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 under-representation 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 inclusive participation 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 Spring 2017, UCDAR was awarded an Global Affairs Seed Grant to support the Gendering STEM Education project. The Seed Grant had matching funds from the following UC Davis colleges: the College of Letters and Science, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, the College of Engineering, and the Division of Student Affairs. UCDAR also received matching funds from the American University of Beirut, American University of Cairo, Lebanese American University and Birzeit University. Throughout the Fall of 2017, the UC Davis team met weekly under the leadership of PI, Suad Joseph, to develop the gendered intersectional framework for the project. In March 2018, UCDAR convened a group of STEM scholars from UC Davis and UCDAR partner universities for a workshop, in Davis, to begin to develop a Gendering STEM Education work-plan. Subsequent workshops have been held in October 2018, February 2019, and December 2019. The research team is in the process of applying to foundations to fund the research component of the project. 


UC Davis and Arab Region Consortium (UCDAR)

Gendering STEM Education


Participant Bios and Research Interests


American University of Beirut


Livia Wick image

Livia Wick Ph.D.

Associate Professor and Chairperson

Sociology, Anthropology and Media Studies Department, American University of Beirut (AUB)

Dr. Wick studies the political and cultural dimensions of medicine and childbirth in and around urban centers of the Arab World. Her research in Palestine tracks how these environments become objects for the re-organization of infrastructure in times of crisis and war, the appearance of different professional bodies, knowledge and practices, and the sites for new forms of cultural expression. She is an anthropologist at the American University of Beirut. Dr. Wick holds a PhD in the History, Anthropology and Science, Technology and Society from MIT.


American University in Cairo

Martina Rieker Ph.D.

Assistant Professor and Director or the Cynthia Nelson Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies, American University of Cairo (AUC)

Martina Rieker is the Director of the Institute for Gender and Women’s Studies at The American University in Cairo. The Institute hosts an MA program in Gender and Women’s Studies in the Middle East/ North Africa with three specializations: Gendered Political Economies, Gender and Women’s Studies in the Middle East/ North Africa and Geographies of Gender and Justice.  Current research, with Hanan Sabea, includes Gendered Urban Precarities: A Knowledge Network (Cairo, Cochabamba, Georgetown, Ibadan, Mumbai,  Ramallah, Shanghai)  with York University (Social Science and Humanities Research Council (Canada) 2017-2023); Remaking Societies, Remaking Persons: A Supranational Forum for Memory Work with University of Western Cape, University of Ghana Legon, and Makerere University. (Mellon Foundation, 2018-2021).  Publications include: Handbook on Gender and Cities, Linda Peake and Martina Rieker, Editors (Elgar, forthcoming 2019); Rethinking Feminist Interventions into the Urban. Linda Peake and Martina Rieker, Editors. (Routledge 2012); Comparing Cities: Middle East/ South Asia. Kamran Asdar Ali and Martina Rieker, Editors. (Oxford University Press 2010); Urban Margins: Envisioning the Global South. Guest Edited Issue by Kamran Asdar Ali and Martina Rieker, Social Text 95 (2008); Gendering Urban Space in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa. Kamran Asdar Ali and Martina Rieker, Editors. (Palgrave Press 2007). 


Hanan Sabea Image

Hanan Sabea Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Sociology, Egyptology and 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 AfricaJournal of Historical SociologyAfrican StudiesFeminist 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. How are teachings and talk about tools, experiments, materials in the lab and the classroom articulated with what assumptions about sociality and the relation between humans and non-human or subject/object; how is the mess in sorting out the details of that which is labeled nature, science, objective, subjective, etc. erased in the attempt to establish the premise of operating with objects and concepts of science? How is contingency accounted for and explained? How do objects then create relations in the lab and the classroom that get to be organized around already prevailing understandings about power that populate the larger social worlds in which they operate, and how can a focus on object agency (following Latour) enable a different conceptualization of relations among participants in the lab and the classroom. Her overall interest would be pursuing ethnography of science classrooms and labs, and in archival research (both oral and written archives) of histories of production of relations to objects and people in labs and classrooms, should complement the research in classrooms. She proposes a synthesis between feminist trajectories and actor-network theory (ANT), with special focus on object-subject relations, social messiness in everyday practices, and a shift in knowledge metaphors to how we know, how we relate and sense rather than merely how we see and hear.


Rania Siam Image

Rania Siam Ph.D.

Professor and Chair

Department of Biology; 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. 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 fund raising to fund graduate students, performed program assessments and obtained national accreditation. The program reached full capacity one and half year after it was initiated and is now one of the most successful graduate programs in our institution. Professor Siam holds a PhD 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. Twenty-five brine pools have been described to date in the Red Sea, however, knowledge of the microbial communities that inhabit these pools, and how these organisms are affected by and contribute to the geochemical properties of their extreme environments, remains sparse. My research team explores the unique microbial communities in these environments to understand the microbial evolution of such microbes that allow them to survive under harsh environments. Additionally, they exploit such unique microbial communities to discover enzyme with unique properties that can be used in biotechnology. 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.

Birzeit University

Ghada Karaki Image

Ghada Karaki Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Civil Engineering, Birzeit University (BZU)

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. Ghada’s 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 in structural analysis and design, optimization in structural design.

Dr. Karaki is interested in performance-based seismic assessment which has developed in the last two decades. The main aim of performance-based assessment is to identify the damage pattern in buildings such that an educated decision can be made regarding the seismic risk and the needed strengthening of the building. Buildings designed and constructed in Palestine prior to the introduction of seismic codes in late the 1990s are of need of examination regarding their structural behavior. Furthermore, the design of new buildings emphasizes on the additional seismic forces in the analysis stage and deemphasizes the importance of detailing in the construction stage, which will lead to a higher level of uncertainty in behavior of the structural system in an earthquake. Performance-based seismic assessment offers a consistent framework for engineers to evaluate how a building may behave in an earthquake, in particular when a building that does not meet a number of conventional prescriptive requirements and responds in a highly non-linear manner with potentially mixed-ductility response.

Encouraging women researchers and engineers to lead in the different areas advances their engineering and research careers. Furthermore, this wide spectrum of areas allows women to work with different groups of people e.g. international researchers, local engineers and planners, and municipality and government officials, to build a wide network of relations, and to empower women who already are part of these groups. It also showcases women’s abilities, and their impact on the anticipated results. This gives women researchers and engineers the platform to present their work to the society and establish a role model for other young women and their families, which forces change regarding women in engineering.

Lebanese American University

Iman Osta Image

Iman Osta Ph.D.

Assistant-Dean and Professor

Department of Education, Lebanese American University (LAU)

Iman Osta is an associate professor of mathematics and computer education. She is, since October 2014, Assistant-Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. She has chaired the Department of Education at LAU from October 2010 to September 2012. She is currently Acting Chair of the Department of Education. 
Dr. Osta is a Fulbright Fellow. She was affiliated, in Fall 2013, to the University of Maryland (UMD) as a “Fulbright Visiting Scholar” to conduct research in collaboration with the team of the Mathematics Education Center at UMD.
She holds a PhD in “Didactique des Mathématiques et de l’Informatique” and a DEA in IMSS (Informatique et Mathématiques en Sciences Sociales) from Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble; a DEA and “maîtrise” in Social Sciences, and a CAPES in mathematics from the Lebanese University. Throughout her career, she has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in mathematics education, curriculum design, research methodology, educational technology, STEM Education, and others in the fields of pre- and in-service teacher preparation for teaching mathematics, as well as computer education for teachers.

At the national level, Iman Osta contributed to the development of the Lebanese curriculum for informatics and chaired the national Evaluation Committee for the math and informatics curricula. From 2007 to 2011, she led and worked on a collaborative project with Michigan State University for developing three courses in Educational Technology, with sensitivity to the gender differences regarding males’ and females’ abilities and styles of using technology, as well as the social and educational biases regarding this issue.

She has published research work on the use of computer technology in the teaching and learning of geometry, on student learning assessment and curriculum evaluation, on the national Lebanese math exams, and on the learning of algebra.



University of California, Davis


Linda Bisson Image

Linda Bisson Ph.D.

ADVANCE Associate Director, and Policy and Practices Review Initiative Co-Director

Professor and Maynard A. Amerine Endowed Chair, Viticulture and Enology

Dr. Bisson is a Professor and Geneticist in the Agricultural Experiment Station in the Department of Viticulture and Enology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences. She co-chairs the Policy and Practices Committee of the ADVANCE program. She served for several years as chair of the CAP Oversight and Appellate Committees. Dr. Bisson served as Department Chair from 1990-1995. She was awarded Honorary Research Lecturer for the 50th Annual Meeting of the Society of Enology and Viticulture (2000). Dr. Bisson held the Maynard A. Amerine Endowed Chair in Viticulture and Enology from 1997 to 2008. Dr. Bisson is the Science Editor for the American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. Dr. Bisson received the Excellence in Teaching Award from UC Davis Extension (2002), the Excellence in Education Award from Associated Students of UCD (2004), and the DEVO Excellence in Teaching Award (2012) and was the recipient of the James M. Craig Lectureship from Oregon State University (2011). The textbook that she co-authored, “Principles and Practices of Winemaking” won Le Prix en Oenologie from the Office International de la Vigne et du Vin (1998). Dr. Bisson has served for three years as Chair of the Academic Senate, Davis Division, of the University of California. Dr. Bisson’s main area of research is the investigation of utilization of carbon and energy sources in yeast, and her work led to the identification of the first eukaryotic glucose sensor, the SNF3 gene, and to the discovery the HXT (HeXose Transporter) genes of Saccharomyces.


Clare Cannon Image

Clare Cannon Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

Department of Human Ecology, UC Davis

As Assistant Professor in the Department of Human Ecology at the University of California, Davis Dr. Cannon is excited to continue her research in applying feminist theories and methods to issues and problems related to social inequalities, primarily related to the environment. She currently has two main research lines:

1)      applying theories of intersectionality to studies of the environment; and

2)      applying queer and feminist theories to policies and interventions around personal-based violence. Her research continues to evolve in analyzing social vulnerability due to climate change related disasters and socio-environmental health in environmental justice communities. She received her doctorate in Sociology from the interdisciplinary City, Culture +Community program at Tulane University. For more information, visit Natalia Caporale


Natalia Caporale Image

Natalia Caporale Ph.D.

Teaching Faculty

Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior

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.


Lijuan (Dawn) Cheng Image

Lijuan (Dawn) Cheng Ph.D.

Associate Professor

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Davis

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.


Suad Joseph Image

Suad Joseph Ph.D.

Director University of California Davis and Arab Region Consortium (UCDAR)

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

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.


Denneal Jamison-McClung Image

Denneal Jamison-McClung Ph.D.

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.


Mona Monfared Image

Mona Monfared Ph.D.

Lecturer, Molecular and Cellular Biology Dept., UC Davis

Dr.Mona Monfared is a Lecturer in the Molecular and Cellular Biology Department at UC Davis. She teaches BIS102: Structure and Function of Biomolecules and BIS103: Bioenergetics and Metabolism. She received her PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UC Davis, working on understanding the molecular genetics of the female side of plant reproduction.  Dr. Monfared did her postdoctoral research at the Plant Gene Expression Center at UC Berkeley/USDA studying genes involved in seed pod and leaf development as well as stem cell maintenance. In addition to her biology research, she has pursued a passion for teaching and has been an instructor at a number of schools in the San Francisco Bay Area (Santa Clara University, St. Mary's College, Holy Names College, and UC Berkeley Extension). At UC Davis, she has a research program that focuses on biology education and professional development for graduate students. Her current projects include using writing to increase engagement in high enrollment biochemistry courses, building a teacher training program for graduate students, and building a shared resource for robust assessments across the upper division biology core courses. Creating an inclusive and empowering classroom environment is a priority for her and exploring ways in which to do this is a constant thread throughout her work.


Dawn Sumner Image

Dawn Sumner Ph.D.


Earth and Planetary Sciences, UC Davis

Dr. Sumner earned her B.S. with honors in Geology from the California Institute of Technology in 1989 and her Ph.D. in Geology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1995. She then returned to Caltech as an O.K. Earl Postdoctoral Fellow.  In 1996, Dawn joined the Faculty at UC Davis.  Most of Dawn’s research focuses on understanding Earth’s early environments and microbial ecology, emphasizing the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis and its environmental effects.  In recent years, her research expanded to include studying the microbial ecology of ice-covered Antarctic lakes that are analogs for ancient life on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the solar system.  In addition, she works with NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, using the rover Curiosity to explore ancient environments in Gale Crater on Mars.  Dawn regularly shares her research with the public and is dedicated to helping scientists of all backgrounds prepare for and succeed in scientific careers.