Oregon State University

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics

Since the enactment of Title IX, women have had more opportunities to take part in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). “Title IX mandates equity in career and technical education programs, including those traditionally dominated by men (e.g., construction, IT), as well as those traditionally dominated by women (e.g., nursing). Title IX protects girls’ and women’s rights to equity in STEM education, including equal opportunities and access to institutional resources.”2

As a result, there has been an increase in the number of women choosing careers in science. Excellence in STEM fields is an important part of Oregon State University’s strategic plan; however, as the figure below indicates, female faculty comprises just 24 percent of recent tenured/tenure-track faculty hires in comparison to 76 percent of male hires. A number of efforts are under way in various sectors of the university to raise awareness about equality in STEM education and career progression.

For example, Lisa Ganio, Professor in the College of Forestry, is a proponent of women’s advancement in the field of ecology. In partnership with Barb Lachenbruch, also a professor in Forestry, and with help from interested graduate students, she received a National Science Foundation ADVANCE Leadership Award. This award helped make it possible for Drs. Ganio and Lachenbruch and their partners to organize Advancing Toward Professorship in Biology, Ecology, and Earth Systems Sciences (ATP in BEESS), a professional development conference focused on the advancement of women in STEM fields.  

Lisa GanioDr. Ganio described some of the challenges for women in STEM fields stating, “Women are depicted as implicit caregivers of family and relationships; when you tie that to a career that expects them to disappear for three months, it makes it hard for them to continue...decisions are made that prevent one from the promotion chain. We need to keep educating the community and administration about the barriers women face.”  There is still work to do, but efforts such as the ATP in BEESS workshop/conference, help raise awareness about strategies to ensure equity for girls and women in STEM.

Lisa Ganio, Associate
Professor of Forestry

Select Recent Honors for OSU Women in STEM:

Oregon State is fortunate to have a number of excellent women who are paving the way for girls and women in the future.  The following are a few examples of women who have achieved outstanding success in their respective fields.

2008: Marine biologist, Jane Lubchenco, was the Wayne and Gladys Valley Professor of Marine Biology and Distinguished Professor of Zoology and was chosen by President Obama to lead the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).                                                            

2010: Oceanographer, Kelly Benoit-Bird, was the  recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship also known as the “Genius Awards,” which included a $500,000 stipend to further the recipient’s scholarship. Kelly Benoit-Bird studies the interrelationships of animals in different marine environments.                                                          

2011: Post-doctoral geologist, Patricia Gregg, became the first scientist to apply for an extension of a National Science Foundation (NSF) postdoctoral fellowship in order to start a family; NSF’s director and Michelle Obama joined the cause and NSF announced the Career-Life Balance Initiative that provides greater flexibility for both female and male scientists regarding family matters.                                      

2011: Ocean scientist, geographer, and geographic information system (GIS) author Dawn Wright joined Environmental Sciences Research Institute (ESRI)  as its chief scientist where she is assisting in formulating and advancing the intellectual agenda for the environmental, conservation, climate, and ocean sciences.     

2011: Assistant Professor in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, Extension Wildlife Specialist, and member of The Wildlife Society (TWS) Ethnic and Gender Diversity Working Group, Dana Sanchez was a recipient of the OSU Outreach & Engagement Vice Provost Award for Excellence Diversity Award and revived the SACNAS (Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) chapter at OSU.

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics (.pdf)


2National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education (NCWGE). Title IX at 40: Working to Ensure Gender Equity in Education. Washington, DC: NCWGE,2012.

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