TERC Researcher Serves on U.S. Delegation at the 4th International Women in Physics Conference

May 3, 2011



CAMBRIDGE, MA–TERC Project Leader Maria (Mia) Ong served as a member of the U.S. Delegation at the 4th International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) International Conference on Women in Physics, which took place on April 5th-8th in Stellenbosch, South Africa. The conference celebrated the diverse contributions of 250 female physicist attendees from nearly 60 countries worldwide, and highlighted exciting career paths and strategies to attract and retain more girls and women to the field. Videos of the opening ceremony and plenary talks may be downloaded here.

During the conference, Dr. Ong co-led the conference’s first Gender Studies workshop and participated in a Women and Education poster session. She says, “The conference provided many exciting opportunities to learn and share about gender equity issues and efforts happening around the globe. It was encouraging to see how much STEM education and social science research were part of those efforts. In fact, one of the recommendations the Conference is submitting to IUPAP for future action is to have IUPAP endorse increased collaborations between physicists and social science researchers to investigate the roles of gender in physics.”

For over 15 years, Dr. Ong has worked on qualitative research related to promoting diversity and gender equity in STEM, with a focus on African American, Asian American, Latina, and Native American women in higher education and early careers. Most recently, she initiated an NSF-funded research study entitled Beyond the Double Bind, which is analyzing the life stories of women of color in STEM and the programs that support their success. This study builds on her previous work for Inside the Double Bind—the study that identified and synthesized 116 empirical studies on women of color in STEM.

In addition, Dr. Ong led the organization of the Mini-Symposium on Women of Color in STEM, which took place in Arlington, Virginia in October 2009.