Building Bridges – The Power of the Sisterhood is a two-day forum designed to advance all women in STEM professions via a multicultural, cross-disciplinary group strategy. This is an opportunity for accomplished women in STEM to critically examine their professional experiences and explore ally-building across racial-ethnic and cultural groups. The goals include creating a “virtual work group” to benchmark progress, define success and continue the conference’s work.
This gathering explores how White women can harness their individual skills, experiences, strengths and gifts into a collective effort with Black and brown women—an effort that will connect and empower the entire spectrum of STEM professions as a whole and help all women in STEM advocate for one another.
Chris Sahley is a professor and associate head in the department of biological sciences at Purdue University. She is Director for the ADVANCE-Purdue Center for Faculty Success and Special Advisor to the Provost for Gender Equity. The work the ADVANCE Purdue Center or Faculty Success is directed at institutional transformation through educational programs for faculty and administrators as well as policy development with a special focus on women of color in the academy. Dr. Sahley also is Co-PI on the NSF Big Ten Academic Alliance Cooperation AGEP Professional Advancement Initiative grant to bring more underrepresented minority postdoctoral scholars into faculty positions. Professor Sahley has been active as a scholar for more than 30 years. In that time, she has obtained numerous grants related to her research program and she has contributed more than 80 articles, reviews, and book chapters to the literature. Currently she is Co-Editor of the recently launched “Working Papers Series: Navigating Careers in the Academy: Gender, Race and Class” and also serves on several editorial boards and review panels for NSF and NIH.
Dr. Laura Bottomley is a Teaching Associate Professor in the Colleges of Engineer and Education at NC State University and the Director of Women in Engineering (WIE) and The Engineering Place (TEP) for K-20 Outreach. Under Bottomley, NC State’s Women in Engineering program is successfully boosting the number of women engineers in academia and industry. Dr. Bottomley has served on the National Assessment of Educational Progress assessment for engineering and technological literacy, various IEEE extension projects and with the National Academy of Engineering to guide the Implementation of K-12 Engineering.
Christiane Maertens has a palpable zest for life. For over 15 years, she has been building values-driven brands that create a positive impact around the world. At the Walt Disney Company, she pioneered the integration of STEM education throughout the enterprise. In 2017, she was named a National Geographic Explorer for hosting the original podcast Imagine If. At the NAAEE, Maertens built a professional team that facilitates the largest and most diverse environmental education network in the world.
Ann Merchant has worked in marketing and communications for more than 20 years and is currently the Deputy Executive Director for Communications at the National Academies in Washington, D.C. Her work at the Academies primarily revolves around planning a variety of science communications events and managing innovative outreach programs that, together, contribute to increased public understanding of science. With a special interest in promoting science, engineering, and medicine through non-traditional entertainment channels such as television, film, and video games, she was instrumental in launching the Science & Entertainment Exchange, a program of the National Academy of Sciences that seeks to connect entertainment industry professionals with top scientists and engineers. Merchant also served for many years as marketing director for the Academies’ publishing division where she and her staff promoted and marketed more than 175 new titles every year. During that time, she served as adjunct professor of marketing at George Washington University in the College of Professional Studies. She continues to work with the Academies’ publishing group, helping to bring visibility to the core work of the institution. In particular, she maintains relationships with publishers around the world in order to facilitate foreign language translations of Academies reports.
Beth earned a Bachelor of Science degree, a Master of Arts degree, and a Doctor of Philosophy from Kent State University. In 1989, she joined the physics department at Bucknell University as an assistant professor, attaining full professor in 2002. She was named associate dean of the faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences in 2000. In 2006, she was appointed as Provost, Dean of Faculty, and Professor of Physics at Illinois Wesleyan University. At AAPT since 2011, Beth provides leadership on a number of physics education initiatives including faculty and K-12 teacher professional development and diversity, equity, and inclusion in physics education.
Phelps is an integrated marketing specialist at the National 4-H Council, where is she responsible for developing and leading cohesive marketing strategies for partners. National 4-H Council works closely with youth to create positive learning environments in areas like health, science, agriculture, and citizenship.
Dr. McGrew is the Executive Vice Dean of the UNM School of Medicine and a professor in Family and Community Medicine at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine. She received her M.D. from Louisiana State University School of Medicine and completed her Family Medicine residency training there as well. Dr. McGrew completed a Faculty Development Fellowship at the University of California San Francisco Department of Family Medicine in 1988. She began her career on the faculty of Family Medicine at Michigan State University and joined the faculty of Family and Community Medicine at the UNMSOM in 1990. Dr. McGrew served as the FCM Clerkship Director, the FM Residency Director, the Vice Chair for Education, and Associate Chair before becoming the Chair of FCM in 2008. Dr. McGrew began as the EVD in 2015. Dr. McGrew’s clinical interest is Maternal Child Health and general Family Medicine. Academically, she has expertise in medical education and was the PI on four HRSA grants and has consulted internationally in medical education. She is active in leadership development. In her current role, she is responsible for the day-to-day operations of the School of Medicine. Dr. McGrew was selected for the prestigious Executive Leadership in Academic Medicine Fellowship. She has been Albuquerque’s Top Doc (Family Physician) and was recently selected as an Albuquerque Woman of Influence by Albuquerque Business Magazine.
Meet And Greet
(Take Your Shoes Off and Hug a Sister), Light Refreshments, followed by workshops
Broad topics to be explored during the workshop will include:
• What exactly is the power of sisterhood?
• How do we “ally-build” among racial, ethnic and cultural groupings?
• How can white women in STEM grow to understand themselves better, while recognizing and
acknowledging the nuances that impact their Black and brown counterparts differently?
• How do women experience STEM differently than men, particularly powerful White men?
• How have women overcome marginalization throughout history, especially in light of the
100th anniversary of women’s suffrage?
• Do you have any women of color as true friends?
The workshop will be followed by breakout sessions of smaller groups who will explore the topic, “What does White fragility mean to me?” Topics to be explored during small group sessions include (click for details):
• Sister or competitor?
• The myth of the “strong Black woman”
• What kind of power do we have, individually and collectively, to effect change in our circumstances?
• The psychology of attitudes and self-reflection
An expression of coming together into a new paradigm.
Catered by Something for Everyone