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Heidi Blackburn

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Use Google to search “Women in STEM in higher education” and see what comes up. Researching women in STEM is extremely difficult because of the onslaught of public interest pieces, news sources, scholarly articles, blog commentaries, and dissertations written on the subject. Additionally, the word “stem” has several meanings in the scientific community from “plant stem” to “stem cell.” What if you were helping a teacher trying to write a grant to expose female students to careers in IT? Or helping a parent trying to advise a student club for women interesting in coding? In recent years, the spotlight on STEM education has given rise to hundreds of studies ranging from the recruitment and retention of women students to the workplace climate of women faculty and staff. This information was not easily available in one location for use in reports, press releases, curriculum, or grants. In 2018, I was awarded an ALA Carnegie Whitney grant for the creation of an online bibliography that provides easy access for librarians and researchers. With the help of a student research assistant, we created an online Women in STEM Research Guide of over 1,100 articles, books, and theses. Bibliographic themes cover recruitment, retention, barriers, stereotypes, inclusion and biases, campus culture, classroom experiences, and faculty workplace issues. Audience members will be encouraged to link to or refer patrons to this source in their own libraries. This bibliography will be easily discoverable by search engines so it would appeal to librarians from many different institutions where they could share this information.

I will engage conference participants by having them briefly conduct their own research on this topic, explore the Research Guide, and then consider what contacts and groups they might share the information within their own libraries. I will highlight the national grant application process, share the setbacks and lessons learned, the student worker hiring process, work flow procedures, and the future of the project. I will encourage participants to consider applying for an ALA Carnegie Whitney grant for their own projects and will readily answer questions about our experience.


This presentation was given at the ILA/NLA/NSLA Joint Conference 2019 in La Vista, NE.

2018-2019_H-Blackburn_WomenInSTEMinHigherEd_.pdf (3346 kB)
LibGuide Resources (pdf)

2018-2019_H-Blackburn_WomenInSTEMinHigherEd.html (639 kB)
LibGuide Resources (html)

2018-2019_H-Blackburn_WomenInSTEMinHigherEd_SourceCode.pdf (8128 kB)
LibGuide Resources (source code)

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