NSF Funds Conference on Two Generations of Research

02/22/2006
By For more information, contact media@uml.edu or 978-934-3224

LOWELL ߝ The Center for Women and Work (CWW) at UMass Lowell has received a two-year, $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to organize, conduct and publish proceedings of an innovative conference scheduled for June, 2007. The conference will focus on two generations of research conducted on work environments for women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Participants in the conference will be drawn from two cohorts who have conducted research on women’s success in STEM fields: scholars whose research emerged in the 1960s and 1970s and younger scholars who began their work in the 1990s.  The conference is intended to foster intergenerational, interdisciplinary dialogue on this area of scholarship, comparing research themes, evaluating findings and developing a set of potential research questions to guide future work.

"With this funding, UMass Lowell will be able to take a firsthand look at the challenge America faces of attracting a diverse, talented workforce to careers in science and engineering," said Congressman Marty Meehan. "This conference will develop an innovative way to analyze and further address the evolving challenges faced by women in this industry."

Principal investigator for the grant is Dr. Paula Rayman, professor, Regional Economic and Social Development Department and CWW senior associate. Co-Principal Investigator is Dr. Meg Bond, professor, Psychology Department and director of CWW. Maria Brunette, adjunct professor, Work Environment Department and a CWW associate will serve as a consultant to the project. Christina Bermingham is project manager for Working WISE.

“At this critical economic time in our nation’s history, we need to invest in all the talent we can to stay competitive in science and technology. Women have traditionally been under represented in STEM fields,” says Rayman. “This gathering will give us the chance to compare and contrast research themes and findings over time and to see if the under-representation may have changed and why or why not.

“This project also provides a great opportunity to address another challenge we face nationally ߝ bridging the hard sciences with social sciences,” Rayman continues. The conference will look at research primarily conducted by social scientists about science and technology. We will be able to identify new ways for these two investigative communities to advance our common understanding.”

The conference planning process will include the review and selection of participants and research themes, but project leaders anticipate that conference themes might include gender role socialization and stereotyping, isolation and forms of discrimination faced by individual women, a work culture in conflict with work-family patterns most often adopted by working women, and workplace policies and the organization of work.

The Center for Women and Work is an innovative center devoted to addressing the gendered conditions of work. The Center has a significant history of supporting research on women in science and technology and already brings a multi-generational and interdisciplinary approach to the study of women and work.

UMass Lowell, a comprehensive university with special expertise in applied science and technology, is committed to educating students for lifelong success and conducting research and outreach activities that sustain the economic, environmental and social health of the region. UML offers its 11,000 undergraduate and graduate students more than 80 degree programs in the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Engineering and Management; and in the School of Health and Environment and the Graduate School of Education.  Visit the website at www.uml.edu.

For project information, contact Christina Bermingham, 978-934-2727, christina_bermingham@uml.edu