Women, Gender and Science is topic of Women’s Studies conference

NEW PALTZ — The Women’s Studies Program at the State University of New York at New Paltz will host a one-day conference that will examine the ways gender relations affect the world of science. The conference, titled “Women, Gender and Science,” will take place on Saturday, Oct. 22, and is open to the public.

This year’s conference topic was recently highlighted by the controversy surrounding the comments of Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard University, that suggested the under-representation of women in scientific careers might be rooted in genetics. The conference will examine the wide range of social and cultural factors contributing to the under-representation of women in the sciences. Discussions will focus on the many challenges, as well as the opportunities, facing girls and women in science.

The keynote speaker for the conference will be Evelyn Fox Keller, professor of history and philosophy of science in the Program in Science, Technology and Society at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Keller is a widely published feminist scientist who has done extensive work in physics, mathematical biology and the history of science.

The day will include panel discussions with women scientists and educators, as well as workshops for teachers and students of the sciences. There will be 16 workshops addressing a variety of topics, including: “Women and Big Science”; “Teaching and Learning Science in High School”; and “Genes and Gender.” A special feature of the conference is a workshop, “Science for Girls,” designed for children, ages 7-12.

In the evening, performer Jane Curry will put on her one-woman show, titled “Miz Wizard’s Science Secrets.” In her presentation, Curry tells stories of women’s contributions to science, engineering, invention and math, in addition to the obstacles faced and overcome by women whose passion is discovery. Curry is an author, storyteller and performer with a knack for provoking both thought and laughter with her woman-centered shows.

Deadline for registration is Oct. 12. You must pre-register for lunch, child care and the Science for Girls workshop. Conference facilities are wheelchair accessible. Call (845) 257-2975 if you use a wheelchair or have other accessibility needs.

For a complete list of programs or more information, call the Women’s Studies Department at (845) 257-2975 or visit www.newpaltz.edu/wmnstudies. For registration information, contact (845) 257-3033.