BITeS

22 May 2019

Women Untold--A Student Film that Celebrates Inclusive Science

Submitted by Sibrina Nichelle Collins, Lawrence Technological University

Many years ago, I was an energetic first year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry at The Ohio State University. I was truly excited about graduate school and achieving my new career goal of becoming an inorganic chemist. One particular summer day in my first year, I attended a luncheon with several other graduate students and the Department Chair, Dr. Matthew Platz, at the Faculty Club on campus. We had a very candid conversation about diversity and inclusion in the chemical sciences. That crucial conversation so many years ago has essentially led me on a path to gain a better understanding of why so few women and people of color pursue a successful career pathway in STEM. Needless to say, I am still on this path focused on “Inclusive Science” in my role as Executive Director of the Marburger STEM Center at Lawrence Technological University in Michigan.

Recently, the Marburger STEM Center collaborated with students enrolled in the Media Communications Program at Lawrence Technological University, to develop a documentary focused on the important contributions of women of color in STEM. Specifically, one of our amazing students, Marie Anne (Mae) Torres-Lopez, wrote, directed, and produced a new 30-min student film entitled, Women Untold, which is a powerful documentary. Mae assembled an awesome team of Lawrence Tech students to develop this film focused on the career achievements of chemist Alice Augusta Ball, who discovered a treatment for leprosy in the early 20th century, biologist Dr. Jewel Plummer Cobb, a cancer researcher and later a university president, and mathematician Dr. Evelyn Boyd Granville, who carried out calculations for NASA space missions. For more information, see the recent press release about the film,  Women Untold: https://mitechnews.com/steam/ltu-student-produced-documentary-on-women-of-color-in-stem-now-up-on-youtube/

Mae and her team used three of my published articles focused on Ball, Cobb, and Granville as the basis of this amazing film. This was my first time mentoring a student majoring in the humanities and it was a great experience. Every faculty member loves to see a student take ownership of a research project, and Mae and her team delivered a true gem of a project.

Why should you watch this student film? First, these three women of color in STEM made important contributions to our society, specifically focusing on treatments for diseases and nudging humankind into space. It is important that the next generation see images of themselves doing STEM. Second, this film is a shining example of a successful collaboration between STEM and the humanities disciplines! Amazing things can happen when STEM and humanities educators “play together” in the sandbox. Finally, it is a wonderful educational tool that can be used in both college and K-12 classrooms for STEM and the humanities disciplines. I encourage you to watch the film and share it within your network to help ‘move the needle’ with diversity and inclusion in STEM. And you should watch it because at the end of the day, we all love to celebrate remarkable student achievements! You can watch Women Untold at the following link on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T5196ZW9s-g&t=721s.