Women’s Health Research Day Winners

Congratulations to the 2015 Abstract and Poster winners!  Thank you everyone for your participation.

Abstract Winners ($200 each)

Undergraduate Student:  Kiran Malhotra

Graduate Student:  Pooja Solanski

Poster Winners ($200 each)

Undergraduate Student:  Safia Farid for “Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Markers Following Islet Cell Transplantation in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes”

Graduate Student: Vida Henderson for “Understanding Factors Associated with Postpartum Visit Attendance and Contraception Choices”

Faculty/Fellow/Staff:  Laura Laursen for “Perspectives on long acting reversible contraception in school based health centers”

2015 Dan Award Call for Proposals

Call for Proposals: 2015 Alice J. Dan Dissertation Research Award

The 14th Annual Alice J. Dan Dissertation Research Award encourages original and significant research about sex, gender and/or women by UIC doctoral students. The award is open to UIC doctoral students in any field who have completed the requirements for candidacy and have an approved dissertation proposal by the application deadline. Award(s) will range from $500-$1,000.

To apply for the award, please submit:

  1. Cover Letter:
    • A cover letter addressed to the “Dan Award Review Committee.” The cover letter should include the title of the proposal, the applicant’s contact information (email, phone, and address), and the name of the applicant’s advisor. In addition, the cover letter should briefly address the following questions:
      • How has your academic training prepared you to accomplish the proposed research?
      • How will receiving the Dan Award, which typically ranges from $500 to $1000, award help you in your research?
  1. Award Application:
    • Award applications should be no more than 5 double-spaced pages. Please use 1-inch margins and a standard 12-point font (e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, etc.)
    • Applications must include:
      • Summary of research (200 words or less)
      • Significance of research for women and/or gender
      • Research methods
      • Progress to date
      • Timetable for completion
      • Budget
      • Bibliography/References cited (reference list does not count towards the 5-page limit)
  1. Additional Supporting Materials:
  • Two letters of reference (one from dissertation advisor documenting approval of dissertation research). Reference letters may be sent separately.

Review criteria include: potential for contribution to research on women and/or gender, originality and significance to the major field, research methodology, academic preparation and ability to accomplish the work, feasibility of timetable for completion, feasibility of budget.

Complete applications should be submitted in PDF format and e-mailed to Kris Zimmermann at kzimme3@uic.edu.

The submission deadline is Monday, June 1, 2015. Winners will be announced in July 2015.

For more information contact Kris Zimmermann at (312) 413-4251 or kzimme3@uic.edu. Visit the Dan Dissertation Award web page at http://crwg.uic.edu/crwg-home/dan-dissertation-award/ to view past awardees.

2nd Annual Women’s Health Research Day Call for Abstracts

The UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender/National Center of Excellence in Women’s Health, in partnership with the UIC BIRCWH (Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women’s Health) program and other local groups, sponsors our 2nd annual Women’s Health Research Day to promote research and advance understanding of new developments in women’s health. This half-day event provides an opportunity for faculty, fellows, and students to network and to showcase their research through poster and oral presentations.

When: Tuesday, April 21, 2015, 9:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Where: Thompson Room, Student Center West, 828 S. Wolcott Ave, University of Illinois at Chicago

Call for Abstracts (Abstract deadline: Monday, March 23, 2015): Students, fellows, staff, and faculty are invited present a poster on women’s health or sex differences research. For abstract guidelines and to submit an abstract, visit: https://uofi.uic.edu/fb/sec/5481083. The top two abstracts will be invited to present 15-minute oral presentations. Cash prizes will be awarded for top abstracts and top posters.

Keynote Lecture: “Women Living with HIV,” featuring Monica Gandhi, MD, MPH,Professor of Medicine in the Division of HIV/AIDS,University of California, San Francisco

Monica Gandhi MD, MPH is a Professor of Medicine in the Division of HIV/AIDS at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and the Medical Director of the HIV/AIDS Clinic (“Ward 86″) at San Francisco General Hospital. Past research efforts focused on HIV/AIDS in U.S. women through the Women’s Interagency HIV Study (WIHS), a multisite, prospective cohort study established in 1994 to study the natural history, clinical and laboratory findings of HIV in women. Currently, she is investigating low-cost solutions to measuring antiretroviral levels in resource-poor settings, such as determining drug levels in hair samples. Dr. Gandhi also leads multiple HIV education and mentorship programs at UCSF. She is the principal investigator of an R24 mentoring grant from the NIH focused on nurturing early career investigators of diversity in HIV research and the Associate Director for the Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) Mentoring Program.

Registration: Advance registration required. Registration coming soon!

For more information, please contact Kris Zimmermann at kzimme3@uic.edu or 312.413.4251.

New! WISE Graduate Student Research Award

WISE is proud to announce a new award. The WISE Graduate Student Research Award will recognize one outstanding woman graduate student in science, technology, engineering or mathematics. The award will be presented at the annual WISE End of the Year Dinner (Tuesday, April 14, 2015) and come with a small monetary award and one-year membership to a professional organization.

Requirements for the award include:

1. Must be a current graduate student at UIC in any science, technology, engineering or mathematics field;

2. Must have presented at a professional meeting and/or have a paper published or  in press between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015;

3. Must provide evidence as to how student’s work adds to her field of study;

4. Application (see below) must be filled out in full. Self-nominations are expected (step up, WISE women!), but nominations from research advisors and others are gratefully accepted;

5. Deadline is March 18, 2015 at 5 PM.

WISE Graduate Research Award

  • Please list any papers and/or presentations this student will have completed between July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2015
  • Accepted file types: pdf.

Former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford’s paper inspires Society of American Archaeology to implement sexual harassment initiatives

The President of the Society of American Archaeology (SAA) sent an email to their entire membership about the sexual harassment initiatives that were inspired by the SAFE study written by former BIRCWH scholar Julienne Rutherford and colleagues:

Here is an excerpt from the email:

“…SAA initiated three actions. First, The Board of Directors directed the Ethics Committee to consider sexual harassment of all kinds in the current revisions to the SAA ethics principles. This review is underway. Second, the Board of Directors passed a motion requiring organizations sponsoring SAA fieldschool scholarships to have written policies and procedures relating the sexual harassment. All such scholarships now have these stipulations. Third, as a sponsoring organization, SAA requested that the Register of Professional Archaeologists issue a statement regarding a RPA’s obligations with regards to eliminating sexual harassment in archaeological settings. I am pleased to announce that the Register has completed its statement, which is included below. The President and Board will keep you posted as the Ethics Committee works on this, and other matters come to fruition later this year.”

WISE Girls Who Code featured in UIC News

This past fall, our Women in Science and Engineering program began a chapter of Girls Who Code, a national organization with a mission to provide computer science education and exposure to girls. Our Girls Who Code program was recently featured in UIC News.  Read more at: http://news.uic.edu/girls-who-code

CRWG Director Presents on Global Maternal Health Research

On January 14, 2015, CRWG Director Stacie Geller presented her research at UIC’s sixth Campus Insights presentation. This year’s theme was UIC: Research and Innovation on a Global Scale. The presentations used the art of imagery and words to provide insights into the purpose of research at UIC: to apply new knowledge to the real world and make a difference. Dr. Geller’s presentation was captured on video, and is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZZew2we5ut0&list=PLmq5H6mJIf-JhHDP4FrOsQndCu8hIQJQk&index=6

BIRCWH Program Accepting Applications For Scholar Position

The BIRCWH Program is currently accepting applications for one scholar position to begin on April 1st, 2015.  Applications are due by February 13th, 2015.

Please visit our Scholar Application page if interested in applying and for more detailed information.

Moving Beyond “That” Feminist

By Veronica Arreola & Julienne Rutherford
From CRWG’s Fall 2014 Newsletter, Building Research Connections

Take a look at media reports of why women opt out of science and engineering careers and you will find a list of reasons such as personal choice, lack of LEGOs as a kid, and a desire for better work-family balance. However, one thing rarely on that list is sexual harassment. Over  the  summer,  former  BIRCWH  fellow  Julienne  Rutherford  and  her  colleagues,  Drs. Kathryn B. H. Clancy, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Robin Nelson, Skidmore College; and Katie Hinde, Harvard University, published a paper in PLoS ONE based on a survey  of  666  scientists  whose  work  requires  them  to  be  in  the  field,  and  found  an astounding two-thirds had experienced some form of sexual harassment, including 20% who were  assaulted . This shocking finding resulted in an avalanche of press hits ranging from The New York Times to Truthout, including:

The findings were not only quantitatively different between men and women respondents, but qualitatively different as well. The majority of men reported experiencing harassment from their peers, while the majority of women reported becoming the target of harassment and assault from their superiors in the field. – Candice Bernd in  Truthout, July 29, 2014


A major step in decreasing these occurrences is shifting cultural awareness. Campus assault doesn’t only happen in house parties or dorm rooms—it can also take place anywhere. The foremost goal is to communicate to predators not to sexually harass, assault and rape, but beyond that, a great course of action is to collectively push for straightforward sexual harassment policies in the workplace. – Claire Hannum at The Frisky, July 17, 2014


Psychologist Rebecca Campbell, who studies the effect of sexual harassment on communities, says that while all workplace harassment is harmful, it can be particularly  damaging  when  coming  from  a  superior.  She  also  says  these findings  should  be  incorporated  into  the  broader  discussion  about  campus sexual harassment and violence. – Kara Manke at NPR.org, July 17, 2014


Whether harassment or discrimination takes place at a field site in Costa Rica or in a conference room, the problem will not be solved with new rules archived on unread websites. The responsibility for pushing back should not rest solely with the victims. Solutions require a change of culture that can happen only from within. – Christie  Aschwanden  in  The  New  York  Times,  Aug  11,  2014

So far on Twitter, the combined reach of the paper has approached 2 million users, and the paper has been viewed on the PLoS ONE website nearly 48,000 times. California Rep. Jackie Spearer cited the study extensively in her letter to the American Association for the Advancement    of    Science   (AAAS)  [PDF LINK]  about its use of sexualized and dehumanized images of transsexual sex workers on the cover of Science. The Twitter hashtag, #Safe13, is being used to connect women and men concerned about sexual harassment and assault in the sciences. It has become one of the more prominent emblems of gender equity on Twitter. Clearly this issue is of great importance to people outside of academia. Alas, while some academic media outlets have run op-eds that cite the report, none have reported on the survey itself.

Dr. Rutherford thinks few academic outlets are reporting on the survey because academics themselves are still processing the results. We reflected on the issue of romance in the lab, and professors dating students. During our training as students, we both knew of fellow students who dated professors. How much consent can any student give to a professor in their field, especially given how small subfields can get, and how a bad breakup can have an impact  on  professional  standing?  Dr.  Rutherford  said  she  was  spending  a  lot  of  time reflecting on her own experience as a student, and felt that others are doing the same, as Aschwanden suggested in her New York Times essay. Not to excuse any of the harassment or assaults reported, but when one is in a system where these behaviors are tolerated, or willfully ignored, it may be difficult to read survey results that suggest one’s  tolerance of past behavior may have harmed another person’s life, much less their career.

Where the paper has made an academic splash is at conferences and at the department- head  level.  Rutherford  and  colleagues  wanted  it to  get out to  fellow  scientists  to start changing the culture of doing science. But the response was beyond anything they imagined. They didn’t expect it to be so rapidly incorporated into lab meetings and syllabi. They didn’t expect it to so quickly make it into the hands of department heads, deans, chancellors, and program officers. Dr. Rutherford and her three co-authors have spent a lot of time on the phone and Skype in a daze, and sometimes in tears, since the paper came out, because the data have resonated so strongly with so many people—because people have written them, called them, and walked up to them in meetings to thank them for this work.

Rutherford was recently at a conference that brought together young scientists from many disparate disciplines. The subject of the paper organically came up in a number of conversations and it was an incredible experience to note the part she played, and then personally engage with men and women she hadn’t known before, about how they wanted to help make the change. One woman told her that being able to hold the paper up at meetings in support of the arguments she’s been making at her institution has allowed her to move beyond being “that feminist,” because it’s not easy to ignore solid evidence of the problem. Empowering others to transcend institutional barriers has been so far the most rewarding, exciting, and humbling experience in her career.

Another place of change is with those charged with administering field sites.  In light of the paper, Rutherford knows some colleagues who have drafted their own field-site-specific policies of conduct and reporting mechanisms, and think that idea is catching on. The study findings suggest that principal investigators, site managers, course directors, and advisors have  a  lot  of  agency  to  make  actionable  changes,  and  we  are  seeing  that  happen. Rutherford thinks that change at the level of the professional society will come, but it will be somewhat slower. After the preliminary data were presented at the American Association of Physical Anthropologists meeting in April 2013, the American Anthropological Association issued its “zero tolerance” stance on sexual harassment and assault. We know of other professional associations that have circulated the paper and have been holding internal discussions, and there are some ethics committees within associations that have been rethinking their policies. Some professional conferences already have sexual harassment policies for the duration of their meetings. Rutherford and her colleagues think this is really important  and  want  to  see  more  of  that,  as  it  reinforces  that  these  places  are  still workplaces, and as such, all members of the workforce are entitled to safety and dignity.

So  what  is  next  for  this  group  of  women  who  are  opening  up  conversations  about harassment in the sciences? They are working on a second paper analyzing dozens of detailed follow-up phone interviews of a subset of their survey respondents. They are conducting thematic analysis to determine characteristics of respondents who indicated they were targets and characteristics of the sites where they were targeted. This deep contextualizing  of  the  phenomenon  will  point  the  way  to  more  ways  the  culture  of harassment and disenfranchisement of our most vulnerable scientists can be changed for trainees at the earliest stages of their careers. Both targets and bystanders suffer from these environments and Rutherford and her colleagues hope to present a cogent analysis of the emotional and professional consequences. Rutherford and colleagues are also hearing from other researchers from numerous fields who are launching their own studies. All four coauthors have advised colleagues who are moving forward with this kind of work.

Sexual harassment and assault are issues that are far too often whispered about or discussed in ways to avoid the instigator (e.g., “Don’t be alone with him!”). Dr. Rutherford and her colleagues collected those whispers and painted a picture that appears bleak. But from that bleak reality is a growing conversation that is long overdue and creating positive outcomes. The more light we shine throughout the sciences, the better we can make the work and social environment, and the better and more innovative we can make scientific endeavors.

Read more about what the UIC Center for Research on Women and Gender is working on in our Fall 2014 newsletter in PDF format.

Contribute to the CRWG to support more groundbreaking work on gender issues.

Girls Who Code Update

WISE launched a Girls Who Code club in October and now we present a short update from our club’s historian, Sydney C.

This year in Girls Who Code we were basically covering coding from learning how to make a square to art and now video games. This week the group learned to make video games. It was hard to make the programs because you had to be precise on making one section at a time. The computer only responds to the program we give it so that was the hardest part but overall the staff and student ambassadors were helpful, gave you tips into creating a programs, and they were generous to help and support us students into this program so I thank you all. :­) :­) :­)

We made a short video of some of the girls’ projects during week three. Enjoy!