Virginia Tech will host A Showcase of Female Scientists to explore the unique struggles of female scientists to balance work and family issues, and what women in science can do to help advance their careers and maintain a healthy personal life. The event will take place on the Blacksburg campus March 12 and 13.

“The idea for this showcase came from a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant that supports female graduate students in the Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation,” said Carolyn Copenheaver, associate professor of forest ecology in the College of Natural Resources and Environment. “As this group of students moves through our program, I thought it was important to provide them and other female students at Virginia Tech role models of successful women scientists.”

Although the event targets women in science, the sessions are open to all students, faculty, staff, and community members. Events include a scientific seminar on fire and climate; a panel discussion on how women scientists balance their personal and professional lives; a keynote address by Laura Furgione, deputy director of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, on the nation’s response to extreme climatic events; and several professional development workshops for graduate students.

The showcase was organized by Copenheaver, Rebecca Kidd of Newport, Va., and Melissa Shockey of Romney, W.Va., both graduate students in forestry the College of Natural Resources and Environment, and Peggy Layne and Molly Hall of AdvanceVT, which helps the university prepare, recruit, and retain stellar female faculty. Event sponsors include the College of Natural Resources Environment, the college’s departments of geography, forest resources and environmental conservation, and sustainable biomaterials, the U.S. Department of Agriculture National Needs Fellowship grant, and Charlotte Hanes, owner of the River Ridge Land and Cattle Company.

“This is an exciting undertaking for the college,” said Paul Winistorfer, dean of the College of Natural Resources and Environment. “I am very impressed with the vision and leadership that has spearheaded this showcase.”

The showcase will open on Monday, March 12 with a short seminar entitled Fire-Climate Interactions in the American West, presented by Valerie Trouet, assistant professor of dendrochronology at the University of Arizona.

Tuesday’s events include a Work-Life Balance panel discussion and the keynote address by Furgione followed by an open seminar on the impact of climate change.

The day’s events will close with three concurrent workshops for graduate students (online registration is required). Making a Life in Blacksburg explores recreational opportunities for families and navigating the New River Valley without a car, and introduces students to community organizations in which they can participate. Interview Skills and Curriculum Vita Preparation provides advice for career interviews and curriculum vita development; participants are encouraged to bring a current copy of their curriculum vita. Stress Management presents tools and strategies for women handling the high-stress environment of graduate school.

The schedule of showcase events is as follows.

Monday, March 12, 2012

4 to 5 p.m., 311 Latham Hall: Fire-Climate Interactions in the American West, seminar presented by Valerie Trouet, assistant professor of dendrochronology, University of Arizona

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

12:30 to 1:30 p.m., 1100 Torgersen Hall: Work-Life Balance panel discussion, speakers include the following:

  • Valerie Trouet, assistant professor of dendrochronology, University of Arizona
  • Lynn Resler, associate professor of geography, Virginia Tech
  • Jennifer Hodgson, associate professor of microbiology, Virginia Tech
  • Laura Furgione, deputy director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

2 to 3:15 p.m., 100 McBryde Hall: Keynote address and open seminar on climate change, presented by Laura Furgione, deputy director, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

3:30 to 4:30 p.m., Graduate Life Center: Workshops for graduate students:

  • Making a Life in Blacksburg, presented by Suzie Leslie, academic advising coordinator, and Cathy Barker, student services coordinator, both with the College of Natural Resources and Environment, and Barb Walker of the U.S. Forest Service (Conference Room C).
  • Interview Skills and Curriculum Vita Preparation, presented by Jody Jellison, associate director of the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station (Conference Room F)
  • Stress Management, presented by Zetta Nicely, pre-doctoral intern at the Cook Counseling Center (Conference Room G).

A parking permit is required to park on campus before 5 p.m. Visitors can obtain a temporary permit from the Visitor Information Center at 965 Prices Fork Road. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Off-campus parking is available in the Kent Square parking garage or the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional Downtown Blacksburg parking information can be found online.

Written by Neel Patel of Fairfax, Va., a senior majoring in biological sciences in the College of Science.