Shirley Malcom: 2013 Science Club for Girls Catalyst Award Honoree

shirley malcom

Dr. Malcom is a pioneer and fearless advocate to highlight and address issues that face women and underrepresented groups in science. She is skilled at using research, policy and programs, and by creating caring communities, to increase access and opportunities to education and career advancement. She is also a personal mentor to many professionals and students in the science field. Dr. Shirley Malcom has been head of the Directorate for Education and Human Resources Programs at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) since 1989. She holds a bachelor’s degree in zoology and a Ph.D. in ecology. Dr. Malcom is one of the most-respected and recognized advocates for diversity in science in the world. She has been recognized for her work through the Public Welfare Medal of the National Academy of Sciences. Science Club for Girls is thrilled that she has agreed to accept our Catalyst Award.

Read more about her achievements and the official announcement of the award.

Why do you care about diversity in STEM?
As a woman of color in STEM, I spent so much of my career as “the only” or as one of “very few.” I want this to be the last generation that encounters this isolation. But even more importantly, STEM needs the voices and visions from these diverse groups. If we are to solve the global problems and national challenges we face, we will need all the talent we can get!

What is a strategy that can move the needle toward greater diversity in STEM?
It is important that the different under-represented groups work together and learn from each other regarding the successful strategies and persistent barriers each of us faces. At AAAS, we have been inclusive in our efforts. Together we are not minorities, but are the majority of the available talent pool. This inclusive perspective means we create a supportive environment for all of us.

What can STEM professional groups and universities do to ensure girls and women feel welcome?
Sponsor meetings for MEN at professional meetings and in departments specifically to discuss their interactions with their female peers, as well as ways to support women and girls in STEM.

A really important question: what is your favorite ice-cream flavor?
Butter pecan… but recently I’ve gotten into German chocolate cake gelato!

What do you do to relax?
I have a real fondness for mysteries, and I cook and do crossword puzzles.

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