Women in Science Wednesdays

While women fill close to half of all jobs in the United States, they hold less than 25 percent of positions within the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. Even as college-educated women have increased their share in the overall workforce, our country’s science and technology sectors continue to lack a female presence.

To help close this gap, UNC research is sharing their stories — from the depths of the ocean to the crest of a mountain, with projects that impact our state, the nation, and the world. Carolina’s female scientists from all areas of STEM are making waves in the world of research. Join us each week as our scientists share their unique perspectives on the rigors of research, and advice for other women in their fields.

Mollie Yacano

Mollie Yacano is a PhD student in the Department of Marine Sciences within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences and a graduate research assistant at the Institute of Marine Sciences. Her research focuses on how the invasive plant species Phragmites australis modifies salt marsh ecosystem services such as the removal of excess nitrogen, and how their performance compares to native salt marsh plants and mudflats.

Anita Brown-Graham

Anita Brown-Graham is a professor of public law and government within the UNC School of Government and director of the school's ncIMPACT initiative. Her research focuses on creating opportunities and removing barriers to work-based economic prospects, particularly for residents in distressed communities.

Elizabeth Frankenberg

Elizabeth Frankenberg is the director of the Carolina Population Center. Her research focuses on how individuals and families are affected by unexpected events, how they adapt to new circumstances, and the ways that interventions can help.

Maya Weinberg

Senior Maya Weinberg is double-majoring in political science and Latin American studies within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Her research focuses on how climate change, globalization, and politics are shaping the next generation of corn farmers in the Central Valley of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Angelica Leigh

Angelica Leigh is a PhD student concentrating on organizational behavior within the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Her research focuses on the diversity in organizations such as the influence of racial and gender stereotypes on negotiation outcomes.

Claudia Flores

Claudia Flores is a project coordinator at the Environmental Finance Center within the UNC School of Government. Her research focuses on the policies surrounding climbing drinking water rates due to aging infrastructure.

Laura Ruel

Laura Ruel is an associate professor within the UNC School of Media and Journalism. Her research employs UX methods, usability testing, and eye-tracking technologies to provide insight into user behavior and cognitive processes.

Annie Simpson

Senior Annie Simpson is majoring in studio art within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. Using a mid-20th-century analog camera, she investigates how North Carolina’s socio-political and socio-economic changes affect the built landscape and the area’s material culture. Most recently, she compiled her photos into a series of artist books for her Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) project.

Thu-Mai Christian

Thu-Mai Christian is the assistant director for archives at the Odum Institute for Social Science. Her research focuses on how to make data management and sharing integral to normative research practice. She is also responsible for managing the day-to-day operations of the Odum Institute Data Archive.

Penny Gordon-Larsen

Penny Gordon-Larsen is a professor and associate chair for research in the Department of Nutrition within the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. She is also a fellow within the Carolina Population Center and the Center for Urban and Regional Studies. Her research integrates biology, behavior, and environment to understand, prevent, and treat obesity and its associated cardiometabolic diseases.