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‘Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics’ Subject of FAU’s 2013 Women’s Leadership Forum

Former Astronaut Jan Davis is Keynote Speaker

BOCA RATON, Fla. ( March 11 , 2013 ) – Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters will host the fourth annual Women’s Leadership Forum, titled “Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics,” on Friday, March 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Live Oak Pavilion in the Student Union, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

“With the growing importance of STEM in our economy and in our world, women are taking an increasingly important role in these industries,” said Josephine Beoku-Betts, director of FAU’s Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Former NASA astronaut, Jan Davis, Ph.D., who has logged more than 700 hours in space, will be the keynote speaker. U.S. Senator Bill Nelson will introduce Davis and her presentation titled, “I Need My Space! – a Woman’s Journey.” Davis began her career as an astronaut in 1987, serving on three Space Shuttle missions in the 1990s including the Shuttle’s 50th space mission in 1992 (Endeavour) and the first joint mission with a Russian cosmonaut in 1994 (Discovery). In addition to receiving multiple medals and awards from NASA, she was inducted into both the State of Alabama Engineering Hall of Fame and the Alabama Aviation Hall of Fame in 2001.

The forum will be divided into three panels. The first panel, titled “Showcasing FAU Research: Women in STEM,” will start at 9:30 a.m. and will feature FAU researchers. Topics will includeInspired by Microbes: Improving Lives Across the Globe with Science and Technology,” “HerStory of Science and Engineering,” “A Career in Physics,” “It’s a Wonderful Life: 60 Years of Study, Teaching, Research, and Family,” and “Using Molecular Biophysics to Detect Cancer.”

The second panel, titled “Breaking Barriers: Women Scientists in Industry,” will begin at 11 a.m. and will include the following presentations:

  • Natalie Geary, Ph.D., executive vice president of the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation: “Mumbai to Miami: The Ever-Changing Landscape of Women in Medicine”
  • McLean Bolton, Ph.D., research group leader, Max Planck Florida Institute: “Mapping Brain Circuits in Neuropsychiatric Disorders”
  • Shirley Brostmeyer, chief executive officer, Florida Turbine Technologies, Inc: “Workplace Diversity is a Strategic Advantage for Engineering Firms”
  • Dawn Johnson, Ph.D., senior director for Florida operations, The Scripps Research Institute: “Other Duties as Assigned: The Crooked Path to a Career in Science Management"

The afternoon panel, titled “Broadening Understandings of Women in STEM: Research in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts & Letters,” will begin at 1:45 p.m. and will feature women faculty within the College. Topics will include “Global Health Diplomacy: Bridging Traditional Medicine and Conservation Development in South Asia,” “Discovering a New Species,” “Those of Us Who wanted to Do Mathematics Had More or Less to Swim Against the Current: Case Study of a Nigerian Mathematician,” “At Home in the Air: Domesticity and the Careers of Pioneer Women Aviators,” and “Women’s Political Activism in Modern Latin America.”

There also will be a poster exhibition on display throughout the day of works by university and high school students.

The 2013 Women’s Leadership Forum is sponsored by the FAU Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Advisory Council, Office of the Provost, Office of the Vice President for Strategic Planning and Information Technology, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Multicultural Programming, Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, Sun-Sentinel, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

Admission for the forum is $50, which includes lunch. Cost for FAU faculty and staff is $25 per person. There also will be a VIP breakfast with Jan Davis from 8 to 8:45 a.m. Admission for the breakfast and forum is $100. Pre-registration is required. For more information, call 561-297-2337 or visit For more information about the forum or about women’s studies at FAU, call 561-297-3865.


Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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