Symposium on Equity in the Search for STEM Jobs


More than 70 graduate students, post-docs, and professors from across science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields at Yale recently gathered for a symposium, “Equity in the Job Search.”

The event took place on May 8 at the Anlyan Center and was organized by Bridget Hegarty and Amanda Lounsbury, Ph.D. candidates in Environmental Engineering. The day combined talks regarding gender bias in STEM with practical hands-on sessions on how to better navigate the academic and non-academic job search.

The event began with keynote speaker Marianne LaFrance, professor of Psychology and of Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She provided compelling and tangible data on gender bias in STEM with a particular focus on implicit bias.

Julie Zimmerman, associate professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering and Forestry & Environmental Studies, led a moderated panel on the topic of increasing diversity at the university and societal level, in order to motivate solutions to lessen the hold of implicit bias in STEM. Panelists included Prof. Meg Urry, Prof. Mark Bradford, Prof. Katie Lofton, Dr. Stephanie Spangler, and Michelle Nearon, associate dean for graduate student development and diversity.

The event also included sessions for graduate students on the job searching, led by Desiree Plata assistant professor of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, and Brian Frenette, senior associate director of the Office of Career Strategy. Barry Nalebuff, Milton Steinbach Professor of Management at Yale School of Management, led a session that introduced the attendees to the basics of negotiating.

Support from the Yale community for event, the organizers said, made it clear that this is not only an important topic, but one of interest to many in the community. By offering tangible career advice alongside the discussion of gender bias, they said, the symposium exposed a broader segment of the graduate school population to the effects of bias. "The most rewarding part of planning the symposium was that we were able to convince the attendees, some of whom might not have attended an event simply about gender bias, that these are real issues that need to be addressed,” Lounsbury said.

Hegarty said the success of the symposium encouraged the organizers to build on the event in the future.

“Based on initial feedback, there was overwhelming support of the event,” she said. “Moreover, the discussion with administrators and the breakout sessions generated ideas that will help increase diversity and support graduate students at Yale. We plan to capitalize on the tremendous response to have an even larger event next year.”

Funding and support for the event came from the generosity of the following departments at Yale: Graduate Student Life, Office of Graduate Student Development and Diversity, the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Title IX Office, the Office of Career Strategy, the Chemical and Environmental Engineering Department, the Chemistry Department, and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences. The event was also made possible with the help of the committee of Chemical and Environmental Engineering students, including Michael Giannetto, Anna Hagstrom, Lyndsey McMillon-Brown, Rebecca Brenneis, and Jay Weber.