In higher education, the number of women taking STEM courses and pursuing degrees in scientific fields is increasing, but overall in the U.S. programs like computer sciences and engineering are overwhelmingly male-dominated, according to the NSF.
At UNG, a number of faculty, staff, alumnae, and students who are successful in the field are actively mentoring and encouraging students and other women in STEM. As the beginning of an occasional series to be shared through UNG’s Where I Lead website, UNG Magazine profiles eight inspiring Women in STEM.
Dr. Allison Bailey
Associate professor of environmental studies and geography in the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis (IESA)
Instrumental in UNG’s Tree Campus USA designations; $100,000 EPA grant to manage native and invasive vegetation for healthy forests and waterways for a two-year timeframe
Areas of Expertise
Environmental communication, geospatial technologies, nature education, community engagement, collaboration with environmental nonprofit organizations
Ed.D. in higher education administrative leadership, Argosy University; graduate certificate in geographic information systems, University of West Georgia; M.A. in speech communication, University of Louisiana at Monroe; B.A. in English education with a minor in history, University of Louisiana at Monroe
TRELIS awarded her a grant to conduct a professional development workshop for women in the geosciences in Georgia, and she collaborated with professors from the University of Georgia and Valdosta State University to facilitate the one-day workshop during the fall 2018 semester.
Bailey chairs the Georgia Geospatial Technical Advisory Committee, which provides guidance on standards for geospatial data used by government agencies and industries statewide. She chairs the Education Committee for Georgia URISA, the state professional association for geospatial sciences, and coordinates the Georgia K-12 geospatial competition.
Undergraduate student pursuing a degree in physics
That experience helped Hamilton stand out among applicants to earn an internship at a prestigious German research institute. She was one of 300 international students selected for the RISE
“The internship at the Max Planck Institute expanded my cultural horizons, my international contacts, and my base knowledge in the realm of astrophysics,” said Hamilton, who lives in Dahlonega, Georgia, with her 5-year-old daughter. “I returned from the experience with a greater knowledge of what sub-field I want to focus on for my career path and what it will entail.”
Dr. Katayoun Mobasher
Professor of geology in the Lewis F. Rogers Institute for Environmental and Spatial Analysis (IESA) and geosciences coordinator
Multiple publications and presentations of research in her areas of specialty and in education; several grants, including Innovative Teaching Program Project Grant and Presidential Incentive Awards; active in mentoring student projects in programs such as UNG’s Inaugural Student Start-Up FUSE program
Petrology, structural geology, GIS, remote sensing
Ph.D. in chemistry with concentration in structural geology, Georgia State University; M.S. in petrology, Azad University; B.S. in geology, Shahid Beheshti University
“Every day we hear about some aspect of geology in the news – such as earthquake activities, volcanic eruptions, oil supplies, threats from landslides, and water supply contaminations,” she said. “I hope my students gain an appreciation of geology around them and learn how earth processes and materials affect our lives and the ways humans affect the Earth. I want them to understand that we must be responsible for the Earth and its continuous growth and sustainability.”
Mobasher is also very active in the community often providing presentations and speaking engagements to local organizations such as the Elachee Nature Science Center, the Atlanta Geological Society, U.S. Geological Survey, and the Gainesville Newcomers Group.
Dr. Linda Purvis
Assistant professor of biology/poultry science, alumna
Ann Matthews Purdy Outstanding UNG Faculty Award 2016; Teaching Excellence Award 2016; restarted poultry program from which she had graduated; Young Alumni Achievement Award from UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences 2018
Poultry science, infectious diseases, virology, immunology
Ph.D. in science education, University of Georgia; M.S. in infectious disease, University of Georgia; B.S. in poultry science, University of Georgia; A.S. in poultry science, UNG
“I had a chicken skeleton. That was about it. No resources, no textbooks, nothing,” she said. “I wanted to build that program back up, and the biology department here was very encouraging and wanted that to happen.”
Through her connections with the University of
“I’m really passionate about helping students figure out what they’re really good at and helping them find a job and a career that will fit that,” Purvis said.
Dr. Miriam Segura-Totten
Professor of biology, Harry B. Forester Eminent Scholars Chair
“Inspiring Leader in STEM,” INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine; Regents’ Award for Excellence in Teaching; UNG Distinguished Teaching Award; research funding from National Institutes of Health, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and others
Cell biology, molecular biology, scholarship of teaching and learning
Ph.D. in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine; B.A. in molecular biology, Princeton University
“I got into Princeton University. I chose to attend there because it had a good community of Puerto Ricans. It was beautiful and looked like nowhere that I had been before,” she said.
While many postgraduates go into research fields, Segura-Totten veered into academe. She wanted to
“Mentoring students is having those conversations … about finding their passions and pursuing them,” she said.
Segura-Totten has succeeded there. In 2017, she won an Inspiring Leaders in STEM award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The award is based on a professor’s efforts to inspire and encourage a new generation of young people to consider careers in STEM through mentoring, teaching, research, and successful programs and initiatives.
Dr. Dianna Spence
Head of Department of Mathematics, professor of mathematics
Co-primary investigator and primary investigator for two multiyear NSF grants on statistics education; co-inventor on two software patents; 19 peer-reviewed publications and more than 60 conference presentations during UNG career
Statistics education; data science; statistical programming; discrete mathematics; graph theory
Ph.D. in mathematics education, Emory University; M.S. in computer science, Georgia State University; B.A. in mathematics, William & Mary University
Always interested in becoming a teacher, Spence initially taught computer science after college and then spent some time working in the computer industry as a software engineer at a time when few were women and customers weren’t used to that.
“I told my grad school professor, whose main field of research was self-efficacy, that I had a little bit of that ‘impostor syndrome’ because I was in the class with all of these really smart people and I wasn’t sure I was one of them,” Spence said. “He told me, ‘Everybody feels that way. That’s how everyone who gets to that level of success feels.’ He was very clear to me about how I needed to ignore that and just push through.”
Undergraduate student pursuing a chemistry degree
S-STEM Scholar; recipient of National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) at Florida State University
“It has allowed me to work fewer jobs outside of school and focus more on getting the grades needed to get into graduate school, and different experiences that also help such as working as a teaching assistant for the chemistry department and doing research for multiple semesters,” Storck said.
Funded at UNG through the NSF, the program aims
Storck said the program has opened doors for research, conferences and graduate school. The senior from Buford, Georgia, pursuing a degree in chemistry got an earlier start on her research than most students thanks to S-STEM. Her research seeks to improve chemistry labs for UNG students.
Storck also was selected for an NSF Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) to research light and matter with a Florida State University faculty member for 10 weeks.