Young Scientists

Jessie Micales jmicales at
Mon Jul 17 07:18:36 EST 1995

>Although I had a male advisor in graduate school I never felt
>even a *hint* of difficulty that I might have attributed to being female.
>In my case I wondered if I might just be amazingly thick-skinned and not
>notice it -- But in fact I believe it truly did not exist.  Maybe we both
>are very lucky, because many others have experienced quite *different*
>realities.  I would hope that our more positive experiences are on their
>way to becoming the norm.....
>Carol M. Schumann
>cschuman at

I also had a very positive experience in graduate school with a male major 
professor.  I supposed he was ahead of his time, but gender was just not an 
issue.  He treated me like all of his other students, and even took me on 
trips with him (alone) for field work.  He sometimes mentioned that people 
might be gossiping about us, but he had firm religious beliefs, a good 
reputation in the community, and a very supportive (and trusting) wife.  My 
major problem in graduate school came from the women professors, one of 
whom was on my comittee.  She had had a falling out with my major 
professor, leaving me right in the middle.  It was awful!  Also, when I 
starting interviewing for jobs, I found that it was the female professors 
who asked all of the "illegal" questions about family, children, etc.  One 
suspects they were the deparment's spies.  

My post-doc work was also with men, and there I was also accepted as a 
colleague.  Gender was just not an issue, and I got along very well with 
both my boss and his technician.  The first hint of gender-problems 
occurred when I first entered the Forest Service.  Women scientists there 
were still something of a novelty, and my male coworkers didn't know how to 
treat me.  I guess there had been some recent problems with women turning 
in men for sexual harassment, and everyone was very wary.  People would 
stop talking when I entered the room, etc.  Eventually they became more 
comfortable with me, but I think my boss is still a little wary.  We now 
have other woman scientists in my group.  Some of them are good, but some 
of them are bad, and the bad ones make my job a lot more difficult.  After 
about 10 years at the lab, I think most people accept me for who I am.  
Sometimes one just had to put one's head down and do the job to get 
accepted into the "club."

Jessie Micales (jmicales at
Forest Products Laboratory
Madison, WI

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