Author: Jane Hu

What can you do with that PhD?: FAQs about non-academic jobs

As the school year winds to a close, another class of students nears graduation and will be asked the inevitable question: “So, what’s next?” This year, I’m one of those students, and like 61% of STEM PhDs, I’m leaving the tenure-track career path.

I’ve noticed a difference in how people react to my career plans versus those of my friends who are moving on to postdocs or professorships. When asked about their post-grad plans, my friends on the traditional path receive a quick congrats and the topic of conversation moves onto something else. On the contrary, I’ve found that people ask a lot of follow-ups about my career plans. If you’re interested in alternatives to traditional academic careers, read on for my answers to some of the most commonly asked questions.

Why are you leaving?

People mean well when they ask this, but it’s a very personal question; I don’t recommend asking unless you know the person well. Often, I’ve found that the asker wants to commiserate with you about the state of the academy. While I do think that there are major issues with the culture and structure of academia (the leaky pipeline faced by women in STEM and replication issues, among others), I’m grateful for the knowledge and skills I’ve gained through my graduate school experience.

Contrary to popular belief, students do not always leave the academy because they are disillusioned or have “failed” at finding an academic job. Many have genuine interest in consulting, outreach, starting a company, working on Watson, hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, starting a bakery, or whatever it is they go on to do. Research is only one facet of life, and it need not be the only one. I’m leaving because I have always had other interests, and I want to explore those opportunities. During my time in grad school, I discovered that the part of my work I found most rewarding and enjoyable was communicating cutting-edge research to the public, so I’m trying out a career in science writing and outreach.

Condoleezza Rice, former U.S. Secretary of State, has a Ph.D. in Political Science. She didn’t stay on the academic track, but she’s doing just fine.

Did you tell your advisor? How did it go?

To be honest, I dreaded having this conversation with my advisor. My fear – which is a common one – was that she would be disappointed, angry, or even “give up” on me by providing fewer lab resources and less guidance. I waited to tell her until I was sure I wanted a non-academic career. After that conversation, I felt like a weight had been lifted, and I wished I had done it sooner.

Advisors can be a great resource to connect you with others who have been in your position before. Plus, you may find that you and your advisor work better together if you’re honest about what you want – for instance, if you and your advisor both know that you’ve got your heart set on consulting, you may decide together that those five exploratory follow-up studies that would have made you a more competitive academic job applicant are no longer a productive goal.

I feel lucky that my advisor has been supportive of my decision, but unfortunately, not every advisor will be supportive of students who choose a non-academic career path. In that case, seeking out a faculty member who will support you can be helpful.

But what can you do with that degree?

I’m usually asked this question by students in my field who have been thinking about leaving the academy, and are hopeful I will mention some magical, previously undiscovered career path. Consider instead: what do you want to do with your degree? Sure, your degree may confine your choices to some extent – sadly, as a psychology PhD, it’s pretty unlikely I’ll ever be an astronaut – but students routinely underestimate the general skills they learn as a PhD that apply to most jobs. All those studies you’re juggling? That’s project management. The RAs you’ve trained to run your studies? That’s leadership and team management. Submitting manuscripts and writing endless emails? Communication skills.

A longitudinal study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that between the ages of 18 and 46, the average person has 11 different jobs. Your job as a graduate student is just one of many you’ll have!

How did you find out about career options?

Narrow down the qualities of your ideal job. Do you enjoy teaching? research? working with people? Do you want something with flexible hours and projects, or do you do better with structure and deadlines? Do you prefer to work on teams or alone? These are just several questions to consider; if you’re at a total loss, check out AAAS’s MyIDP to help you start asking the right questions.

I’m also fortunate to work with Beyond Academia, a career education conference at Berkeley. We had our second annual conference in February, where we invited former PhDs talk about their experience transitioning from academia to the “beyond”. There were panels featuring speakers from a variety of industries (e.g. technology, science communication, and entrepreneurship) and workshops where students worked on specific skills (e.g. narrowing in on a career path, or how to create a personal brand). It was a great learning and networking opportunity, and students on other campuses are now lobbying their universities to hold similar events. Your campus may have a similar career education program, or at least a career fair. If not, consider starting one!

There are also a variety of online resources that can help you begin your search. Most universities’ career centers have websites with resources for students, though not all have sections specifically dedicated to post-PhD careers. Beyond Academia has begun compiling a list of resources here, which can be a good starting point.

Eric Schmidt, Google executive chairman and former CEO, is another former Ph.D. who has done quite well off the academic track.

What helped you in finding your career path?

Reaching out to others who understand your position can be both inspiring and educational. Take advantage of your personal network – talk to recent graduates from your department, or friends and faculty in your department to see if there’s anyone they know who has the type of job you’re interested in. Also remember that your university’s career center could be helpful for resources or alumni connections.

If you don’t have personal connections to your chosen field, the internet can be a massively powerful tool. Set up a LinkedIn profile and see if there’s anyone in your extended network who has your dream job. Twitter and blogging are also a good way to connect with strangers in your field. (On a personal note, I found out about a fellowship through Twitter and got a job interview due in large part to a blog post I wrote. The internet is a magical place!)

Also, be sure to try out what it is you want to do. Do you want to be a consultant? Join your campus consulting club. Your campus doesn’t have a consulting club? Start one! Other options to consider are summer internships, conferences, and workshops.

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If you’re considering an alternative career, get acquainted with your options as soon as you can. Start right now, if you feel so inclined. Use those time management skills you’ve learned in grad school to set aside a couple hours a week for career exploration. Like completing a dissertation, career exploration is a marathon, not a sprint; incremental steps toward your goal will get you there. Admittedly, seeking out these opportunities in addition to your duties as a grad student can be tiring, but finding the right career for you is a worthy reward!

If you have any additional resources to suggest, please leave them in the comments below.

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jane hu

Jane Hu is a Ph.D. candidate in the psychology department at University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on social cognition and learning in preschoolers. She is also an editor of the Berkeley Science Review and an organizer of the Beyond Academia conference. Follow her on Twitter @jane_c_hu, and check out her science blog: metacogs.tumblr.com

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Let’s talk about science

Quick quiz: Does the earth go around the sun, or does the sun go around the earth?

If you answered that the earth goes around the sun, congratulations! You scored better than 26% of respondents in the NSF’s 2014 Science & Technology: Public Attitudes And Understanding survey.

Yes, let that sink in for a moment. One in four Americans answered that question incorrectly.

Aristachus of Samos (310-230 BC) was a Greek astronomer who developed the first known model of the universe with the Earth orbiting the sun. It is now 2014 AD and 26% of Americans still don’t know what Aristachus knew.

Some might be quick to blame our education system, but that may not be the whole story. The NSF’s data suggests that Americans aren’t just short on facts, but rather, they don’t accept science as fact; rather, they think science is a matter of belief. When presented with the statement, “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals,” 48% of respondents answered “true”, but when the same statement was prefaced with, “According to the theory of evolution,” the number of respondents answering “true” increased to 72% (a 24% difference). Researchers found similar results when comparing responses to the statement “The universe began with a big explosion” (39%), versus when the same statement was prefaced by “According to astronomers” (60% — let’s not even get into the fact that 40% of Americans apparently don’t know about the Big Bang).

Perhaps most perplexing is that many of these statistics have not improved over time. For the past 35 years, the NSF has asked Americans whether astrology is scientific. They found that the percentage of respondents who believe astrology is based in science is virtually unchanged since 1979! Thirty-five years ago, 50% of respondents correctly answered that astrology was not at all scientific; in 2012, 55% of respondents answered correctly. In some groups, it seems that misinformation identifying astrology as a science is taking a firmer hold; apparently, between 2010 and 2012, the percentage of 35-44 year-olds who believe astrology is scientific increased by 13%.

Many media outlets have used these stats to argue that we’re “doomed”, but don’t believe the hype. For instance, it’s been reported that while many Americans (45%) answered that astrology is scientific, almost none of the Chinese respondents were fooled (8%). This statistic is only partially accurate; Chinese respondents were asked whether horoscopes, not astrology as a whole, were scientific. And, most interestingly, that’s the only question Chinese respondents scored higher on than Americans. In fact, Americans had a higher rate of accuracy on almost every other question compared with the other surveyed countries (China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Russia, South Korea, and the EU), except the one about evolution. Keep in mind that, as I mentioned above, Americans’ rate of accuracy improves when that statement is preceded by “according to the theory of evolution”, and that rate is similar to other countries’ responses. Cherry-picking facts to support sensationalist headlines does nothing to inform the public, but does reinforce stereotypes (Chinese people are good at science and math!). More rigorously researched science reporting can avoid misrepresentation of facts, and can inform people about recent findings.

Here’s some good news from the report, which, mysteriously, not many media outlets have reported: the American public is receptive to science. Four out of five Americans reported that they are interested in new scientific discoveries, and similar numbers said they agreed or strongly agreed with the statement, “Even if it brings no immediate benefits, scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government.” More than half (58%) of respondents said they’d been to a zoo, aquarium, natural history museum, or science and tech museum in the last year. Unfortunately, science reporting accounts for only 2% of traditional media (TV, newspapers, radio), but more and more Americans are turning to the Internet for their news.

This is where scientists come in. Though we are encouraged to write papers and give talks geared towards other researchers, we also need to reach out to students and non-scientists. Find ways to communicate your research to as many people as you can. Not every person has had the privilege of receiving a solid math & science education, but many Americans do consume media. Many Americans watch TV, read articles online, or browse blogs, Facebook, or Twitter (check out this interview James Coyne conducted with Gozde Ozakinci in a Mind the Brain blog post on why scientists should use Twitter as a tool, and how). Consider posting science news and facts on your social media accounts, or starting a blog or website about your research or your field. Elise Andrew’s Facebook page “I F-cking Love Science” has 10 million followers; this is a testament to how receptive people can be to science when it’s presented in a fun and easy-to-understand way.

Kirsten Sanford, “Dr. Kiki“, interviews Stanford researcher Benjamin Tee about his research on flexible, pressure-sensitive electronic skin at the Berkeley Science Review‘s fall outreach event, Touch Me.

Get active in your local communities, formally or informally. Think about out how you’d describe your research to a new acquaintance at a dinner party, or to someone you meet in an elevator. Here in the Bay Area, we’re fortunate to have many established events where scientists can share their science knowledge with the public – Nerd Nite, TEDx, and The Bay Area Science Festival, among others. Check to see if there are groups in your area. If there’s not, consider starting one.

Spending an hour a week—or even an hour a month—communicating your science to others could teach someone something new. Maybe you can reach one of the 26% of Americans who don’t know we are orbiting the sun.

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Test your science knowledge! Here are other science questions the NSF asked respondents.

(Results by nation can be found in this report, on pg. 23.)

  1. The center of the Earth is very hot.
  2. The continents have been moving their location for millions of years and will continue to move.
  3. Does the Earth go around the Sun, or does the Sun go around the Earth?
  4. All radioactivity is man-made.
  5. Electrons are smaller than atoms.
  6. Lasers work by focusing sound waves.
  7. The universe began with a huge explosion.
  8. It is the father’s gene that decides whether the baby is a boy or a girl.
  9. Antibiotics kill viruses as well as bacteria.
  10. Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals.

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Answers:

1. True 2. True 3. Earth around Sun 4. False 5. True 6. False 7. True 8. True 9. False 10. True

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This article is being cross-listed on The Berkeley Science Review. Check out some other really interesting pieces there!

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jane hu

Jane Hu is a Ph.D. candidate in the psychology department at University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on social cognition and learning in preschoolers. She is also an editor of the Berkeley Science Review and an organizer of the Beyond Academia conference. Follow her on Twitter @jane_c_hu, and check out her science blog: metacogs.tumblr.com

 

 

 

 

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We need to check our work: Rethinking replication and publishing

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not “Eureka!” (I found it!) but “That’s funny…”
― Isaac Asimov

A popular theoretical framework in my field, developmental psychology, compares children to scientists. Alison Gopnik first championed the view that children, like scientists, have theories about the world, and test and revise those theories through their everyday behavior. “A theory, in science or in everyday life, doesn’t just describe one particular way the world happens to be at the moment,” Gopnik wrote in a 2005 Slate article. “Instead, having a theory tells you about the ways the world could have been in the past or might be in the future.”

Children have been observed experimenting by repeating the same intervention many times – for instance, in many of Gopnik’s studies, children place blocks on a “magical machine” to determine which ones make the machine light up and play music. It seems from these repetitions that children want to be sure what they’re observing isn’t a one-off fluke, but a real causal effect in the world. Children study the results of their interventions, and revise their theories if there’s a new result that contradicts their previous theory. This is, in theory, what scientists do to test our theories as well — except it seems that preschoolers have bested us in the process of repeating interventions to check our work.

Replicating a study seems easy enough, but the time and effort involved in replicating even your own work can be quite costly. In most STEM circles, a research group that finds a significant result would be crazy not to publish it as quickly as possible, lest someone else beats them to the punch. Additionally, there is no incentive to replicate, since journals typically seek out new results for publication. In theory, this is a good thing – we want original findings to make progress in science – but publishing norms have taken this to an extreme. A 2007 study by Daniele Fanelli found that 86% of publications are positive results (up 22% from 1990).

The disincentives for replicating are usually enough for researchers to steer clear of it, but the few who try are in for more hurdles. In order to replicate a study, one needs to know how the original study was done. As journal articles are skewing shorter, methods sections may provide less information, giving the reader only a basic idea of a study’s procedure. In many studies, effects could be due in part to small details, like the exact wording an experimenter uses, or even the color of the walls of the testing room. To probe the strength of an effect, we need to play with these variables to see how they affect the results. In the discussion surrounding the replicability of psychologist John Bargh’s studies, fellow psychologist Daniel Kahneman likened the small details in experiments to “the direction of a theatre performance,” and suggested that perhaps the reason why Bargh’s studies weren’t replicating were because Bargh just “has a knack that not all of us have”.

“The conduct of subtle experiments has much in common with the direction of a theatre performance,” said Daniel Kahneman. If these subtle details are what are driving effects, that’s all the more reason to be thorough in reporting our procedures.

Researchers are humans, and we’re subject to the same biases as everyone else, despite our meticulous training in objectivity. There are many points in the process of publishing a study where human bias can lead to a portrait of the world that is less than accurate. For instance, when psychologists Stéphane Doyen and colleagues tried to replicate John Bargh’s famous result that priming participants with “old” words led to slower walking, they found that the experimenters’ unconscious bias in timing participants’ walking speed could have exaggerated the original findings.

More meticulous reporting of procedures and results will encourage researchers to be more critical of their own work, and will create opportunities for collaboration. In casual conversations with other researchers, I’ve often heard things like, “If only I knew how they did that!” or “I wonder if the researchers looked at X in their results…” The availability of detailed procedures and raw data would allow new life for results, and will allow researchers to do replications or extensions quickly, rather than spending time figuring out the exact procedure that led the original researchers to find an effect.

Replications are also important to safeguard against human fallacy. We hope that our current peer-review process will weed out studies in which experimenter bias or poor study design explain the results, but reviewers, like researchers, are human and subject to biases. One glaring bias is the fact that some journals are not double-blind! We scientists pride ourselves on objectivity and recognition of merit, but it’s hard to say how scientists’ reputation (or lack thereof) influences their publication acceptance rate at journals that reveal the authors’ identities.

Reviewers may also fail to spot errors in research. The Economist reported several studies that indicate reviewers are less familiar with stats and less meticulous than one would hope. Anyone who has served as a peer reviewer can tell you – it is a thankless job. Most reviewers are not paid or recognized in any way for their time and effort, besides the right to add an additional line in the “professional service” section of their CV.

Besides their dedication to the furthering of science, reviewers have little incentive to thoroughly vet the papers they’re assigned to review, especially when this volunteer assignment is competing with other job duties, like research, teaching, and grant-writing. Sometimes, reviewers are assigned to comment on papers that are outside their expertise, which makes them even less motivated or qualified to provide good feedback on manuscripts. A colleague of mine recently waited six months to hear back from the third reviewer of his paper, only to receive an email from that reviewer in which he admitted that he did not feel qualified to comment on the paper because the research was outside his expertise.

Often, reviewers are overworked academics with little incentive to give thoughtful feedback.

Though traditional journals are doing their part to adapt to the shortcomings of the current publishing system, alternative open-source and web-based publishing groups are poised to help address many of these issues with new technologies. For one, replications may be more like to be accepted by and easier to execute in non-traditional journals. Many of these journals or publishing services (PLOS, PeerJ, the Winnower) publish based on the soundness of a study’s methods and conclusions, rather than its perceived impact on its field, which encourages high-quality rather than flashy work. Also, without the word-limit and space constraints that come with printed journals, non-traditional journals could allow researchers to upload detailed procedure instructions, raw data, or even video clips of their procedure.

New publishing systems could also improve the speed of science communications. Cover letters to reviewers were probably useful when correspondence about manuscripts was limited to sending mail through the postal service, but they are now just a relic of an old system. Rather than specifying that you changed a sentence on page 34, paragraph 3, perhaps one day authors and reviewers will be able to submit digital documents highlighting changes, comments, and suggestions, rather than writing formal letters to one another; this would cut down on the amount of time wasted on formatting correspondence between authors and reviewers. Online journal PeerJ allows registered users to comment on papers, creating a community in which feedback can be given instantaneously and less formally.

Online publishing and review also opens up the possibility of more feedback. Why stop at the standard three reviewers? Allowing qualified, registered users to comment on or review articles may also present the incentive for higher-quality feedback. Comments, for better or for worse, could be made public, allowing academics to be recognized for thoughtful feedback. PeerJ, for instance, incentivizes high quality comments by awarding points to users who have written a comment nominated as “insightful” by other users.

Surely, there are other cultural changes that need to occur in the science world before we adopt new publishing systems – for instance, as Berkeley cell biologist and Nobel Prize winner Randy Schekman suggested in an op-ed last week, placing less importance on journals’ impact factors. And even after we adopt new publishing systems, they will not be a panacea for all issues in science world. Still, these recurring discussions about the importance of replication and the need for alternative publishing systems suggest that the time is ripe to refine our scientific values and to rethink the system we have in place to uphold those values.

jane huJane Hu is a PhD candidate in the psychology department at University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on social cognition and learning in preschoolers. She is also an editor of the Berkeley Science Review. Follow her on Twitter @jane_c_hu, and check out her science blog: metacogs.tumblr.com

 

 

For more about replicability & replication projects:

Check out these open-source publishing and collaborative tools:

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The Magnifying Glass Ceiling: The Plight of Women in Science

Scientists frequently reference a quote attributed to Einstein: “You do not truly understand something unless you can explain it to your grandma.” Whether or not these words were actually Einstein’s, they’ve been used again and again to encourage students to explain highly technical details in a simple way so that even your grandma could understand it. The assumption is that your dear old grandma is a feeble-minded lady who doesn’t know anything about phishing or bitcoin or Bayesian statistics.

What’s interesting here is that it’s always your grandma you’re asked to explain things to, not your grandpa. This subtle difference seems innocuous, but it reflects the age-old stereotype that men are more competent than women in math and science. Luckily, we’ve moved forward from the days when women in science like Rosalind Franklin, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, and Lise Meitner had their ideas overlooked or even blatantly stolen, but the undercurrent of sexism has not disappeared – it has just become subtler.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin discovered that the sun is made of mostly hydrogen. Fellow astronomer Henry Norris Russell rejected her work...but then published it four years later. He is still commonly credited for Payne-Gaposchkin's discovery.

Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin discovered that the sun is made of mostly hydrogen. Fellow astronomer Henry Norris Russell rejected her work…but then published a paper making the same claim four years later. Even though he cited Payne-Gaposchkin’s work, he is still commonly credited with her discovery.

It is true that women are underrepresented in these spheres, but not because women aren’t interested in it or can’t handle the work (for instance, see some grandmas who probably know more than you). Even when women are highly competent in their field of study, their career accomplishments take a backseat to what’s stereotypically a woman’s duty: raising a family.

Take, for instance, the late Yvonne Brill, a rocket scientist (certainly the type of grandma you wouldn’t talk down to). Her obituary in the New York Times began:

She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children. “The world’s best mom,” her son Matthew said.

But Yvonne Brill, who died on Wednesday at 88 in Princeton, N.J., was also a brilliant rocket scientist, who in the early 1970s invented a propulsion system to help keep communications satellites from slipping out of their orbits.

The New York Times has since changed the obituary to lead with a mention of Brill’s career, but the original introduction reflects this trend of subtle sexism. The “but” that begins the second paragraph seems to imply that being a good wife or mom is somehow directly contradictory with being a “brilliant rocket scientist”.

Scientists, too, fall prey to gender stereotypes. In a 1999 study, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee researcher Rhea Steinpreis and her colleagues sent faculty members a CV for a fake applicant’s tenure-track faculty position, and randomized whether the applicant had a male or female name. With the same application, the male applicant was more likely to be hired than the female applicant. More than a decade later, nothing has changed; last year, Yale researcher Corinne Moss-Racusin and her colleagues ran a similar study, asking faculty to rate application materials for a lab manager position. Like in Steinpreis et al.’s study, the male applicant was also rated more highly than the female applicant, and was given a higher average starting salary.

Even if women get that coveted lab manager position or tenure-track faculty position, their research may be less likely to be seen by a wider audience. Last year, the popular journal Nature assessed their own inclusion of female perspectives. They found that women made up only 14% of their reviewers, 18% of their profiled scientists in 2011 and 2012, and 19% of Nature‘s Comment and World View articles. Though there tend to be fewer women in STEM fields to review, write, and profile, Nature acknowledges that doesn’t fully explain the lack of female viewpoints included in their publication. In their own words: “There is work to do.”

This lack of visibility and opportunity can be frustrating, and, according to a 2008 Harvard Business School study, it also contributes to women’s decision to leave STEM fields. Recent research from Berkeley faculty Mary Ann Mason, Nicholas Wolfinger, and Marc Goulden found that STEM fields fail to retain women at every stage of their careers, from undergraduate science courses to professorial tenure review. Data collected by the National Science Foundation found that in many fields, like engineering and biology, women make up more than half of undergraduate students, but this number drops off at each transition point, so that at the tenured professor level, women make up only 20-25% of the total. The most women drop out in the transition between receiving a PhD to landing a faculty position.

Why are women leaving in such numbers? We’ve all heard an urban legend about that one old, misogynistic professor in the department who has explicitly stated his belief that women don’t belong in science, but as the majority of male scientists will attest, there are few men who sit in their ivory towers, intentionally barring women from being hired or published. The story is far more complicated. For one, having more women on review boards does not increase the likelihood that more women will be hired or published. In Steinpreis et al. and Moss-Racusin et al.’s studies, women were just as likely as men to rate the male applicant more highly than the female applicant. This underscores the pervasiveness of gender stereotypes; women, too, can believe that men are more competent. And even worse: they take those stereotypes to heart while on the job.

Social psychologists call this phenomenon “stereotype threat.” This occurs when an individual who is a member of a group fears they will confirm a negative stereotype about their group. A classic stereotype threat study by Spencer, Steele, & Claude (1999) found that women performed worse on a math test if told the test was supposed to reflect gender differences than if they were told it did not reflect gender differences. This works with pretty much any negative stereotype; Yeung & von Hippel (2008) found that women who were primed with the stereotype that women are bad at driving were more than twice as likely to hit jaywalkers in a virtual driving game.

Stereotype can affect female scientists' behavior when interacting with male scientists.

Stereotype threat can affect female scientists’ behavior when interacting with their male colleagues.

More recent research suggests stereotype threat has an effect on women’s perception of daily interactions with fellow scientists. University of British Columbia research Toni Schmader and University of Arizona researcher Matthias Mehl had women in science wear microphones that recorded random snippets of their daily conversations. In rating how “competent” women sounded in talking about their own work, the study found that women sounded less competent when speaking with male colleagues than female colleagues. Presumably, this behavior is a result of stereotype threat: women fear confirming the stereotype of “women are bad at science,” and they falter.

In the face of all this, what’s a woman in science to do? The STEM blogosphere has been abuzz with recommendations. Require universities to adopt family-friendly policies to retain women who are dropping out for family reasons. Provide childcare. Make the tenure process more flexible. Do more scientific outreach for young girls. Create support groups for women to foster stronger mentor/mentee relationships. These are all good ideas, and fit an underlying theme: we need to keep current female scientists in their fields, and we need them to recruit more women to join in the future. Subvert the harmful stereotypes about women and STEM fields that girls hear from a young age: make sure Mattel never makes another “Math class is tough” Barbie, or that children’s clothing stores never make another girls’ t-shirt like this. Be the grandma who does the explaining, not the one who needs to be explained to.

janehuJane is a PhD candidate in the psychology department at University of California, Berkeley. Her research focuses on social cognition and learning in preschoolers. She is also an editor of the Berkeley Science Review. Follow her on Twitter @jane_c_hu, or check out her science blog: metacogs.tumblr.com

 

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