and will be appreciated by readers.
Rabaka concludes the text with his outlook on how the modern-day Hip Hop generation has used its cultural inheritance from the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Arts movement, and the Feminist Art movement. He covers the aesthetics of today’s Hip Hop, and the pluralistic images being sold to generations.
This is a book for lovers of Hip Hop, history, good literature, and overall an interest in understanding music. Therefore, I recommend this book because it makes connections that entice readers to reflect on whether or not they support the arguments made.
Dr. Reiland Rabaka will be at Purdue on Wednesday March 20th in Stewart Center room 214 at 7 p.m. The topic of his presentation is “The Hip Hop Women’s Movement: From R&B Divas and the Sisters of the Civil Rights Movement to Female Rappers in the Hip Hop Movement.” We hope to see you there.
Mark Anthony Neal and Kevin Wilmott will be keynote speakers for the 38th Annual American Studies Symposium at Purdue,April 17-19, 2013.
France A. Cordova CoRec: Something for Everyone
Michael Sullivan, Staff
The France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center, commonly referred to as the CoRec, utilizes every foot of its 300,000+ square feet. The new CoRec has been opening sections since October 2012. The CoRec most recently opened the kitchen area, where they will soon offer cooking classes. Only the recreational pool remains unopened. Members can find a plethora of workout activities throughout the 5 levels of the CoRec.
On the Basement level, members can find the largest and most used workout area, Colby Fitness. A wide variety of weight lifting and cardio machines stretch across Colby Fitness in rows. More cardio and weight lifting machines can be found in secluded areas facing the vaulted windows on the first and second levels, providing a calmer environment for workouts. Adjacent to Colby Fitness, East Fitness offers many types of free-weights. Within East Fitness, people can access the bouldering wall as well as the rock climbing wall. The bouldering wall is open during regular hours, and users can access it anytime with no prior experience or appointments. The rock climbing wall, towering 55 feet over the basement and into the first level, is open from 4pm to 10:30pm. Climbers need to schedule an appointment to use it, but climbers can usually make a same day appointment. The wall is free to use, and they also offer free belaying classes. Belaying is the term used for the series of ropes and pulleys that prevent you from falling to your peril when you let go of the wall. Rock climbing, cardio machines, and weight lifting fill only a small portion of the list of activities you can do at the CoRec.
The CoRec has dozens of rooms scattered throughout the floors reserved for specific sports and activities. 16 racquetball courts occupy the basement and second levels. Seven multipurpose rooms span three different levels. These rooms are used for table tennis, club workouts, dance studios, and, well, other multiple uses. Members can find a sauna in both the women’s and men’s locker rooms as well as a co-ed sauna on the first level. The lower gym hosts games of badminton and volleyball on three courts. Two indoor tracks run through the third and fourth levels. The Multi-Activity Court can hold roller hockey games and indoor soccer matches. The new CoRec also houses ten basketball courts. Six are distributed through the Black and Gold Gym, three in the Upper Gym, and one in the Feature Gym. The Feature Gym is painted to represent the court in Mackey Arena. The cost of playing the sports is just the price of the ball, excluding basketball. The balls cost from 25 cents to 2 dollars. You can choose from even more options if you are willing to pay extra.
Full time students do not need to pay to use the CoRec; however, some programs offered require a fee. During regular business hours, The Wellness Suite takes appointments for massages. For students, a thirty minute massage costs 35 dollars, 45 dollars for an hour massage, and 60 dollars for an hour and a half massage. The CoRec also provides GroupX courses such as Zumba, Punk Rope, and Power Step for an additional charge. The cycling studio also offers classes. Private trainers are available for hire.
The new CoRec fills its massive space with a massive number of options to choose from for your workout. Even exploring the CoRec itself can offer you a mild workout due to all of the walking. The only thing the CoRec doesn’t offer is an excuse not to workout. The CoRec is open from 5:30am to midnight Monday through Friday, 8am to 12am on Saturday, and 10am to 12am on Sunday. If you want to apply for a job at the CoRec, visit www.purdue.edu/recsports and click on the “Employment” tab.
St. Louis Tour
The BCC sponsored a “Discovering African American St. Louis tour.”In conjunction with this trip we also conducted an essay contest where we received more than 70 entries. The theme of the essay contest was “Food is a Family Affair.” The winners: Ari Kennedy (kindergarten), Kai Barrett-Taylor (5th gr.), Katelyn Miller (8th gr.), and Alexis Porter (10th gr.) traveled with us as a result of their wining essays. One of the highlights of the trip was dining at Sweetie Pies, which is featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network. The film crew was there filming for the next season. Look for air dates in a future newsletter and on our website.
Black Thought Collective Symposium
Michael Sullivan, Staff
Every year The Black Thought Collective chooses a topic to analyze from the black perspective. The Black Thought Collective has chosen the topic of “Black Detroit” this year. Throughout the school year, members of the Black Thought Collective have researched a wide variety of issues concerning black Detroit. The issues researched include, but are not limited to, Housing, Education, Culture, and the Underground Railroad in Detroit.
The research about these topics will be displayed at the BTC spring symposium on March 27 at 2pm in the BCC. The symposium includes PowerPoint presentations as well as readings from essays about several aspects of the history of black Detroit. After the presentations the symposium will break into informal discussions where audience members can comment on what they have heard. The Black Thought Collective highly encourages participants to speak out and express their ideas and beliefs. This allows participants to questions sources, express their own ideas, and agree as well as disagree with the speakers.
A highlight for BTC was the opportunity to present their research in a roundtable panel during the 37th Annual National Council for Black Studies Conference held in Indianapolis in March. BTC members Kadari Taylor-Watson, Schane Coker, Daphne Penn, and Stephanie Wilson made up the panel under the leadership of Scholar-In-Residence, Casarae Gibson.
If you are interested in getting more involved with the Black Thought Collective, they hold meetings every Wednesday from 6:00 - 9:00pm in the Black Cultural Center’s conference room. The Black Thought Collective encourages all people who may have an interest in black history, culture or thought to join the group.