'Growing' solid science through diversity at University of Miami

March 27, 2009

Virginia Key, FL -- Two assistant professors from the Division of Meteorology and Physical Oceanography at the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, Drs. Paquita Zuidema and Lisa Beal, have been granted funding as part of the first-ever "You Choose" Leadership Awards designed to help establish and encourage collaborations and exchanges between scientists, especially those from traditionally underrepresented groups. The awards are sponsored by the University of Miami's NSF-ADVANCE funded Scientists and Engineers Expanding Diversity and Success (SEEDS) program.

Zuidema asserts that effective communication is essential is every field, and underrepresented groups are often particularly reluctant to ask for help in upgrading such skills. Despite the importance of proficient writing skills, within traditional science curricula, this is not often emphasized. Zuidema intends to use her funding to host a day-long career skills course on writing, hosted by renowned expert and Assistant Director for Scientific and Technical Writing at Princeton University, Dr. Judith Swan. The goal is to help early-career scientists learn how to bridge the gap between the science and writing, and to 'resensitize' more mature scientists, for a more conscious approach to writing.

As an international expert on the Agulhas Current system - likened to the Gulf Stream, but flowing along the east coast of South Africa - Beal is poised to gain international standing among oceanographers and climatologists alike. Her proposal to conduct a Southwest Indian Ocean community workshop in Kiel, Germany, will bring together the diverse international community of scientists who conduct research in the Southwest Indian Ocean. Accordingly, the workshop will form the basis of a new large-scale proposal in the climate change arena, capable of establishing a presence for these researchers in the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), while also providing crucial collaboration and exchange of ideas between scientists. Beal's role as program facilitator will help to gain greater visibility for her own research, while creating opportunities for high profile collaborations. The workshop, and her role in it, will be a major leadership opportunity in her career.

Award winners were chosen based on the originality of their proposals and the potential impact of their scientific goals, both individual and community-based. SEEDS' You Choose Leadership Awards were also given to: Traci Ardren, associate professor of Anthropology; Eunji Lim, assistant professor of Industrial Engineering; Joy Lincoln, assistant professor of Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology; and Tulay Koru-Sengul, assistant professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology.

The goal of the National Science Foundation's (NSF) ADVANCE program is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic science and engineering careers, thereby contributing to the development of a more diverse science and engineering workforce. ADVANCE encourages institutions of higher education and the broader science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) community, including professional societies and other STEM-related not-for-profit organizations, to address various aspects of STEM academic culture and institutional structure that may differentially affect women faculty and academic administrators.
About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School

Founded in the 1940's, the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit www.rsmas.miami.edu.

Media Contacts:
Barbra Gonzalez
UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science

Marie Guma-Diaz
UM Media Relations Office

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science

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