Scientists to Describe Racial Inequality in Science

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A panel of academics in the early stages of their science careers will share their experiences as science scholars of color at a forum and panel discussion to be held on the UW Tacoma campus on April 22, 2014, from 5 – 7 p.m. in William W. Philip Hall.

The event is called “Science Scholars of Color: A Critical Earth Day Panel” and is hosted by the new Doctorate in Educational Leadership Program. The evening is co-sponsored by UW’s Graduate School and the Graduate Opportunities and Minority Achievement Program (GO-MAP).

The panelists will talk about their own scholarly work, share strategies required for success in predominantly white institutions and science fields, and outline ideas for overcoming barriers based on race. Participants will advocate for new approaches to STEM-focused recruitment and retention programs throughout the educational system. (STEM is a frequently-used acronym for science, technology, engineering and math areas of study.)

Moderator – Julia Aguirre, Ph.D.
Currently: Associate Professor of Education at UW Tacoma
Education: Bachelor’s degree in psychology from University of California Berkeley; master’s degree in education from University of Chicago; Ph.D. in education from University of California Berkeley.
Work: Mathematics teaching and learning, teacher education, culturally-responsive mathematics instruction.

Panelist – Andreas Chavez, Ph.D.
Currently: Postdoctoral Scientist, Department of Biology, University of Washington (National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow and University of California Presidential Fellow at University of California Berkeley beginning summer 2014)
Education: Bachelor’s degree in integrative biology, University of California Berkeley; master’s degree in wildlife ecology, Utah State University; Ph.D. in biology, UW
Work: Studies the evolutionary and ecological processes that affect diversification in nature.

Panelist – Ximena Cid, Ph.D.          
Currently: Post-doctoral research associate, Department of Physics, University of Washington
Education: Bachelor’s degree in astrophysics from University of California Berkeley; master’s and Ph.D. in physics from University of Texas.
Work: Researches how visual/spatial cognition impacts the learning process for abstract ideas in physics and space sciences.

Panelist – Jaquan Horton, M.S. Ph.C.
Currently: Ph.D. candidate at UW Department of Biology
Education: Bachelor’s degree from University of Massachusetts Amherst; master’s degree from University of California Irvine.
Work: Material properties of biological tissues

Panelist – Michelle Montgomery, Ph.D.
Currently: Native American Education, UW Tacoma Office of Equity and Diversity
Education: Bachelor’s degree in biology from North Carolina Ag & Tech State University; master of plant pathology from North Carolina State University; master of arts in bioethics from UW; Ph.D. in language, literacy and sociological studies from University of New Mexico
Work: Critical race theory, responsive justice, indigenous cultural autonomy and identity politics, bioethics related to sociocultural and environmental health disparities within American Indian/Alaska Native communities.

Each of the panelists will bring their own perspectives on the role of race in science endeavors, but this discussion is being held in the context of a growing awareness of racial disparities in the U.S. halls of science. In 2011, for example, the New York Times reported that “[a] research grant application from a black scientist to the National Institutes of Health is markedly less likely to win approval than one from a white scientist…”

And on April 11 of this year, the Christian Science Monitor asked the question “Why aren’t there more black scientists?” The story reported on the 115th birthday of Percy Lavon Julian, honored with a Google Doodle.

As the nation continues its focus on math and science, particularly in K-12 schools, critical voices from some of the few scientists of color can illuminate ways of breaking still-existing barriers.

What: The Leadership Forum – Science Scholars of Color: A Critical Earth Day Panel
When: Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 5 -7 p.m.
Where: William W. Philip Hall, UW Tacoma campus
Cost: FREE, but registration is required

April 16, 2014
Media contact: 

John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or