Just got back from two great ‘Motherhood the Elephant’ panels, one at University of Maryland, College Park, the other at Montgomery College, a community college near UMd . As always it’s great to be with contributors to this book, we’ve now done five panels and I think we’re finally getting the hang of it (e.g. less us talking, more audience participation.)
At UMd we had ten contributors, and seven at Montgomery. It’s an amazing group of women, young and old(er), physicists, biologists, geologists – all moms. For the most part, we’d never met each before these panels (the books was done all via e-mail – though I admit I did recruit a friend or two to write) but I truly value the opportunity to get to know them a little bit better with each panel. An unexpected bonus from doing this project (at least for me.) And each panel is always very different, even though the panelists might not change. I think we’re all learning, and of course, the audience contributes a great deal.
It struck me as we sat in front of the Montgomery students, that just having a bunch of women, all PhDs – whom students might be more used to interacting with as professors, or in a more professional capacity – up there talking openly and candidly (sometimes humourously and sometimes quite seriously) about their life in science, their lives at home, their kids, just has to be a positive thing for anyone who’s contemplating a career in science.