The Catholic University of America

July 20, 2009

CUA Sociology Professor to Testify on Capitol Hill about Girls in Science

Sandra Hanson

Sandra Hanson, professor of sociology at Catholic University, will share what she has learned in studying girls in science over two decades on Tuesday, July 21, with a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives' Committee on Science and Technology.

Hanson, also a fellow and research associate at CUA's Life Cycle Institute, will be one of four experts testifying before the Subcommittee on Research and Science Education from 10 a.m. to noon on Tuesday. She was invited to speak by the subcommittee chairman, Rep. Daniel Lipinski, D-Ill.

In a hearing titled "Encouraging the Participation of Female Students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Fields," Hanson will provide an overview of her research, talk about the status of research on school-aged girls in STEM fields and share ideas about disseminating research findings to encourage educators and policymakers to implement best practices in making science more inclusive.

Hanson studies women and minorities in the field of science and roadblocks to their education and employment. According to Hanson's research, girls enroll in fewer courses, trail in achievement and develop negative attitudes about the field because of educational and professional barriers that discourage their interest, not because of a lack of ability.

She is the author of two books. In "Swimming Against the Tide: African American Girls and Science Education," Hanson gives insight into the difficulties that African-American young women between the ages of 13 and 20 have in the science classroom by allowing young women to share their experiences in their own words. In "Lost Talent: Women in the Sciences," she analyzes National Science Foundation-funded research on the loss of talented young women from science education.

"Discussions about rigorously applying Title IX to science education are beginning," Hanson says. "The Title IX legislation brought about tremendous change and improvement in young women's access to sports in public schools by requiring evidence of progress toward equity. We could do the same in science. Both boys and girls would benefit from improving our science education system."

The hearing, to be held at 2318 Rayburn House Office Building, is open to the public.