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Drawing girls to science through art

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Laura Conner's Photo
Laura Conner
Research Assistant Professor
UAF-GI

Despite huge advances in the last few decades, women are still underrepresented in many science fields. For instance, only about 15 percent of engineers are female, and only 12 percent of physicists and astronomers are female. A leading cause of this disparity is a lack of interest in, and identification with, science among girls. Starting about middle school, girls tend to view science as rote, passionless, uncreative and not relevant to their interests. Our project is documenting how an educational approach that integrates art and science can change stereotypical views about scientists and science careers.

Laura Carsten Conner is a research assistant professor of science education at the Geophysical Institute and the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UAF. She was formerly the head of public programs at the University of Alaska Museum of the North, where she directed the development of exhibits and educational programs. Laura earned her PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology in 2007 from the University of Arizona, a master’s degree in science writing from the University of Washington in 2001, a master’s degree in plant pathology from Montana State University in 1998, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder.  She now conducts research in the learning sciences.  Laura enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, hiking and reading Harry Potter books in her free time.