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2014 Deciphering the Code: Women in STEM Careers – 4th South Bay Conference on Gender: Gender & Video Games

The 3rd South Bay Women’s Conference

Deciphering the Code: Women in STEM Careers

March 8th, 2014

This year's theme was Deciphering the Code: Women in STEM Careers, which sought to celebrate and unite multiple generations of women working in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields within our community. The conference will create avenues through which young women can become involved in these fields and engage the concerns faced by women entering these professions and those who are currently working in the field. An issue of great concern with women working in any industry is the pay gap between women and men, with the issues being even more disparaging for women of color. A report released by the U.S. Census in their 2012 American Community Survey, women working full-time, year round, still only make 77 cents to the dollar compared to non-Hispanic white men. According to the National Women’s’ Law Center, “[b]ased on these wage gaps, the difference in lifetime earnings between African-American women and white, non-Hispanic men over a 40-year career would be more than $1 million in five states and D.C. For Hispanic women, it would be more than $1 million in 21 states and D.C.

Keynote Speaker: Lilly Ledbetter

Crusader for equal pay and women’s rights, equality activist and namesake of the Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act
Portrait: Lilly Ledbetter

    Author of Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond and the inspiration behind President Obama’s first bill signed into law, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

    In 1998, after Ledbetter had spent 19 grueling years working at a Goodyear plant, an anonymous note delivered to her showed that she made 40% less than her male counterparts. For 10 years, Lilly Ledbetter fought to close the gap between women’s and men’s wages, sparring with the Supreme Court, lobbying Capitol Hill in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear. While Ledbetter lost the case on appeal (a decision upheld by the Supreme Court), the experience inspired her to become a spokesperson for equal pay.


Session I

Inclusive Sourcing

by Sahra Santosha of Mighty Spring

Sahra has been the first female employee at two different startups building tech sourcing solutions. She has seen firsthand how companies unintentionally use recruiting practices that exclude and alienate qualified women. This workshop will focus on how to create a gender-inclusive sourcing campaign, in addition to introducing job search resources.

Standing on the Shoulders of Giant Brains of Women

by Raisa Garcia of California School of Professional Psychology-San Francisco

What do you wish others taught you growing up? What do you want to teach girls with your wisdom today? This workshop will be a brainstorming/consulting session for the first step in a project that will lead to a story to be written, illustrated, and developed into a children’s book.

Million Women Mentors: Advancing Women and Girls in STEM Careers Through Mentoring

by Angelica Ramos of National Women's Political Caucus of Silicon Valley

This workshop will introduce to the community what the Million Women Mentors Initiative is, give a brief overview on STEM and Women in Leadership, and train participants on nurturing a mentor/mentee relationship in order to create a local pipeline for women and girls in the Silicon Valley. Presented by both (female) Presidents of the National Women's Political Caucus of Silicon Valley (NWPC) and Democratic Activists for Women Now (DAWN).

Session II

Getting to the Corner Office: Developing Your Career Path to Leadership In STEM

by Laura Lilyquist of Livehive

Join a Silicon Valley executive for a casual discussion on how her career developed in tech. Learn how you can develop your own career, whether in a technical or nontechnical role.

Creating the LGBTQIA STEM Space - oSTEM

by Total Nguyen and Alexis Haire of oSTEM@SJSU

Members of the SJSU chapter of oSTEM (out in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) will describe their experiences in the STEM networks and being a member of the LGBTQIA community. The panelists will discuss the challenges associated with gender and sexual orientation in STEM and finding and building a community that provides a safe space to freely express their identities.

"Become the Leader People Want to Follow"

by Michele Molitor of Nectar Consulting, Inc./Founder

This thought-provoking discussion is for the savvy STEM professional, helping you become the leader people want to follow. You’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of how to: find your Center Point to guide your career and your leadership, translate challenges into your Genius Gifts, and identify your Unique Strengths and how to fully put them to use.

Session III

The Cheerleader, Secretary, Impostor, and Exception-to-the-Rule

by Meggin Kearney of Google

Are you a cheerleader, secretary, impostor, or exception-to-the-rule? What makes a great computer scientist? We will create a physical representation of these identities on paper with words and images. Once we've done this, we will start moving the properties of each identity around, seeing how the computer scientist might change-- for the better or worse.

How to Improve Your Communication and Confidence In Business Mode

by Kristy Rogers of Kristy Rogers Connects

Be a “Business Co-partner” so you’re a pleasure to do business with and make it easy to do business with you, understand “Business Mode” basics to prevent disengaging because of hurt feelings or being disrespected, and learn “Needs Conversations” so you’re heard, understood and get your needs met.

Women in STEM: Solution to Addressing the Gender and Wage Gap

by Ana Victoria Fortes of U.S. Department of Labor, Women's Bureau

This session will include information about how women in STEM can help close the wage gap. Takeaways from Session include: the current economic status of women in STEM on a national and local level, projection of the growing STEM industry and how women can be the key to reaching these goals, reasons for the shortage of women in STEM and potential solutions, and local resources to combat pay discrimination

"Where Do We Go From Here?" Panel

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren

California’s 19th District, U.S. House of Representatives
Zoe Lofgren profile photo

Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren represents California’s 19th Congressional District located in Silicon Valley and which encompasses much of Santa Clara County and includes the City of San José, Morgan Hill and Gilroy. In Congress, Zoe is a recognized leader on immigration policy, technology and innovation issues, patent reform, copyright and digital rights, and women’s rights. A strong proponent of Internet freedom, she rallied the fight in Congress against SOPA, and has consistently championed a forward-leaning technology agenda to ensure civil liberties and foster innovation and economic growth in the digital age.

As a senior member of the House Judiciary Committee, Zoe is the senior Democrat on the Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee. She also serves on the House Science, Space & Technology Committee and the House Administration Committee. In addition, Zoe is the chair of the 38 Member California Democratic Congressional Delegation—the largest and most diverse delegation in Congress.

A lifelong South Bay resident, Zoe earned her BA at Stanford University and her law degree at Santa Clara University. She is married to John Marshall Collins and is the mother of two adult children.

Dr. Jessie Dotson

Deputy Science Office Director, NASA Ames Research Center
Jessie Dotson

Jessie Dotson earned a bachelor’s degree in Physics in 1989 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She subsequently earned a PhD in 1995 from University of Chicago in Astronomy and Astrophysics.  She was a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern University and the SETI Institute.  Since joining NASA Ames Research Center in 2001, she has worked on instrumentation for the SOFIA observatory, tested detector arrays for multiple spacecraft and served as the Deputy Science Office Director for Kepler.  Dr. Dotson is currently the Branch Chief for Astrophysics at NASA ARC.   There are approximately 60 researchers working in her branch on a variety of topics from exoplanets, external galaxies and astrochemistry.  She received the Exceptional Service Medal from NASA in 2011.

Dr. Karen Singmaster

SJSU Chemistry Professor
Dr. Singmaster with Periodic Table of Elements behind her

Karen Singmaster-Hernandez earned a bachelor's degree in Chemistry in 1982 from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 1987 from the University of California, Berkeley. She performed postdoctoral research at IBM in San Jose. Dr. Singmaster has been a chemistry professor at San Jose State University for 25 years, where she manages the General Chemistry program and several federally funded programs to increase the representation of underrepresented minorities in science and engineering fields. She received the Outstanding Professor award at SJSU in 2008.