Phenomenal Women panel encourages students in STEM fields

In 2014 the American Association for University Women (AAUW) reported that women working full time in the United States were paid 79 percent of men’s wages, contributing to the 21 percent wage gap.

On April 7, the Oakland University Minority Association for Premed Students (MAPS) hosted a panel discussion on the topic of phenomenal women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) professions.

The event was co-hosted and presented with the Oakland University Center for Multicultural Initiatives (CMI) Circle of Sisterhood as well as SPEAK (students promoting empathy, action and knowledge).

The event opened with a short video clip entitled “Feminist vs. Savage” which helped introduce the subject manner to those in attendance.

The clip featured a FOX News report with guest Gavin Mcinnes, author of “The Death of Cool: From Teenage Rebellion to the Hangover of Adulthood,” and his conversation with a female news broadcaster regarding women in the workforce.

This portion of the news program included extreme and misogynist views from Mcinnes as well as a variety of bias-ridden ideas behind the wage gap between men and women in the workforce.

Following the video, a representative from the MAPS executive board introduced the members of the panel.

The groups hosted special guests Professor Janell Hallauer M.S., and Professor Susan Bowyer Ph.D and MED physicist at Henry Ford Hospital.

Hallauer is a professor and special lecturer in the biological science department at Oakland University and an OU Alumni.  Hallauer has been nominated for the Teaching Excellence award and has received the Honors College Inspiration award in the past.

Bowyer is a MEG physicist in the neuromagnetism lab at the Detroit Henry Ford Hospital, and a professor in the physics departments at Oakland University and Wayne State University School of Medicine.

Both women took time to share their personal stories and experiences as women entering the STEM fields. They used their lives to spark discussion around the circle regarding the personal stories of those in attendance and how they may use these experiences and setbacks as motivation for their future endeavors.

“It’s important to remember that it you’re being treated differently, especially if it’s because you’re a female, it’s an issue with them and not an issue with you,” Hallauer said. “Use their words to motivate you and don’t give up. Prove them wrong.”

The event was hosted in honor of March’s Women’s History Month as a way to inspire individuals and bring awareness to controversies associated with gender stereotypes that women face each day.

“We thought hosting our panel discussion during a Circle of Sisterhood event would help make those in attendance feel comfortable in knowing they’re not alone,” Tonia Jones, MAPS president, said. “I think our panelists did a wonderful job inspiring and engaging those who attended about ways to handle and overcome the stereotypes in their respective fields within STEM that can apply in other fields as well.”

For more information on how to become involved with CMI Circle of Sisterhood, SPEAK and Maps, check out their pages on GrizzOrgs and MAPS instagram @ou_maps.