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Virtual screening of film “Picture a Scientist” headlines annual Centenary College research conference in April

SHREVEPORT, LA — Centenary College’s annual Research Conference, scheduled for Thursday, April 15, will be an all-virtual affair this year due to continued caution over COVID-19. The new format brings new opportunities for engagement, including the kick-off event, a 72-hour virtual screening of the award-winning documentary Picture a Scientist followed by a virtual panel discussion and Q&A with three successful and respected women working in STEM. The virtual screening begins Sunday, April 11, at 7:00 p.m. (CST) and runs through Wednesday, April 14, at 7:00 p.m., when the panel discussion begins.

Links for both the virtual screening and panel discussion are available at centenary.edu/pictureascientist. Both events are free, but pre-registration is required for the panel discussion via Zoom.

Picture a Scientist, an official selection of the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, chronicles the experiences of women scientists - including social scientists, neuroscientists, and psychologists – in what one reviewer has called “a fascinating and frightening examination of bias.” In the documentary, biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks, and geologist Jane Willenbring introduce viewers to researchers who are “writing a new chapter for women scientists” and, through their lives and work, are fighting to make the sciences more diverse and science careers more equitable.

Centenary’s panel discussion following the virtual screening features Charity Morgan, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the Department of Biostatistics at the University of Alabama at Birmingham;; Darby Proctor, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at the Florida Institute of Technology; and Audrey Stone, Ph.D., Director of the Autonomic Control of Circulation Laboratory at the University of Texas at Austin.

“I'm so excited that we could host a screening of Picture a Scientist for Centenary's 2021 Research Conference,” said Dr. Anna K. Leal, Assistant Professor of Biology at Centenary. “This film discusses the harassment and subtle discrimination that women in STEM face during their education and careers, but it also provides hope that the STEM fields are becoming more diverse, inclusive, and equitable. This is directly relevant to Centenary students because most of our students are women, as is the case in most higher ed institutions. Additionally, many of our students are interested in health and science professions, however on-the-job discrimination that women face is not limited to science and health professions.”

Leal organized the panel discussion in an effort to dig deeper into the issues raised in Picture a Scientist.

“As women in science fields, the panelists and I want our students to know that they aren't alone in these majors and research labs and careers,” explained Leal. “We want to provide mentorship, but also we want them to feel more comfortable than we did. We want our students to know that any discrimination (sexism, racism, LGBTQ, religious, etc.) in science is wrong and that STEM fields will benefit from their involvement. More importantly, we want our students to feel welcome and appreciated in their chosen major/profession and safe speaking up when they are uncomfortable or treated unfairly.”

A community event for over 20 years, Centenary’s Research Conference gives students and faculty an opportunity to present their best works of exploration and invention. It is modeled on long-standing academic traditions of conference-based information sharing and feedback.

“I’m truly excited about this year’s event, which is such an important aspect of the Centenary Liberal Arts experience as students show off the amazing work that they do to advance research in their various disciplines,” said Dr. Jeanne Hamming, one of the faculty organizers of the Research Conference. “We have over 200 hundred participants this year despite the virtual format. This has been a great year for engaging and enlightening public talks, and the Women in Science panel is no exception. Picture a Scientist is pretty eye-opening, and I personally am looking forward to an evening of discussion about this persistent issue that will impacts so many.”

The 2021 Research Conference is sponsored by the Douglas F. and Marion S. Attaway Foundation, and is made possible with the support of Centenary’s Convocation Committee, the Office of the Provost, and the Student Government Association. Research Conference organizers include Dr. Scott Chirhart (Biology), Dr. Jeanne Hamming (English), Dr. Cory Wikan (Music), Dr. Jessica Alexander (Psychology), and Logan Sledge (Theatre).

More information about the research conference and a full program will be available at centenary.edu/researchforum.

 

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