South Bay Women’s Conference: Women in STEM careers

Last Saturday, I had the honor of attending the 3rd Annual South Bay Women’s Conference held at San Jose State University.  Rachel Shellabarger from the Natural Sciences Department, Tricia Robateau, a senior Philosophy and English major, and I (Anna from the library), spent the day learning from some great female leaders of the Bay Area.  The conference started out with a discussion panel which consisted of three amazing role models: Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren, Dr. Jessie Dotson (Science Director at the NASA Ames Research Center), and Dr. Karen Singmaster (SJSU chemistry professor).  The three speakers stressed the importance of strength, perseverance, and the ability to recognize, own, and celebrate each of our accomplishments and successes. In addition to the 8 workshops held by women who are successful and confident in their careers, we were fortunate to have Lilly Ledbetter as the keynote speaker.  In her talk, she reflected on her journey before and after President Barack Obama signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009.

Even though the conference was aimed at women in STEM, Philosophy and English student Tricia Robateau found that much of the information at the conference still applied to her.  Please read her excellent reflection on the day’s events:

“Women have, for the longest time, been denied the right of progress; but as we enter into a new age, women continue to break new boundaries and venture into new realms. Women continue to usurp the status quo through higher education and entering the work force- defying all thoughts and challenges that they may face. Attending this year’s women conference on STEM, allowed me to not only get a better perspective on women and the workforce, but to inspire me to continue with my own career goals. Women, especially in the STEM fields, are often facing the leaky pipeline and struggling for recognition. Not only do we want to make our mark in history, but we also want the opportunity to pursue the career we love. Education is the foundation of a nation and allowing women to not only attend school, but to enter into STEM fields allows for the diversity that each nation needs. As policy-makers, engineers, scientists and etcetera women bring their own perspective to their field, they work hard (often harder than most because of discrimination), and they bring understanding from a holistic point of view. Since women in the STEM workforce is still relatively new, it is up to this generation to pave the way for the future, so that in a few years there will no longer be discrimination or inequality amongst men and women. While it’s true that we are working for pay, we are also working for the benefit and progress of our nation and for a better tomorrow. We are constantly reminded that diversity is the key to progress, and we must accept this if this as we enter into a new era. The guest speaker, Lilly Ledbetter is a crusader for equal pay and women’s right and she reminded us that there will be challenges that we face but that we must continue to persevere.  She is a reminder to women to continue to pursue our goals, because whatever adversity we as women may face, we stand in solidarity with each other.  Through the different workshops, we were given glimpse of different women leaders and inspiration and hope for a better tomorrow. We had the opportunity to see and hear the challenges other women in the STEM field face and we were given a better awareness so that we may venture back into the workforce and education system with renew vigor and strength.” 


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FREE science resources!

Sometimes we all need to be reminded (librarians included) that there are hundreds of amazing and free science resources out on the web that don’t show up on the first page of Google results and that aren’t part of our library databases.  Annais Acosta, one of our amazing STEM students at the library chose three of her favorites to share on the blog.

  1. Profiles in Science, from the National Library of Medicine

    • This website provides information on different biomedical scientists. These scientists are grouped into three categories: Biomedical Research, Health and Medicine, and Fostering Science and Health. The online collection exhibits each scientist showing biographies and such. This collection would be good use for science majors so they get an idea of what the life of a person dedicated to science contains whether that’s a scientist, doctor, or anything in that field.


  2. USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service

    • This website has information on various agriculture topics in the US. This involves farm finances, prices on commodities, chemical usage on farms, and producer demographics. This website seems like a good resource not only for science students but for any major because it focuses on agriculture and living in California, a state well known for it.  We should have some knowledge on what it’s about and how it can affect the career we choose.

  3. ChemView, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

    • This website increases the transparency of the Toxic Substances Control Act, created in 1976, to regulate new and existing hazardous chemicals. This database currently provides information on approximately 1500 chemicals, but EPA plans to expand the chemicals covered in the future. This website would be a good resource because it gives valuable information on different chemicals that science majors will most likely be using.
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Library Events!

In the upcoming weeks, the librarians have two big events planned – all of which are free and come with cookies!

First up, this next Wednesday (2/26) at 3:00 pm, we’ll have the very first event of our Author Speaker series.  By partnering with the Departments of Religious Studies and Philosophy, the library is able to host author Carlos Alberto Sanchez as he talks about his book The Suspension of Seriousness: On the Phenomenology of Jorge Portilla.  Carlos is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at San Jose State University, where he teaches courses on Phenomenology, Existentialism, Social and Political Philosophy, and Latin American Philosophy.  All are welcome regardless of major.  The library will provide light refreshments. Email Mary Wegmann (mwegmann at for more details! 




Our second big event is a field trip to the South Bay Women’s Conference in San Jose on Saturday, March 8th.  This is the perfect opportunity to network with professionals from the Bay Area and meet some incredible women.  The library will provide transportation and will sponsor students who would like to attend.  Visit the conference website for more details:  The keynote speaker is Lilly Ledbetter of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act.  Email Anna Fulton (afulton at for more details.  




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Where did January go?

How are we already to the end of the first month of the semester?  Time really flies by when you’re busy!  Since the start of the semester, the librarians have met with 21 different classes and in the last 10 days alone, students and faculty have walked in our door 5000 times.  If that’s not busy, I don’t know what is!

We have a lot in store for the spring semester.  We will continue holding tech workshops, host an author series and April’s Open Book project with Belle Air Elementary; work with Inside Track mentors and students; and continue to add to our resources.   As of yesterday, we have a special exhibit on display for Founder’s Week put together by the Sr Dorothy Stang Center.  A few other things that are coming up:

1. Come learn about Citation Management Software on Tuesday 2/4 at 2:00 – 3:00.  Email Anna if you want to know more!  (afulton at

2. Wednesday 2/12 at 4:00 – learn how to use Excel’s advanced features at our student hosted Excel workshop

3. We also have so many new databases!  Check back for more information on Science Direct, American Economic Association, Journal of Visualized Experiments, and Films on Demand   

Keep on keeping on, and as always, stop in and see what’s happening at the library!

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Happy Holidays!

Congratulations for surviving the fall semester!  For those of you who aren’t quite finished yet, study on…

The library will close today, Friday December 13th, at our usual 4:00 pm time and will be open tomorrow (Sat) from 9:00 – 4:00.  We will be closed for the holidays from Sunday, 12/15 through Monday, 1/6.  Enjoy your winter break and we’ll see you for spring semester!


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Nobel Prize Week and Hardcore Women in Science

In honor of women in STEM, minorities in STEM, and all of you students who work incredibly hard to do accomplish something great, let’s take a look at the women who are still eligible to win a Nobel Prize for their work in physics.   Now that Higgs and Englert have been added to the list, there are 194 male Nobel Award physicists (for the discovery of the Higgs mechanism).  Only two women have been awarded the Nobel Prize in physics: Marie Currie and Maria Goeppert-Mayer.  As Eric Hellman, scientist, information specialist, and blogger sees it, there are 83 female physicists who are still eligible to receive the Nobel Prize.  One of the most amazing things about these women is that they made their major contributions to science prior to 1976.  

According to a study published in summer 2013 by researchers at Yale, only 14% of all physics professors are female and the starting salary for female scientists is $4000 lower than that of her male counterparts.  If those are the odds and statistics for 2013, imagine the struggles endured by these 83 women (and all other women in science) before 1976. Check out this website from UCLA to read more about each of these women.

Here are a photos of a few of the women, along with their notable quotes (taken from

Image“There is only one thing worse than coming home from the lab to a sink full of dirty dishes, and that is not going to the lab at all!”

Chien Shiung Wu (known for her work on the Manhattan Project)

Image“You should know how many incompetent men I had to compete with – in vain!”

Inge Lehmann (seismologist who discovered the Earth’s inner core)

Image“It’s really a lot of fun ..[doing physics].That’s one reason to reach out to high school students. From what they get now, they’d never believe it was so interesting!”

Helen Quinn (named the three types of particle interactions)


Maybe these ladies can provide some inspiration to study hard this week.  :)

 - Anna Fulton



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STEAM exhibit



Come check out the STEAM exhibit in the foyer of the library!  STEAM stands for science, technology, engineering, ART, and math.  The concept builds on the traditional STEM fields by adding an art component.  STEAM has gained traction around the country, most recently with budding organizations supporting art and science and regionally with Stanford’s symposium titled “Art Meets Technology.”   Work in STEM fields require left brain thinking through problem solving, critical thinking, logic, and numbers.  By inserting art into STEM, the right brain is exercised by using creativity.  The Rhode Island School of Design supports, which explains that by combining science and art, our solutions become truly innovative and novel. 

Stop by the library to see our STEAM exhibit!


To read more about STEAM, check out “From Science in Art to the Art of Science” from Nature.  Also check back for STEAM commentary from our STEM students at the library!


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