Violet Chen
Violet Chen CMU Tepper OR PhD Student

Women in Academia Panel and Discussion

Women in Academia Panel and Discussion

The Women in Academia panel and discussion took place on the evening of December 11th, 2020. We were honored to have four female scholars with diverse backgrounds as the panelists:

Over 20 phd students and faculty members from various STEM programs participated in this virtual event. The 90-minute session flew by with inspiring and engaging discussion about different aspects of women in academia, including what obstacles, inequalities or discrimination that women might encounter in academia and how to handle these challenges.

The session was moderated by Tom Krumpolc, a second year PhD student in Chemical engineering and the secretary of our INFORMS chapter. Tom started by welcoming everyone and introducing the panelists, then he posed the first question to the panel: what difficulties and challenges have you encountered as you progressed through your career? The panelists took turns to share their experiences and opened the discussion on several important issues, such as, the lack of female faculty representation in quantitative fields, the stereotypes and discrimination that are likely to be faced by women scholars in different roles and activities, the concern about consequences from speaking up.

The discussion then continued with the second question: how to handle these challenges? The panelists talked about how they acted or would act in specific difficult situations. One important piece of advice from the panel was that women should actively seek mentors and advocates to build a strong support network.

The next question shifted the conversation to a more positive note: what do you enjoy the most as women in academia? The panelists shared their passions about the different roles they have as a female scholar. Their answers were reminders for the audience that despite the potential difficulties faced by women, an academic career could provide great joy and fulfillment.

The remainder of the event was open discussion where the panel took questions from the audience. The discussion covered topics including interpersonal relationships among colleagues, ways to address inappropriate comments, recent changes in the discrimination and obstacles faced by women in academia.