Young scientists/reassurances

Laurel S. Bernstein lbernstein at
Fri Jul 14 08:49:23 EST 1995

In article <9506138056.AA805686406 at> BARODR at ("BARBRA A RODRIGUEZ-THOMAS") writes:
>Subject: Young scientists/reassurances
>Date: 13 Jul 1995 23:09:23 -0700

>    In the ongoing discussion about alternative lifestyles in science, 
>lbernstein commented that there was nothing wrong with a young scientist 
>wanting reassurance about whether or not they would find a niche in science 
>despite their chosen lifestyle.  I not only congratulate lbernstein for her 
>sensitivity to this fact, but as a young scientist would like to add to the 

Thank you :-)

>    All of the women graduate students I speak with on a regular basis find 
>that their home labs provide an environment that is competetive and divisive 
>rather than being supportive of their growth as individuals/scientists.  One of 
>the most refreshing things about this newsgroup is that it lets us know that 
>there are scientists out there that value our feelings and allow us to express 
>our concerns in an open manner.  I don't think the importance of having female  
>role models can be underestimated, but due to the few opportunities that most 
>female grad. students currently have to interact with female professors, this 
>newsgroup is filling a very real void. (Note: Emotional support could be 
>provided as readily by male professors, but I just haven't seen it happen that 
>often.)  Thanks.

I agree entirely- this is a valuable resource. Female role models are often 
hard to find, and sadly, if there is only one woman in a department, she 
sometimes (in my experience- no flames please) has felt compelled to take on 
attributes which are not the ones we would most like to see in a mentor. For 
example, for fear of being seen as "too soft" she may be tough to the point of 
unfairness. This (perceived?) need to "out-macho" the men can be a harsh shock 
for the student who expects a nurturing environment. 
This group provides a much needed reality check and place to voice the fears, 
concerns and (I hope) joys of life in science.

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