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Women in Science

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Rachel Carson has become a symbol for change in the status of women in science. Some of Carson‚Äôs detractors emphasized her gender and her unmarried status, labeling her a ‚Äúhysterical woman,‚ÄĚ a ‚Äúpriestess of nature‚ÄĚ and a ‚Äúspinster.‚ÄĚ When changing her major from English to biology, Carson was warned that ‚Äúthere was no future for women in science apart from teaching in high schools or obscure colleges‚ÄĚ and that ‚Äúscience was too rigorous a field for women.

Image of 1963IN 1963 RACHEL CARSON WAS THE FIRST WOMAN TO RECEIVE THE AUDUBON MEDAL FOR CONSERVATION ACHIVEMENT.

 

Image of 2011Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) is a national, inter-disciplinary society of scientists and enthusiasts-- both men and women--who encourage and support women to enter and achieve success in science. Pictured here are several GWIS members at MSU.

 Image of Leslie Curren, Julie Fleischman, and Stephanie Miller

Image of Alycia Lackey, Angela Deardorff, and Diana Guzman

‚ÄĚWhen Carson worked as a scientific writer at the US Fish and Wildlife Service, most of the female staff were secretarial.

Today, many women choose careers in the sciences, and in some cases, outnumber men in university courses. In 2011, at Michigan State University women comprised 51% of undergraduates in the College of Natural Science and College of Agriculture and Natural Resources; 57% of undergraduates in Lyman Briggs College (residential college of sciences); and 85% of undergraduates in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Of the 2011 total freshmen at MSU, 52.5% were women.