Welcoming Women

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AGU “Women in Science” Mixer

American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

December 3, 2012 to December 7, 2012

San Francisco, California


Lois Smith

SPS Chapter:

On Thursday evening more than 75 women squeezed into a room meant for 30 people to discuss, well, being a woman in science. My experiences at this event—and the rest of the conference—affirmed my belief I can do anything, regardless of my gender, and reminded me that there’s an international support network of female scientists out there.

A graduate student in geophysics from the University of South Carolina gave me and an undergraduate from Columbia University terrific advice on graduate school. She spoke with us frankly, as if we were friends. In a conference as large as AGU, where you talk to complete strangers only for a few minutes, that kind of personal connection can be hard to find.

At the “Women in Science” mixer, AGU president Carol Finn and president-elect Margaret Leinen talked about how the number of women entering leadership positions in science organizations or becoming tenured faculty is on the rise. Most of AGU’s council members this coming year are, in fact, female. One of my favorite conversations was one I had with Jenny Riker, the student representative on the AGU Council for the coming year. We talked about things that are not often discussed openly in many physics departments, such as when is the best time to have children in the life of a researcher.

As a young female scientist, I got the message “You should be here” at the AGU meeting. If this message can resonate throughout the rest of the science community and our school system, the future will be very bright for science. //

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