[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s22BkRKA1TU[/youtube]The number of women in faculty positions in the sciences lags far behind the percentage of female graduate and undergraduate students nationwide.  A campus-wide initiative at UNC called Working on Women in Science (WOWS) is trying to change that.

WOWS, launched in 2007, is designed to foster the recruitment and advancement of women in the sciences and medicine. By designating women as UNC WOWS Scholars, the honor recognizes their roles as outstanding scholars, teachers, mentors and leaders as they work to advance the professional development of women in the sciences at Carolina.

Jaye Cable
Jaye Cable

The College of Arts and Sciences has recently named its two newest WOWS scholars — Jaye Cable and Donna Surge.

Cable, chair of the curriculum for the environment and ecology and professor of marine sciences, is a marine scientist who studies the bio-geochemistry of subterranean estuaries.

Surge, associate professor of geological sciences, is a paleoclimatologist whose research focuses on analyzing shells as climate archives. 

Surge said the WOWS program is meant to decrease the “disconnect” between diversity at the faculty level and the student level.

She said, “Both undergraduate and graduate [populations] are more than 50 percent women, but it just doesn’t translate to the faculty level.”

Surge_Donna-Hong-China-1_edited (2)
Donna Surge

Laurie McNeil, professor of physics and astronomy, co-founded WOWS in 2007. 

“If we’re enhancing the number of talented people that we have and moving them into positions of leadership, that can only be good for the university …  and in particular for our female students,” McNeil said.  “It’s great for them to see people who look like them in the kind of positions they might aspire to.”

[ Story and video by Beth Lawrence ’12]
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