College of Life Sciences to host event for women


The College of Life Sciences is holding its second annual She is a Scientist workshop and dinner on Feb. 5. 

The event is designed to help female juniors in the college discover and pursue their educational and professional goals.

“She is a Scientist is simply aimed to help women see possible paths and opportunities for navigating the complexities of balancing career and family life,” said Suzanne Hyland, member of the Life Sciences Advisory Council that organized the event.

Hyland will be the speaker for the “Trust Your Voice” session. In her session, Hyland hopes to help women find greater opportunities through confidence in their achievements. “Women are often hesitant to tout their own accomplishments, yet promoting and advocating for one’s self is a vital skill to achieve educational and professional goals,” she said.

The number of women pursuing degrees in science has doubled since 1967 according to a study published by the American Physical Society. In fact, of the approximate 5,000 students in the College of Life Sciences, over 50% are female said Dean James Porter.

A study published by the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System and American Physical Society illustrates bachelor’s degrees earned by women compared to men in the United States from 1967 to 2017. (Erika Magaoay)

Though the number of female BYU life science students is high, only 15% of BYU life science faculty are female said Porter.

“What we learned from a survey is that the female students often want to go to a female professor for informal type advising,” he said. “That just underscores the need for us to work to get more female faculty.”

Porter hopes that those attending the event feel that there’s support from faculty and from fellow students to help them succeed in reaching their goals. “We hope that they develop a greater confidence in their ability to do the things that they want to do,” he said.

Last year 95% of attendees reported that the event met their expectations well or very well said life sciences professor Jamie Jensen, who compiled survey results of the event. “Eighty-five percent of respondents said they were extremely likely to recommend the event to other female students,” she said.

She is a Scientist attendees can look forward to breakout sessions based on topics that students voted for last semester. The session topics are “She is a Scientist for Life,” “She is a Scientist at Work,” “She is a Professor: A Sacred Calling to Inspire Minds and Hearts” and “Unconscious Bias: Influence the Conversation for Greater Equality.” Attendees can choose to attend two sessions. 

Around 100 people are expected to attend College of Life Sciences Communications Manager Tonya Fischio said.

Student Sarah Koger said she’s attending the event to be inspired and to strengthen her support system of women in the College of Life Sciences. “I’m excited to hear from female mentors about how they have succeeded in their many roles as professors, researchers, parents and more,” she said. 

The event will run from 6-8:30 p.m. in 3228 WSC. Walk-ins are welcome. More information can be found on the College of Life Sciences website.

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