CORVALLIS, Ore. – Writer Eileen Pollack, whose nonfiction book, “The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still a Boys’ Club,” explores the challenges facing women in the sciences, will visit Oregon State University’s Corvallis campus Oct. 21 for a pair of talks about her fiction and nonfiction work.
Pollack will speak about “The Facts Behind the Fiction: Research and Creative Writing” at 4 p.m. in the Journey Room in the Memorial Union, 2501 S.W. Jefferson Way.
Later that evening, she will speak about her 2015 book, “The Only Woman in the Room: Why Science is Still a Boys’ Club.” The talk begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Valley Library Rotunda, 201 S.W. Waldo Place. Both talks are free and open to the public. A question-and-answer session and book signing will follow the evening event.
“The Only Woman in the Room” explores the social, interpersonal and institutional barriers confronting women and minorities in the science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM fields. The book is based on Pollack’s own experience and six years of interviews with her former teachers and classmates, as well as dozens of other women who had dropped out before completing their degrees in science or found their careers less rewarding than they had hoped.
Pollack’s latest novel, “A Perfect Life,” was published in May. The book explores the moral complexities of scientific discovery and the sustaining nature of love in a novel about a young researcher at MIT who is obsessed with finding the genetic marker to a disease that threatens her family and future.
Her other books include “Breaking and Entering,” a New York Times Editor’s Choice selection, and “Paradise, New York.” Her work has appeared in “Best American Essays” and “Best American Short Stories.”
Pollack is a professor on the faculty of the Helen Zell MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of Michigan. She divides her time between Manhattan and Ann Arbor, Michigan. She earned her bachelor’s degree in physics at Yale University and later earned a master of fine arts from the University of Iowa.
Pollack’s visit is part of the 2016-17 Creative Writing Program’s Visiting Writers Series and SPARK, a yearlong series of events celebrating the convergence of the arts and science.
Sponsors for this event include the OSU President’s Commission on the Status of Women; the College of Liberal Arts; the School of Writing, Literature, and Film; OSU Libraries and Press; Oregon State ADVANCE, a National Science Foundation grant-funded program aimed at increasing the participation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers; Kathy Brisker and Tim Steele; and Grass Roots Books and Music.