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Gendering STEM Education

The gender gap in STEM around the world has led to increased media, policy, and institutional attention. Much of the focus has been on the percentages of women in STEM fields and the lack of women in leadership roles. Yet, the underrepresentation of women who are trained in STEM fields or are recruited into STEM jobs is only part of the equation. There is a critical need for deeper exploration about the embedded cultures of learning and research that are impeding innovation and inclusion in these fields. A process of gendering STEM education could uncover the underlying assumptions that are limiting the participation of women and other underrepresented groups, while also expanding the intellectual space for new STEM discoveries and applications. This could have transformative effects for social equity, economic prosperity, and the future of technology and innovation in both the Arab region and in the US. This project, launched by the University of California, Davis and Arab Region Consortium (UCDAR), is designed to incorporate gender analysis and feminist frameworks in STEM education at the university level in both the Arab region and the US. The project will enable committed STEM scholars from the Arab region and UC Davis to collaboratively develop new approaches to teaching STEM, and to drive the change that is necessary to achieve equality and diversity in these fields – in the classroom, in the lab, and in the workforce.

The proposed project is a collaborative, interdisciplinary, international initiative. The goal is to integrate gender analysis and feminist frameworks into STEM education in both the Arab region and the US. Specifically, the project will pursue the following objectives:

  1. Create an international dialogue, ongoing relationships, and a supportive professional network among STEM UC Davis and Arab region scholars to expand knowledge on gendered dimensions of STEM in university curricula and support women’s opportunities to play leading roles in STEM.

  2. Develop strategies to improve the climate for gender equality in STEM in the US and Arab region, and to integrate gender equality and feminist frameworks.

  3. Develop curricula and educational resources at the university-level to build knowledge on how to incorporate gender analysis and feminist frameworks into STEM education.

In 2017, UCDAR was awarded an Global Affairs Seed Grant to support this project. In spring 2018, UCDAR will convene a group of STEM scholars from UC Davis and UCDAR partner universities for a workshop to begin to develop a Gendering STEM Education curriculum and resources for universities.

Participating Faculty


PI and Faculty POC:

Suad Joseph

Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies

Director, UCDAR

Suad Joseph is Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies and scholar of Middle East gender and family studies. She founded a group leading to the establishment of the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association; she founded the Association for Middle East Women's Studies and co-founded its internationally recognized journal – Journal of Middle East Women’s Studies; she founded the Arab Families Research Group; and a six-university consortium. She co-founded the Arab American Studies Association and the Association for Middle East Anthropology. She was the president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, the main professional association for scholars of the Middle East. She co-founded the Women and Gender Studies Program and founded the Middle East/South Asia Studies Program at UC Davis. She is the recipient of numerous awards including: the UC Davis Prize for Undergraduate Teaching and Research, the largest such prize in the United States; the graduate mentor award by the Consortium for Women and Research, and the Diversity Leadership award and the Distinguished Scholarly Public Service Award by UC Davis. She is General Editor of the Encyclopedia of Women and Islamic Cultures- the first encyclopedia of its kind, which Choice, the magazine for librarians, ranked as “essential” for libraries. She has edited or co-edited 8 books, and published over 100 articles. For the past decade and half, she has offered training in proposal writing and research design to young scholars in the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. Dr. Joseph’s research has focused on the relationships between religion and politics, family and the state, gender and citizenship, children and rights, and culturally specific notions of selfhood.

Colleen Bronner

Lecturer PSOE, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Bronner joins the department as a Lecturer in Environmental Engineering. She has a rigorous engineering and environmental science background and earned her Ph.D. in Civil, Structural, and Environmental Engineering at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo in 2014. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Engineering from SUNY Buffalo in 2005 and her MS in Civil and Environmental Engineering from UC Berkeley in 2006. Dr. Bronner has a strong teaching record and has taught Environmental Restoration and Remediation of Aquatic Ecosystems and multiple sections of Engineering Risk and Economic Analysis for Engineers at Chico State, as well as three courses at SUNY Buffalo. Dr. Bronner also volunteers for service activities aimed at increasing diversity in engineering and is active in Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at the national level.

Natalia Caporale

Lecturer PSOE of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior,

College of Biological Sciences

Dr. Natalia Caporale's research interests center on issues of equity and diversity in science education, with a focus on understanding the barriers that minority and non-traditional college students face as they pursue their science degrees. Other research interests include: implementation and testing of teaching strategies to improve student learning in large lecture courses as well as exploring undergraduate's conceptions of biology. Originally from Argentina, Natalia pursued her Bs in Biology at the University of Buenos Aires and then came to the US where she pursued her PhD in Neuroscience at UC Berkeley focusing on the cellular mechanisms of learning and memory. Following her postdoctoral work with Dr. Linda Wilbrecht studying the effects of early-life adversity on cognitive development and decision making in rodents, Dr. Caporale decided to dedicate herself to undergraduate education, which she adored, and she worked as a lecturer at UC Berkeley and SFSU for several years while also being a Visiting Scholar in Dr. Kimberly Tanner’s lab, where she started her training in science education research.

Dawn Cheng

Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Dr. Cheng is an associate professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Davis with her PhD degree earned from the University of California, San Diego.  Her primary research area is in structural engineering with a strong focus on innovative materials and systems and renewal of infrastructures using advanced composite materials.  This is to address our nation’s challenging transportation needs via creating the next generation safe/long-lasting infrastructures in civil engineering field.  Her research group here at UC Davis works on design, mechanics and durability of innovative composite materials and systems, and the short-/long-term performance of such structural systems.  As a scholarly researcher and an educator, her educational career goal is to help establishing a program that integrates the wide research and teaching participation of underrepresented, minority and diversified student groups into training the next civil engineer generation in the cutting-edge multidisciplinary research field.  Prior to joining in UC Davis, Dr. Cheng was actively involved in the SWE chapter at UC San Diego, EERI and PEER Student Leadership Council (participated in many outreach activities such as the Research Experience for Teachers).  She has also been on the faculty advisor panel for the Society of Women Engineers Little Sister Day and has been the research advisor of more than 30 female students at UC Davis.  She has consistent track records of mentoring female and underrepresented students at UC Davis.

Adela de la Torre

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs

Vice Chancellor Student Affairs Adela de la Torre is an agricultural and health economist, and nationally recognized expert on Latino and Chicano health issues. De la Torre is a professor, director of the Center for Transnational Health, and former chair of the Department of Chicana/o Studies. de la Torre has served in academic leadership roles in the California State University system, the University of Arizona and, now, at UC Davis. In the California State University system, she served as chair of the Department of Chicano/Latino Studies and was selected by members of the California State University system to serve a one-year appointment as a management fellow. At the University of Arizona, she was director of the Mexican American Studies and Research Center, where she developed the first graduate program in Mexican American Studies and founded the College of Medicine's first federally funded Hispanic Center of Excellence. At UC Davis, she has successfully generated more than $19 million in external funds to support educational outreach, recruitment, health education and training programs. Most recently, de la Torre was awarded a $4.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Institute for Food and Agriculture to study ways to combat obesity in children of Mexican heritage. Dr. de la Torre's publications and research primarily focus on Chicano/Latino health issues, childhood obesity within rural Mexican origin communities, binational health, and science educational disparities and interventions for Chicana/o Latino students.

Denneal Jamison-McClung

UC Davis ADVANCE Program Coordinator, Associate Director of UC Davis Biotechnology Program,

Director of BioTech SYSTEM

Denneal Jamison-McClung leads the UC Davis ADVANCE team as Program Coordinator and is responsible for managing and supporting the program and initiatives.In this role, she supports Faculty Director Karen McDonald by facilitating communication and outreach, project programming, NSF reporting, and logistical needs of the ADVANCE program. Dr.Jamison-McClung is also Associate Director of the UC Davis Biotechnology Program, where she is involved in academic program administration for the Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology (DEB) doctoral degree program and coordinates the NSF CREATE-IGERT training program in transgenic plant technologies. As an educator, her primary focus is interdisciplinary training in the life sciences and engineering, with emphasis on biotech-related regulatory, policy, ethics, entrepreneurship and IP paradigms. She administers graduate programs that aim to develop a broad set of professional skills in doctoral students, enhancing their ability to work across disciplines, communicate effectively and move research discoveries from the laboratory into the marketplace. In addition to graduate education, Dr. Jamison-McClung is also an instructor for the UC Davis undergraduate University Honors Program (UHP) and serves as the Director of the BioTech SYSTEM, a regional consortium promoting K-14 STEM education. Dr. Jamison-McClung earned her PhD in Genetics with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology and her BS in Biological Sciences with a minor in Women’s Studies from UC Davis.

Linda Katehi

Chancellor Emeritus; Professor, Department of Engineering 

Linda Katehi’s work in electronic circuit design has led to national and international awards as both an educator and a technical leader, along with close to two dozen U.S. patents. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering in 1977 from the National Technical University of Athens, Greece, followed by master’s (1981) and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UCLA (1984). She is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, and has served as chair of the U.S. Secretary of Commerce’s Committee for the National Medal of Technology and Innovation, and chair (until 2010) of the President’s Committee for the National Medal of Science. In August 2009, Katehi became the sixth chancellor of UC Davis, and the first woman to hold this post. Katehi’s academic career included: professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she also became associate dean for academic affairs and graduate education in the College of Engineering; professor of electrical and computer engineering at Purdue University, where she became the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering; and provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Katehi has focused on expanding research opportunities for undergraduate students, and improving the education and professional experience of graduate students, with an emphasis on under-represented groups. Twenty-two of the 44 doctoral students who graduated under her supervision have become faculty members in research universities in the U.S. and abroad.

Karen McDonald

UC Davis ADVANCE Co-Principal Investigator and Faculty Director, Professor of Chemical Engineering

Dr. Karen McDonald leads the UC Davis ADVANCE Program as Co-Principal Investigator and Faculty Director and provides daily project leadership and management. In collaboration with Chancellor Katehi, Vice Provost Stanton, and Associate Director Shauman, Dr. McDonald is the main point of contact with the External Advisory Board, the Internal Advisory Committee, all initiative committees, Internal and External Evaluators and the NSF ADVANCE Program Officers.

She is also Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering and served as Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Engineering at UC Davis for 13 years prior to joining the UC Davis ADVANCE program. In addition, Dr. McDonald is the Principal Investigator of an NSF Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) training program entitled “Collaborative Research and Education in Agricultural Technologies and Engineering (CREATE)”, Co-Director of the NIH Training Program in Biomolecular Technology and Co-Director of NSF RESOURCE Graduate STEM Fellows in K-12 Education Program at UC Davis. Her research is focused on the development and optimization of plant-based expression systems and bioprocesses for production of recombinant proteins with applications to biofuel and biopharmaceutical production.

Dr. McDonald joined UC Davis in 1985 after completing her PhD in Chemical Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park, MD, an M.S. in Chemical Engineering at the University of California at Berkeley and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering at Stanford University. She was the first female faculty member in the Department of Chemical Engineering and one of the first few in the College of Engineering at UC Davis. As the PI of an initial NSF grant in 1991 and as Co-PI of an NSF grant in 1994, she helped establish the Women in Engineering Center at UC Davis (now part of WISE), developed novel hands-on courses on “How Things Work” to enhance retention of women engineering undergraduate students, and implemented faculty workshops on Exploring the Academic Environment for Women in Engineering.

Mona Monfared

Lecturer PSOE, Molecular and Cellular Biology

Mona Monfared is a Lecturer PSOE in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Dept. She teaches BIS102: Structure and Function of Biomolecules and BIS103: Bioenergetics and Metabolism. She received her Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Davis and did postdoctoral research at the Plant Gene Expression Center at UC Berkeley/USDA. She has been a faculty member of Santa Clara University, St. Mary's College, Holy Names College, and UC Berkeley Extension.  Her research interests include bringing writing into high enrollment biochemistry lecture courses, creating tools for assessment and alignment of learning outcomes with assessment and class activities, and creating a more inclusive classroom space in the large lecture format. 

Kalindi Vora

Director, Feminist Research Institute, UC Davis; Associate Professor, Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Kalindi Vora comes to Davis from UC San Diego where she served as Associate Professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies and as affiliate faculty of the Critical Gender Studies and Science Studies Programs. A graduate from the History of Consciousness program at UC Santa Cruz, Vora holds a position in the Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies program as well as serving as the Feminist Research Institute's Director.


Rola Khishfe

Associate Professor

Department of Education, American University of Beirut (AUB)

Dr. Khishfe is an associate professor at the Department of Education of the American University of Beirut. Before AUB, she taught at Loyola University Chicago. Rola Khishfe received a Ph.D. in science education from Illinois Institute of Technology; M.A. in science education from AUB; Certification in teaching secondary science from AUB; and a B.S. in biology from AUB. Rola has taught at both the school and university levels. Her school teaching includes experiences at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Her research interests include the teaching and learning about the nature of science. Additionally, she is interested in the relation of nature of science to argumentation in the context of controversial socio-scientific issues. She has published many articles in the International Journal of Science Education and the Journal of Research in Science Teaching. Dr. Khishfe is interested in research on scientific argumentation and feminism, understandings about the nature of science and feminism, decision making about socioscientific issues (social issues that are science-based as global warming, genetically-modified food, water fluoridation) and feminism.


Martina Rieker

Director, Institute for Gender and Women's Studies 
The American University in Cairo (AUC)

Martina Rieker is the Director of the Institute for Gender and Women's Studies in the School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. Rieker received her Ph.D. from Temple University in 1997. She served as Associate Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities from 2005-2009. She has been directing the Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies since 2006. As director of the Institute she is involved in the following: 

-Graduate Curriculum Development:  *Design and administration of one of the three first graduate gender studies programs currently affiliated with universities in the Middle East/ North Africa region. *Developed three distinct regionally specific MA areas of concentration: Gender and Justice in the Global South, Gender and Development in the Middle East, Gender and Women’s Studies in the Middle East/ North Africa

-IGWS Research Development:  Design and administration of a three-year research project on Gender and Region funded by the Ford Foundation. Emerging out of the project’s traveling workshops, four pilot research projects are scheduled to be concluded by the end of 2010:   Gender, Violence, Urban Space (Cairo, Mumbai); Labor, Gender, Migration (Morocco, Senegal, Egypt); Gender, Poverty, Economy (Yemen, Morocco, Egypt, India); Women's Rights: The Human Rights versus Civic Rights Framework (Egypt, India). A fifth pilot project titled Sexuality as Development is currently under consideration. 

-IGWS Network Development: Extensive experience in developing and facilitating south-south academic research networks through regional workshop series.  A neoliberal lifeworlds workshop series is currently in its third year with work on a publication currently underway.

Urban Poverty Research Network: 
-Founder and co-coordinator (with Kamran Asdar Ali) of the Shehr Comparative UrbanLandscapes Research Network. Founded in 2003 with a focus on issues of urban poverty in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa, the network to date has held 10 workshops (Khartoum, Karachi, Cairo, Lahore, Istanbul) bringing together scholars, researchers and activists from the three regions.  Workshop results are published in a variety of academic fori. 

Hanan Sabea

Associate Professor of Anthropology

American University in Cairo (AUC)

Hanan Sabea is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the American University in Cairo. Her research on dynamics of land and labor on plantations in colonial and postcolonial Africa, state-subject relations, and the production histories and memories, is part of her forthcoming monograph Present Pasts: Coloniality of Power and Laboring Subjects on Sisal Plantations in Tanzania. Her current research projects include shifting meanings of the political; meanings, affects and the aesthetics of revolutionary times; irregular migration; gender and regional gatekeeping constructs; and knowledge production in the social sciences. She has published articles in Africa, Journal of Historical Sociology, African Studies, Feminist Africa, and International Journal of African Historical Studies, International Journal of Working Class History, Cultural Anthropology. Additionally, she is co-editor of Visual Productions of Knowledge: Toward a Different Middle East (Cairo Papers in Social Science, American University in Cairo Press) and How to Read the Arab World? Alternative Perspectives from the Social Sciences. (Cairo: Al-Ain Publishing House); Academic Dependency and the Professionalization of the South: Perspectives from the Periphery (Spanish-English Volume published by University of Cuyo (Argentina) and Latin American Council for Social Science (CLACSO); and Oral Histories at the Times of Change: Gender, Documentation and the Making of Archives (Cairo: American University of Cairo Press). Dr. Sabea is interested in science on knowledge production in the social and human sciences, ethnography as a political project, and critical rethinking of the relations to and through “things”/objects in our everyday. Dr. Sabea is fascinated by the idea of how the laboratory and the classroom are sites of knowledge production, as well as sites for the making of subjects. She would like to explore the making of object-subject relations in science classrooms and labs and how this builds on “common sense” knowledge about the social in which such training and learning about “science” takes place. How young men and women are taught “science” in terms of the practices and conceptions of what is nature, what is the object and who is the subject, and how they relate to them, is a critical step to unpacking the making of gendered subjects in the social.

Rania Siam

Professor of Microbiology; Chair of the Biology Department

American University in Cairo (AUC)

Dr. Siam is the chair of the Department of Biology and a professor of microbiology at the School of Science and Engineering. During her tenure in the AUC biology department, she contributed to its positive evolution through initiating several programs. She pioneered the evolution of the biology department from a predominantly teaching department to a research and teaching department, conducting selected cutting-edge research that is critical to the region. She was the founding director for the graduate program in Biotechnology. She coordinated inter-disciplinary teaching, obtained external funding both through grants and fundraising to fund graduate students, performed program assessments and obtained national accreditation. Professor Siam holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology in 2001 from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She earned an MBBCh from Ain Shams University, Faculty of Medicine. Siam held several post-doctoral positions including McGill Oncology Group, Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She also held positions at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratories, La Jolla, CA, USA and The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, La Jolla, CA, USA. Recently she was a visiting scholar at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research. Dr. Siam’s research interests lie in understanding the environmental communities residing in harsh environments in the Red Sea, particularly the "polyextremophiles" that constitute the microbial assemblage of deep and hot brines pools in the Red Sea. She is also interested in biology education and fostering rigorous science education, to girls, in developing countries. The idea is to utilize biology to create thinkers and responsible ethical citizens.


Nawar Al-Hassan Golley


Literary and Cultural Theory/Gender and Women’s Studies

Nawar Al-Hassan Golley is Professor in literary and cultural theory and gender and women's studies at the American University of Sharjah, UAE. Al-Hassan Golley is the author of, Reading Arab Women's Autobiographies. Shahrazad Tells her Story (Texas University Press: 2003), editor of Arab Women's Lives Retold. Exploring Identity Through Writing (Syracuse University Press: 2007), co-editor of Mapping Arab Women’s Movements: A Century of Transformations from Within (American University in Cairo Press: 2012) and Guest Editor of HAWWA: Journal of Women of the Middle East and the Islamic World‘s Beyond Boundaries: Exploring Arab Women’s Autobiographical Narratives (Dec. 2014). Al-Hassan Golley is the founding Director of the United Arab Emirates Gender and Women’s Studies Consortium and organizer of its first conference on Gender and Women’s Studies in the Arab Region (March7-9, 2012). She has organized several international conferences and has presented many papers at international conferences such as the Berkshire on the History of Women, National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA) and the Middle East Studies Association (MESA). She has published book chapters and articles in prestigious scholarly journals. In both her research and teaching, Al-Hassan Golley adopts an interdisciplinary approach drawing on her research interests in Critical and Literary Theory, Autobiography Theory, Post-Colonial Literatures and Discourses, Feminism, and Arab Women’s Writings. Al-Hassan Golley is a regular commentator on gender-related issues in the media.


Dr. Rania Siam

Department of Biology Chair, Professor of Microbiology

Dr. Siam is the chair of the Department of Biology and a professor of microbiology at the School of Science and Engineering. During her tenure in the AUC biology department, she contributed to its positive evolution through initiating several programs. She pioneered the evolution of the biology department from a predominantly teaching department to a research and teaching department, conducting selected cutting-edge research that is critical to the region. Through aggressive and successful external research grants, she equipped a contemporary molecular biology laboratory and the first working high throughput genomic laboratory in Egypt. Different faculty members in the department and their graduate students are currently utilizing these laboratories, to pursue diverse research. She was the founding director for the graduate program in Biotechnology. She coordinated inter-disciplinary teaching, obtained external funding both through grants and fundraising to fund graduate students, performed program assessments and obtained national accreditation. The program reached full capacity a year and a half after it was initiated and is now one of the most successful graduate programs in our institution. Professor Siam holds a Ph.D. in microbiology and immunology in 2001 from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She earned an MBBCh from Ain Shams University, Faculty of Medicine. Siam held several post-doctoral positions including McGill Oncology Group, Royal Victoria Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She also held positions at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratories, La Jolla, CA, USA and The Scripps Research Institute, Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, La Jolla, CA, USA. Recently she was a visiting scholar at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Berlin Center for Genomics in Biodiversity Research.


Ghada Karaki

Assistant Professor

Civil Engineering, Birzeit University

Dr. Karaki joined Birzeit University as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering. Prior to coming to Birzeit, she worked as an Associate Researcher at the Bauhaus University - Weimar in Germany. Ghada received her B.A. in civil engineering from Birzeit University and her MSc. and Doctorate degree from Bauhaus University- Weimar in 2012. Ghadas teaching interests include structural analysis, _nite element methods and earthquake engineering. During her work in Birzeit, she has developed at the department of civil engineering a new structural mechanics lab, and numerical analysis lab. Her primary research interests are Performance-based earthquake engineering, rehabilitation of existing buildings, structural reliability and risk analysis, uncertainty and sensitivity studies instructural analysis and design, optimization in structural design.



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