Call for Interviewees: Women in STEMM

The mountains are still there, and still made of rocks, hoorah! But more on that later. Right now, a science and tech writer in my extended social network just landed a book deal on women’s experiences in science, technology, engineering, math, and medicine (STEMM). She’s looking to interview women and girls from all walks of sciencehood; if this sounds interesting to you, details are below the fold.

The book is called Where the Girls Aren’t; here’s her description of the project:

Women may not be as innately gifted in scientific and mathematical ability as men-or so Larry Summers, former president of Harvard, suggested in a 2005 speech. His comments brought the issue of women’s lack of participation in science and engineering outside academic circles and into the public eye, at least for a few months. But now that the fervor has died down, it’s time to take a step back and consider what it is actually like to be a woman in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine (STEMM). Where the Girls Aren’t does precisely this.

While the status of women in STEMM has improved in the past few decades, it has been a slow process with many ups and downs. Programs aimed at girls interested in science and Title IX, which prohibits discrimination in universities, have helped increase the number of STEMM degrees awarded to women. But the number of women is still shockingly low in some disciplines, such as physics and computer science, and at the highest ranks in all fields. Where the Girls Aren’t explores the many factors contributing to this, including subtle and not-so-subtle gender bias that begins in childhood and continues throughout a STEMM career; the isolation of women in fields full of men; and the challenges of balancing marriage and a family with a career in STEMM. The book also looks at what the studies of gender and intelligence really say about possible genetic influences on scientific and mathematical ability.

While the overall picture of women in STEMM may look negative, some women have overcome obstacles and thrived. Women have won Nobel Prizes, invented lifesaving drugs and other products, and helped institute policies and programs that have encouraged more women to enter STEMM. Where the Girls Aren’t describes the successes along with the challenges to give a balanced view of life in the lab. It also explores what can and should be done on individual, institutional and political levels to make STEMM careers more welcoming for women.

Written in accessible language rather than scholarly jargon, Where the Girls Aren’t will present a real picture of women in STEMM. The author will combine information gathered from research studies with actual women’s experiences. Interviewees will include both women who have become frustrated and left STEMM, as well as women who have made significant contributions to it. The author will also interview students of all ages, from elementary to graduate school, to learn what inspires and encourages them in STEMM–or why they would rather do anything else.

And about interviewing:

I need:

  • female undergrads
  • female graduate students
  • female professors
  • female doctors
  • women doing STEMM research in industry, at museums, at nonprofits, and in government labs
  • women who are using their STEMM background in non-research careers, such as science/technical writing, K-12 and community college teaching, scientific sales, science policy, IP law, etc
  • women who started out interested in STEMM, perhaps even received a degree in it, but are now working on a degree or pursuing a career in an unrelated field
  • women who started out interested in STEMM and are now in the social sciences
  • women in all stages of their careers
  • women who are having lots of success and women who are struggling
  • women who attended small colleges, large universities, sci/tech schools, and all-female institutions
  • women who live and study and work all over the country
  • women of all ages, races, and socioeconomic backgrounds
  • women who are single, married, and divorced, with kids and without
  • foreign women who have studied or worked in the United States for at least five years

I also need:

  • K-12 girls who are interested in STEMM
  • K-12 girls who dislike STEMM
  • Parents of K-12 girls
  • K-12 teachers who will allow me to observe their science/math classes

I expect interviews to run 1-2 hours, depending on age and life experience. They will be tape recorded so that I can quote with accuracy. In the book I’ll refer to people by first names only and change identifying details if requested. Interviews with out-of-towners will mostly take place via phone because Seal is a small press and my advance is tiny. I’m hoping to catch some out-of-town interviewees when they’re in the [San Francisco] Bay Area for conferences (e.g., Moscone Center is hosting the American Chemical Society, the American Society for Microbiology, and the American Geophysical Union in the next few months). Trips to Baltimore/DC, Phoenix/Tucson, LA, Boston and Seattle might happen. And if you know anyone in NYC who wants to be interviewed July 22/23, or anyone in Chicago available July 24/25 or 29, I’ll be in those cities on those dates.

Tell your friends. Tell your family. Tell your colleagues. Anyone who’s interested in being interviewed can email me at linleywriter at mac dot com or call me at [phone number omitted for now, if you want it, let me know –yami] for more information or to set up a time. Or you can give me their contact information, and I’ll get in touch.

Thank you!

I’d be happy to pass on contact information for anyone interested. And all you bloggers, spread the word!

Trackbacks & Pings

  1. Dr. Shellie :: Get interviewed! :: July :: 2006 on 18 Jul 2006 at 5:06 am

    […] A writer is looking for women to talk about their experiences with science for an upcoming book. Interviewees will include both women who have become frustrated and left STEMM, as well as women who have made significant contributions to it. The author will also interview students of all ages, from elementary to graduate school, to learn what inspires and encourages them in STEMM–or why they would rather do anything else. Read yami’s post for details. Comments » […]

  2. Thus Spake Zuska on 19 Jul 2006 at 11:04 pm

    Book Project Call For Interviewees: Women in STEMM…

  3. Sabine’s Garden » Women in Science on 22 Jul 2006 at 7:37 pm

    […] Posted by sabine | […]

  4. Rosetta Stones on 24 Jul 2006 at 5:47 am

    Call for interviews: women in STEMM…

    Yami at Green Gabbro, a fellow geoscientist and awesome blogger, has passed along a call for interviews of women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine, including women trained in those fields who no longer work in them, and wom…

  5. Coming Down from the Link Rush on 27 Jul 2006 at 11:01 pm

    […] I love it when the stars align and people come pouring in from several corners of the blogosphere (or trickling, I suppose; it all depends on your perspective), though perhaps it was just spillover attention from my housemate’s friend’s fabulous book idea and not a sudden burst of appreciation for my brilliance. Regardless, I see at least three of you have just subscribed to the feed – hi! If you’re not too shy, please have a seat, introduce yourselves, put your feet up on the coffee table. All threads are open threads here, but this one is especially so. […]

  6. Women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine — get interviewed. | Adventures in Ethics and Science on 31 May 2014 at 2:22 pm

    […] Yami at Green Gabbro puts out a call for interviewees for a book project on women in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine (STEMM). […]


  1. wolfa wrote:

    Not sure if us weirdos to the north are included, but I am one of the started out in science and left at the end of undergrad people.

  2. Sara wrote:

    I’d love to participate! And will definitely give this a mention at my blog.

  3. femalecsgradstudent wrote:

    I can be in Chicago on the days listed. I would love to participate. Please send me more info. Thanks for the post.

  4. geraldine wrote:

    Would a European grad student in molecular biology be welcome to participate? I’ll be in San Francisco in late September for a conference…

  5. Wren wrote:

    Pass my info on. I am frantically busy through August, but once classes start, I’ll have more free time.

  6. immunokid wrote:

    I’m interested, but I’m from Australia. I am currently a grad student at a US institution, though. Does that count?

  7. Tara wrote:

    I’m interested as well–thanks!

  8. Bekki wrote:

    I would love to participate, please pass my email along for the interview or send me the contact information.

  9. antares wrote:

    This sounds really interesting and I would be really happy to participate. Thanks!

  10. Helen H wrote:

    I’m an engineer in construction; my daughter just graduated with a biology degree from UMass. We live in the Boston area, but I am currently on long term travel to AR. I also have a BA in English. I have passed this on to my daughter, but don’t know if she will be interested. I’ll see about passing it along to some of my coworkers as well.

  11. Kristin wrote:

    I’m a female ex-physicist who has a whole bunch of experience and opinions about this. She should check out my blog to start; I also have an essay I’ve written which should be in a forthcoming anthology.

  12. Kristin wrote:

    Oh, and I live in SF.

  13. Gretchen Cox Sanders wrote:

    I’m the “Science Goddess of Eighth Grade Scientists” at a Middle School in Topeka,KS. Currently a Middle School Science Educator,grad student,mom,Friend of Bill W., etc.
    Would love to “chat!” and I have lots of STEMM friends.

  14. Kay Stoner wrote:

    My name is Kay Stoner, and I’m a web architect and software engineer, and I’d love to be interviewed for the book.

    I did poorly in the high school computer programming class I took in 11th grade (I believe because my learning style was very different, and I don’t do well in classrooms). But after dropping out of college (my double major was Anthropology/German), I found work in the first wave of truly computerized offices back in 1988, and I haven’t looked back.

    I’ve been a technical writer, a web developer, a software engineer, and
    I’m now running my own podcasting company,, whilst I
    contract as a client-side web developer for startups. I’ve been working in high-tech, on and off (with a brief stint at a law firm) since 1992, and I always have my hand in some sort of technical activity — both professional and casual.

    I code for fun. It relaxes me.

    I’m also working on a book of my own, right now, “Bring Me the Head of Opal Mehta”, which ties in the plagiarism scandal of Kaavya Viswanathan with largely unreported failures of Indian offshore outsourcing to “help” the companies that turn to them, to truly and genuinely grow. The book will be available in early August through

    Check out for details on how it’s coming

    I hope I can contribute!

  15. Gretchen Cawthon wrote:

    I love this idea! I will mention it on my site as well! I have several community members that would be interested.

  16. Mel wrote:

    Neat. Thanks for posting this!

  17. alexa wrote:

    I’m British, based in Thailand, and would be happy to do a phone interview. I’m a biologist, now working in education technology.

  18. Sabine wrote:

    This is great, I just forwarded this post to about fifteen women I know who would be great candidates.

  19. Susan Stone wrote:

    I am a geoscientist working for a small oil and gas exploration company in Texas. I would like to participate and share some of my experiences the last 30 years.


  20. angiebean wrote:

    I would definitely be interested in being interviewed. I’m a Post Doc (married with a baby) in Life Sciences who is currently looking for a new career. I love doing research but, I am tired of the environment and the lack of social skills held by many of my colleagues.

    I going to pass this along to several female scientists I know.

  21. Kristine wrote:

    If it’s not too late, I would be happy to be interviewed. I live in Portland (OR) but can easily get to Seattle. I am a physician in my 6th (yes, 6th) year of residency. I’ve trained in OB/Gyn (women’s health??) and medical genetics (definitely not a girl’s club).

  22. yami wrote:

    Rockin sockin, everyone! I’ve packaged your comments and sent them off to the author, hopefully she’ll be in contact with at least some of you.

  23. Chaithere wrote:

    I would love to participate in your study. I live in a mid-atlantic state, so I guess we can meet by phone. I am a assistant professor in Computer Science/Networking. I am married with grown children, and post graduate.
    I have not been in education my entire career. I was in industry until I had children.

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