Chemistry lecturer starting Women in Science Club


Mckenzie Ford

Two students working in a chemistry lab. The Women in Science Club is open to any female or female-identifying science majors.

By Dylan Harris, News Editor

EWU chemistry lecturer Amber McConnell is forming the Women in Science Club in an effort to encourage more female and female-identifying students to pursue a career in the sciences after graduation.

“The goal of the club from my perspective is I want a place that facilitates collaboration and a sense of community for women and female-identifying people in the sciences,” McConnell said.

McConnell’s own experiences growing up have left her far too familiar with how it feels to seek out a science job in a field she says can feel like a “man’s world.”

“I made it all the way to college before I even learned about a single female scientist,” McConnell said. “When I was in high school I was top of my class, but I doubted myself when I thought I’m gonna go into chemistry…because I didn’t see myself in it.”

Enrollment between men and women in the science majors is pretty equal at EWU according to McConnell. But despite the progress that has been made regarding women’s rights over the years, McConnell said women still face systematic oppression.

“What you see though…as you get farther from the degree, what kinds of jobs (women) have,” McConnell said. “There’s a pay gap between females that have a bachelor’s degree and males that have the same bachelor’s degree.”

I made it all the way to college before I even learned about a single female scientist.”

— Amber McConnell, Chemistry lecturer

McConnell is an alumna of EWU, and she said she wants to make herself visible to aspiring female scientists so that they see that they too can pursue a career in the sciences.

“I think it’s a really cool idea,” sophomore Sarah Baker said. “I’m a (communications) student so it’s probably not for me, but I like seeing women come together and work together.”

The plan for how the club will operate and what the club will do remains to be seen, but McConnell wants to leave it up to the members.

“It’s about getting women in leadership positions, it’s being more present and more visual,” McConnell said. “Having programs like this that give women science majors choices.”

McConnell said the systematic oppression women face, particularly in the sciences, is a complex generational issue. But she hopes the Women in Science Club can act as an outlet for women to come together and overcome the inequalities.

“The purpose is the more chances that we can, as females, see ourselves in the sciences … and see how dynamic it is and how rich it is in terms of how many people there are, it helps solidify that they’re making the right choice and that they can do it,” McConnell said.

The club is currently undergoing its recruitment process. McConnell hope to have some leadership positions and some of the structure laid out by spring quarter. For those interested in learning about or joining the Women in Science Club, contact McConnell at [email protected].

Gallery Photos by Mckenzie Ford