(Oct. 1, 2020) Astronomer Regina Jorgenson and environmental scientist Sarah Bois want to eliminate the stigma attached to women in science.

“We need to change the culture of what we think of as a scientist,” said Jorgenson, director of astronomy at the Maria Mitchell Association.

“When I was a kid, it was an old white man in a lab coat. Even if you’re lucky to have support, you can’t escape the culture, and that culture is telling you scientists are white men.”

It’s a sexist assumption of who can be an ecologist, chemist, botanist or astronomer, Jorgenson said. What are often called “hard sciences” tend to be maledominated fields. Graduate classes are filled mostly with men, where women are often discouraged from participating, she said.

But on Nantucket, Jorgenson and Bois – who first came to the island in the late-1990s as summer interns with the Maria Mitchell Association – are two of many women in science.

On Friday, the Maria Mitchell Association will hold its second Women of Science Symposium, the bi-annual program it launched in 2018 to support and promote women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).



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