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Press Release:


Former Astronaut Jan Davis was Keynote Speaker for FAU’s 2013 Women’s Leadership Forum

BOCA RATON, F la.  (April 12, 2013) – Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies in the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters recently hosted former NASA astronaut Jan Baker, Ph.D., as the keynote speaker for the fourth annual Women’s Leadership Forum, titled “Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.” Davis, who has logged more than 700 hours in space, spoke about the challenges she faced in the classroom and in the male-dominated aeronautics industry.

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.

Other speakers in the forum included FAU faculty members, and women in industry from the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, Max Planck Florida Institute, Florida Turbine Technologies and The Scripps Research Institute. The forum also included presentations by 16 college and high school students about their research in STEM.

“All of our attendees were inspired by what the presenters had to say,” said Josephine Beoku-Betts, director of FAU’s Center for Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies (CWGSS). “I even received messages from some high school students who attended stating how the forum was life altering for them in terms of thinking ahead about their career goals.”

The 2013 Women’s Leadership Forum was 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, the Spirit Health Group, and the Cultural Council of Palm Beach County.

For more information about the forum or about women’s studies at FAU, call 561-297-3865.


About Florida Atlantic University:
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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