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Workshop brings top female junior biomedical researchers to campus

November 12, 2019
Rising Stars 2019

Image: Larry Canner for Johns Hopkins University

Although women earn roughly half of all advanced degrees in science and engineering, they account for less than a third of senior faculty in those fields, according to data from the National Science Foundation. Those numbers are even smaller for technical disciplines such as engineering and computer science—23% and 17% of tenure-track faculty, respectively. Experts have proposed a variety of theories about the cause of such a gender gap, including bias, a lack of female role models in academia, the pressures of family life, and low self-confidence.

The Rising Stars workshop is an annual conference designed to help women overcome these and other barriers they face while pursuing academic careers in science and engineering. Held in late October, the workshop brought more than 20 of the nation’s best female junior biomedical researchers to Johns Hopkins University’s Homewood campus for two days of intensive career development workshops, networking activities, and panel sessions.

“Evidence shows that women tend to lack confidence in the critical years of transitioning from postdocs to independent researchers,” said Sri Sarma, associate professor of biomedical engineering, vice dean for graduate education at the Whiting School of Engineering, and co-organizer of the event. “This workshop aims to develop professional communication skills that will help women deliver more impactful speeches and interview more effectively.”

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