Week 4: Online database searching

The OU has an excellent tutorial known as Safari relating to finding, organising and evaluating information. Guest access is permitted, although I am not certain how much of the site is available to non-OU students.

We are supposed to search for articles of relevance to women’, ‘science’, ‘technology’, ‘careers’, ‘career break’, ‘gender’ and ‘work’ and share one with the tutor group along with our explanation of why we felt it was worth reading.

I chose to search for women* AND science AND career* which gave me 121 hits to wade through and resulted in 29 articles I thought worth further investigation. I regard this as manageable, but also refined the list by the addition of tradition* which narrowed things down to 11 articles.

The article I was most interested in isn’t available in the OU library: Chemical & Engineering News is a journal put out by the American Chemical Society, and is available online.

Marasco, C A (2005) Mentornet supports women in science Chem. Eng. News 83 v.20: 55-56, 58, 60.

There are many barriers to women’s success in traditional male-dominated careers, such as science, maths and engineering. A global electronic mentoring network, MentorNet, has been working to alleviate these issues by pairing female graduates and undergraduates in these disciplines with mentors from industry, government and academia.

Mentornet was founded in 1997 by Carol B. Muller, formerly associate dean of engineering at Dartmouth College, Hanover, N.H. At Dartmouth College, she co-founded a Women in Science Project and was instrumental in setting up an e-mentoring scheme linking about 40 students with mentors. After leaving the college to move to California she put together a national advisory group, obtained grant money from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and Intel, and created a strategic and business plan. Mentornet now has 14 000 members, and about 2/3 of the mentors are women.
Benefits to mentees include the obvious one of support from their mentor, but also:

…strategies for studying and stress and time management, as well as career management.

Mentornet appears to focus mostly on providing mentors for students, but:

…the program will continue to expand to include all underrepresented groups and increase the number of people who participate. Other plans include developing auxiliary services, such as a registry of women faculty in science and engineering to complement the existing résumé database, adding a professional résumé database, and forging mentoring programs that might serve more early-career and other professionals.

In the UK, the Resource Centre for Women in SET offers a similar scheme which appears to be more widely applicable.


1 comment so far

  1. Ben Shaffer on

    Very interesting.

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