Purdue College of Science
The world of science is a wonderful place of discovery, learning, research and collaboration with colleagues. And since many of you are scientists yourself, I’m sure you would agree. Those at Purdue, as well as most higher educational institutions and members in private industry, are fortunate to have a diverse staff to work with. This includes men and women of all backgrounds, beliefs and ages, bringing their collective knowledge and experiences to the table, solving the problems of the future. Solving today’s and tomorrow’s challenges takes input and ideas from all sectors. When it comes to developing creative solutions, we can no longer operate in a purely top-down, one-size-fits-all environment.
Imagine for a moment if half of the population was excluded from participating in the scientific process. Shut out. Made to feel unwelcome. In fact, that did happen not too long ago to women who sought to pursue scientific careers. As some of our faculty and staff can readily recall, women who did make it into the profession were sometimes not allowed to fully participate and interact with key players. Fortunately, today’s climate is much friendlier to female scientists, but the knowledge of the past is hard to forget. In the College of Science, we have many women who do remember those days of inequality. In this issue of Insights, hear from them about how it was then, and how the industry has changed for the better. Also, hear from some alumni who have blazed trails in their fields and are role models to current and future scientists. I’m sure you’ll enjoy this fascinating look at our women of science as much as I did. We still have a long way to go in this area, but these articles remind us that we’ve come a long way in the past few decades.
In addition to examining the important topic of women in science, we also take a moment to celebrate some of our successes in the College of Science. One of those successes is the five-year anniversary of the Richard and Patricia Lawson Computer Science building, which since 2006 has benefited not only computer science students and faculty, but has also served as a beautiful campus landmark enjoyed by a wide variety of people around Purdue. In this issue, we celebrate this landmark with an article about the new and innovative video wall inside Lawson.
Another point of pride is astronaut Andrew Feustel, who received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Earth and Atmospheric Sciences from Purdue. In May, he flew his last Space Shuttle mission (and second-to-last ever for the Space Shuttle program), but even though the Shuttle program is ending, he’s still keeping his love of space alive. Read about how Feustel will continue with NASA following the end of the Shuttle program and looks forward to flying in space again or supporting other astronauts in their missions.