Sexism in the sciences and the history of female scientists who persevered against prejudice and professional jealousy were the topics on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.
Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Judith Iriarte-Gross of MTSU’s Department of Chemistry first aired June 26 on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and online at www.wmot.org. You can listen to their conversation above.
Iriarte-Gross will revive a class titled “Symposium in Women’s Studies: Women and Science” this fall semester. It will discuss women’s contributions to various scientific fields and explore the past and current workplace climate, including stereotypes, bias and sexual harassment.
The professor recalled what she learned from speakers at a symposium at the American Chemical Society’s national meeting this past March in New Orleans.
“A woman chemist said to me, ‘It never occurred to me that I wouldn’t be safe at a conference with other chemists,’” Iriarte-Gross said.
“Another said that the shame of being involved in a harassment situation is quite overwhelming. You don’t want anybody to know because you think that they will wonder, ‘How can a smart woman ever get into a situation like that?’”
Iriarte-Gross, an nationally recognized chemist and mentor, is an American Chemistry Society Fellow. She also serves as director of MTSU’s Women in STEM Center, which focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education; faculty adviser for Women in Science and Engineering; and creator of Tennessee’s first “Expanding Your Horizons” conference and Girls Raised in Tennessee Science, or GRITS, workshops that provide girls with more STEM education and career awareness.
The Tennessee Science Teachers Association named Iriarte-Gross as its Science Educator of the Year in Higher Education in 2015, and the Nashville Business Journal chose her as a Woman of Influence that same year.
She also received the Athena International Leadership Award in 2014 and the MTSU President’s Silver Column Award in 2013. The latter is the highest honor bestowed upon an MTSU faculty or staff member by university President Sidney A. McPhee, saluting “employees who go above and beyond the call of duty.”
To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.
For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.