On the Same Terms: The Beginnings of Women’s Education at Northwestern Tour| Abigail Sutter
Tuesday, November 5th
Janet Olson, curator of the exhibit On the Same Terms: The Beginnings of Women’s Education at Northwestern, led a small group on a tour of the exhibit on November 5 th . Located in Deering Library’s second and third floors, the exhibit showcases the beginnings of women’s education at Northwestern University as well as its evolution over time. The exhibit was a mix of original photographs and documents, preserved in both cases and copies for the displays. The tour told the following story: In the North-Western Female College (unaffiliated with Northwestern University). The college offered three to four years of coursework for women as well as middle/high-school courses for women and men. Students would learn natural sciences, arithmetic, history, grammar, classical languages and literatures, as well as music and drawing. However, these students could not receive a college degree even when their coursework resembled that of Northwestern University's. This school had the notable graduate of Frances Willard who was valedictorian and would eventually become Northwestern’s Dean of Women. The decision was made to admit women to Northwestern in 1869. To accommodate the new students, the Evanston College for Ladies was instituted by the Women’s Educational Association. They would house the female students who would have access to Northwestern, while the men would be able to enroll in classes offered by ECL. Even so, the women had a much stricter educational and living regimen than the men did. Each had to fill out a weekly “Self Report,” (that would eventually grow into a local scandal). The women had to answer honestly, questions like, “Have you walked with any gentleman, or accepted company to or from any place, without permission from Miss Willard?” and, “Have you endeavored to be quiet and lady-like in your deportment?” Although this system had no penalties and was meant as a self-reflection. Questions about separate standards of conduct for women would remain for over a hundred years, well into the 1970s. The exhibition goes on to detail the accomplishments and struggles of women at Northwestern, highlighting those such as Sarah Rebecca Roland, the first woman to graduate from Northwestern in 1874; and Naomi Willie Pollard, the first black woman to earn a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern. While there is far too much information for me to include here, the exhibit will be up until June 2020, and I highly recommend taking a look.
Museum Science and Industry | Teresa Truong
Saturday, November 2nd
The Museum of Science and Industry offers an incredible experience that members of the Northwestern and Evanston community had the privilege to share this past Saturday.
During my visit, I was first pulled towards the Science Storms exhibit where there were plenty of interactive displays such as an airflow that levitated “molecules” and shifted a “tectonic plate” showing how it changes the landscape. There was even a tornado simulator where I experienced 80 mph winds!
Next, I went to the Numbers in Science section where there was a mirror maze. Because the mirrors were all tilted at a certain angle, it looked like there was an infinite number of arches. My friend got too excited and accidentally ran into the reflection of an archway, hitting the mirror! It was an incredibly fun experience though.
The last exhibit I went to was the Henry Crown Space Center where I saw a replica of the Apollo moon landing where I read about the innovations over the past 100 years. Regarding women in space, they had a small gallery with Mae Jemison and Sally Ride. With only two female representations, there are still many hidden figures left to uncover.
Overall, the experience was amazing. There were so many more exhibits to see and learn from!
Johnson Space Center | Abigail Sutter
Friday, November 1st
Ryan Ziegler, NASA’s Apollo sample curator from the Johnson Space Center, spoke to a full classroom of northwestern and evanston community members to discuss the legacy of the Apollo lunar samples 50 years after the first were taken from the moon. One of these scientific legacies derived from the Apollo samples is the theory of the giant-impact origin of the moon: the idea that something large collided with the Earth and debris from that collision formed the moon. Ziegler discussed how the sample was an active, scientific curation made special by the astronauts who collected it. They were savvy and able to make decisions on their own unlike a remote machine, and therefore the samples were more diverse. Ziegler also stated that the Apollo lab built the foundation for everything else they have done since. As new technology emerges, the Apollo lab still gets many requests to send out samples for everyday studies. At the time of the talk, there were around 20,000 samples that were outside of the Apollo lab. Ziegler also spoke about upcoming plans for NASA, including opening more Apollo samples to be studied with new technology for the first time, as well as the planned Artemis mission that will hopefully bring more astronauts to the moon.
Q + A with NASA Hidden Figure: Andrea Mosie, Apollo Moon Rock Processor | Megan Yaur
Friday, November 1st
Approximately 60 curious students and members of the Evanston community gathered on Friday November 1st for a Q+A session with NASA’s own hidden figure, Andrea Mosie, a Senior Scientist Specialist for the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Mosie works in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division (ARES) where she oversees over 842 pounds of Apollo lunar samples collected from six Apollo missions from 1969 to 1972. Mosie was one of the only women working in Lunar Curation during the 70s and has continued to work at NASA for over 40 years. The audience asked many thoughtful questions which ranged from Mosie’s personal life to the process of obtaining lunar samples.
When a member from the audience asked if there was a specific moment she knew NASA was the place for her, Mosie candidly responded that she knew from the very start of her career because it was inside, had AC, and was clean. Mosie mentioned that her mother was a maid with a high school degree and her father was a truck driver who’d completed the third grade, but they always encouraged her to dream. Mosie emphasized that her mother never said “what to do, just to do what you like.” As the manager of the lab, Mosie says she can do whatever she wants, but what makes the lab perfect are the people working there. Mosie continuously vocalized her love for her job, saying, “I’m a moon person.”
During the event, Mosie travelled with the Apollo curator, bringing along 3 lunar rock samples: one picked up by Apollo 11 astronauts in 1969, one picked up by Apollo 14 astronauts in 1971, and one picked up by Apollo 17 astronauts in 1972. After the Q+A, audience members were invited to touch a sample from the Apollo 17 mission. The sample is a dense, Mare Basalt approximately 3.6-3.8 billion years old. To learn more about lunar samples and the clues they provide about our early Solar System, visit https://curator.jsc.nasa.gov/lunar.
Hidden Figures Screening | Elaine Sobel
Women’s Center Fall Keynote | Sadie Hood
Thursday, October 24th 2019
The Northwestern Women’s Center hosted their fall Keynote Speaker this past Thursday, Yolanda Flores Neimann, a Professor of Psychology at the University of North Texas. Neimann spoke about her book, Presumed Incompetent: The Intersections of Race and Class for Women in Academia along with the experiences of marginalized communities, particularly women of color in academia. Her talk focused on the issue of tokenism, defined as the practice of making minimum effort to include members of minority groups by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups to give the appearance of racial or sexual equality in a workforce. Neimann explained how being the only member of one’s identity in a department, or the only representation of ones identity in a work space, directly impacts the amount of labor expected of that individual. One example she gave was with ‘volunteer’ work, explain how this extra labor is not only ignored in the process of career growth (i.e. obtaining tenure), but it is perceived as a hindrance to career achievements. In an academic sense, this excess labor takes away time from research and leaves professors scrambling to try to create the same quality work with significantly less time. Towards the end of the talk, Neimann called for the labor of agent identities to fight against tokenization by doing that ‘volunteer’ labor and speaking out against microaggressions. Overall, Professor Neimann’s Keynote was incredibly impactful and shed light on the experiences of those in academia who frequently do not get to share their voice.
Block Cinema Presents: One Way or Another (Sara Gomez, 1974/1977) | Sandra Kibet
Wednesday, October 23rd 2019
One Book collaborated with The Block Museum Cinema to present One Way or Another, a
Cuban drama directed by Sarah Gomez. The film follows Yolanda, a recently-hired teacher, as
she attempts to find the best way to teach the children in a school in one of Havanan’s most
impoverished neighborhood. She meets Mario, a factory worker, and challenges his notions of
machismo with her strong-willed personality as the two develop a romantic relationship. The
film combines documentary style footage with a fictional narrative that plunges us into the lives
of those marginalized in post-revolution Havana, Cuba: labor workers, Afro-Cubans, women
among others. The didactic documentary style informs us of the state of Cuban society post-
revolution while the fictional narrative embodies the lives of those of the time. The film gives us
the chance to view how issues of class, race and gender affect impoverished communities; how
locals respond to such issues through feminism, community engagement, and even cultural
preservation in a time when higher powers are against them. By providing such a candid close-up
of the marginalized, Sara Gomez shines a light on the experiences of those hidden in post-
revolutionary Cuban society.
NASA Experience: From Sputnik to ISS to Mars | Andrea Gouvea
Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019
Pancoe auditorium was filled with an array of students, professors, and Evanston
residents alike on Wednesday, October 23rd; all gathered to hear Fred W. Turek PhD lecture
about Northwestern's involvement with Nasa from the Sputnik Space Expedition in 1957 to the
Twin Study in 2018. Turek is not only a renowned scientist in the Department of Neurobiology
at Northwestern, he is also the Director of the Center for Sleep & Circadian Biology and the
Charles E. & Emma H. Morrison Professor of Biology. His talk highlighted the connection
between Margot Lee Shetterly’s Hidden Figures, his experience with on the Space Studies Board
committee and NASA, and some of today’s hidden figures working at NASA.
The lecture began with the Russian Sputnik Expedition and its impact on the world: the
dawning of the space era. Turek then transitioned into talking about The National Aeronautics
and Space Administration (NASA) established in 1958 by the Eisenhower administration, the
Mercury project (1961-1963) sending John Glenn into orbit, and the Apollo era (1969). Turek
then focused on his own, as well as Northwestern's role in spearheading several research projects
cooperatively with Nasa. As the science behind circadian clocks is relatively new, it was exciting
to learn of Northwestern’s involvement in some of the field’s groundbreaking studies,
specifically the Twin Study (2014-2019). The Twin Study, done with astronaut twins Scott and
Mark Kelly, illustrated the resilience of the human body and its ability to adapt in extreme
environments like spaceflight, highlighting changes in ones gut microbiome, mental health, and
circadian clock to name a few. Finally, Turek ended his talk with the mention of several “hidden
figures” currently participating in research. He spoke of one of NASA’s first African-American
Astronauts Stephanie Wilson (second to go into space after Mae Jemison), who was the voice of
mission control this past Friday’s all-female spacewalk.
Sisters in Cinema | Teresa Truong
Wednesday October 16th, 2019
Wednesday night at the Block Museum began with a screening of Dr. Yvonne Welbon’s
“Sisters in Cinema.” The 2003 film documents Dr. Welbon discovery of other African-American
female filmmakers, like herself; her sisters in cinema. Dr. Welbon’s journey begins in
Hollywood; however, she quickly becomes disillusioned with the city due to the lack of African-
American women in feature film companies, such as Universal and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
From there, Dr. Welbon researches independent filmmakers where she finally discovers some
of her sisters in cinema. The documentary highlights some of their experiences in the film
industry and ends on an inspiring note, that the next decade will be African-American women’s
time to share their stories.
A discussion followed the screening where Dr. Welbon went into more depth about the
creation of her film. She explained her disappointment in the lack of African-American female
representation in the decade that followed the release of her documentary, though she is still
hopeful. With the rise of streaming services like Amazon and Netflix, more voices are being
heard in the industry and audiences are able to experience more stories. The discussion ended
with talking about the nonprofit organization Sisters In Cinema that connects African-American
female and non-gender conforming filmmakers together. The planned date for the opening of
their office, located in the Southside of Chicago, is this time next year.
STEM Storytelling | Sadie Hood
Saturday, October 12th
On Saturday, October 12th, The Women’s Center on Northwestern’s Evanston campus
hosted a storytelling event for kids of the Evanston area. Readers told stories that focused on
young women of color dreaming of and accomplishing great feats in STEM fields. One of the
books read was Mae Among the Stars, inspired by the true story of the first female African
American astronaut, Mae Jemison; a book about a young girl dreaming of becoming an astronaut
despite others pressuring her to choose more ‘feminine’ fields. Next, Counting on Katherine, the
children’s book version of Hidden Figures, was read. Around a dozen families attended the
event, listening to the inspiring children’s stories.
Dearborn Observatory Tour | Jessa Shortridge
Tuesday, October 8th
The telescope in Dearborn Observatory was once the largest in the world; today, it is one
of Northwestern’s hidden gems. On October 8, a group of community members assembled for
the chance to take a tour of the observatory, hear all about its fascinating history, and look
through the telescope. The two tour guides, William and Katie, described how the 18.5" lens,
record-breaking at the time, was initially commissioned by the University of Mississippi though
the civil war prevented its delivery. Northwestern ended up with the lens, telescope and all, in
1887. It has been in constant use since then.
After hearing about the telescope, the group headed upstairs to the dome itself. The first
target was already set on Saturn. Saturn’s brightness meant one couldn't make out any details on
the surface of the planet, but the rings were clearly visible. Katie adjusted the telescope to the
next viewing location, Eta Cassiopeiae, and William rotated the dome so that the opening lined
up with the telescope. Eta Cassiopeiae is a binary star system, much like the fictional Tatooine
from Star Wars. Through the telescope it looked like two very bright yellow dots ringed by
purple. The final astronomical target was a globular cluster, known as M15. Globular clusters are
gravity-condensed collections of stars, and though this cluster was thousands of light years away,
the combined effects of the many stars tightly packed meant it was visible through the telescope.
Overall it was fascinating to be able to see through such a powerful telescope, and hear from
passionate and knowledgeable astronomers! Dearborn Observatory is free and open to the public
every Friday from 9-10 pm, walk-ins welcome.
Elder Panel | Abigail Sutter
Monday, October 7th, 2019
On Monday, October 7th, Elizabeth Lenaghan, Elder’s Faculty-in Residence as well as the
Director of the Cook Family Writing Program, invited about 20 undergraduate students to her
home to hear a panel on the role of education in student success, especially students of
underrepresented identities. The panelists were Nichole Pinkard, the Associate Processor of
Learning Sciences in SESP; Omari Keeles, the Assistant Director for Diversity, Equity, and
Inclusion in the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching; Sarah Peko-Spicer, a PhD
Candidate in Statistics and Multidisciplinary Program in Education Sciences (MPES); and Ariel
Dotts, a PhD Candidate in the Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences.
The panelists began by discussing the accessibility of quality education. Peko-Spicer shared how
important she thought it was to find mentors who were willing to disrupt norms with and for
their students. Dotts agreed, adding that it was important for advisers to realize there is no single
path that fits all students, and that students with underrepresented identities should be advised in
a way that fits their needs. All four found that they’ve had similar experiences of being the
“only” in the room, ie. the only woman, the only black person, etc. After engaging the students
in this discussion by asking them to share their own experiences, Pinkard related it to the women
in Hidden Figures, discussing how histories that showcase minority figures excelling in their
respective fields is important to be able to pull from as inspiration when you are the “only.”
They also discussed how Northwestern engages in these discussions and ideas. Peko-Spicer
emphasized the importance of “decolonizing the syllabus” - including within STEM classes.
Keeles furthered this conversation by saying that although STEM professors often think of their
syllabus as facts-only and thus unchangeable, there’s more professors can do to foster an
inclusive learning environment: having pictures of minority figures in STEM fields instead of
just white men on the walls, not separating all the minorities in a class in group work, etc.
Overall the event featured inclusive discussion that fostered a spirit of growth among listeners, at
least for this one One Book ambassador.
On the Same Terms: 150 Years of Women at Northwestern | Megan Yaur
Monday, October 7th
Over 50 students, staff, and visitors gathered in Deering Library on October 10th to
celebrate the opening reception for “On the Same Terms,” a library exhibition dedicated to
honoring the 150 years Northwestern University has been educating women. Sarah Pritchard,
Dean of Libraries and Charles Deering McCormick University Librarian, kicked-off the event by
welcoming the many attendees and introducing co-chairs Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, vice provost
for academics in the Office of the Provost, and Jeri Ward, vice president in the Office of Global
Marketing and Communications. Ward then discussed the importance of the exhibition: to
analyze the impactful experiences and challenges Northwestern women overcame in order to
create an equal education experience. Archivist Janet Olson shared a historical overview of the
past 150 years from the momentous 1869 decision to provide “admission of young women to the
classes of the university upon the same terms and conditions as young men,” to the subsequent
challenges Northwestern overcame. As the curator for this exhibit, Olson emphasized that
creating an equal education for women was not only difficult to implement but also an extensive
process spearheaded by many female students themselves. Olson concluded the event with a
thought-provoking Q+A session, stimulating conversation amongst the audience as they shared
The exhibit displays records, photographs, and correspondence from University
Archives; which take a deep dive into the tenuous journey navigating housing, self-governance,
professions, extracurriculars, and race in the past century and a half. “On the Same Terms” will
be up October 2019 – June 2020. So, next time you’re in Deering Library, take the time to stop
by the exhibit on the second floor and learn about the profound obstacles and impacts from
Northwestern’s very own women!
Hidden Figures: No Longer Hidden -- Stories from women & women of color in STEM
departments at Northwestern | Jessa Shortridge
Wednesday, October 2
A small crowd gathered in the basement seminar room of Willard Hall for a dinner
discussion on STEM, gender, and race. Ben Gorvine, psychology professor and
Southwest Neighborhood Faculty-in-Residence, hosted the event with panelists
Schnaude Dorizan and Ariel Dotts (Northwestern PhD Candidates), Christine McCary
(PhD, Associate Professor in Biological Sciences), and LaTanya Veronica Williams
(PhD, Associate Director for STEM in the Office of Fellowships).
The conversation started with a discussion about workplace discrimination based on
race and gender. In the case of microaggressions, most agreed that the best course of
action is not to respond. This way, instigators have a chance to realize their actions
were perceived as offensive. Dorizan also told a story of her first year in grad school
when she put excessive pressure on herself to excel in every way. She felt the
responsibility of representing all women of color in STEM in a positive light and
emphasized that this is not healthy. Instead, it is important to focus on doing your best
for your own sake rather than attempting to exceed others’ expectations. Dr. McCary
discussed having different personas for various situations. For example, it is important
to be assertive and take ownership of your opinions to be taken seriously in academia,
especially considering the power dynamics as a student. Each panelist shared their
experiences with toxic culture in research settings, moments when they felt
disempowered. Everyone agreed that in cases like these, it is extremely important to be
your own advocate. While there are resources available and people who are able to
intervene, they are unable to help unless they are aware these issues exist.
Beyond these discussions, attendees were invited to ask questions. Topics ranged from
gap years, self-care, and strategies for making new environments feel like home. Even
for someone not pursuing a career in STEM, it was a very enlightening and enriching
evening. It was fascinating to hear about the progress of acceptance and inclusivity in
STEM fields over the last few decades, while at the same time understanding how far
we still have to go before we are all able to engage in healthy work environments.
For the Record: Remembering Some of History’s Most Revolutionary, yet Overlooked,
Women | Andrea Gouvea
Tuesday, October 1st
A new exhibit was inaugurated in Main Library’s South One on October 1st, where
students and faculty gathered to hear creators Lauren Kartz and Carly Mazer present
their work: For the Record: Remembering Some of History’s Most Revolutionary, yet
Stemming from last years production of Northwestern’s 88th Annual Waa-Mu Show, For
the Record, the exhibit displays the research compiled on hidden female historical
figures. At the reception, Kartz and Mazer explained that For the Record was inspired
by Amy Padnani’s “Overlooked Project,” a New York Times obituary series. Their goal is
much like Padnani’s: to honor revolutionary women whose stories have been erased
from the historical record. While there are many women whose stories fit this
description, the exhibit showcases thirty remarkable women, from Jane Addams (co-
founder of the Hull House, and advocate of Chicago’s social reform movement) to Rosa
May Billinghurst (member of the Women’s Social and Political Union in England).
The exhibit will be up through the end of fall quarter. Its creators “hope to illuminate just
a handful of histories unsung heroes and use their status as overlooked figures to
provoke a much needed conversation but the types of stories the world should be
CHETchat #3 | Yari Gallegos
Friday, August 9
A crowd of nearly 30 participants gathered at a conference room on Northwestern’s Chicago campus on August 9th for the last Hidden Figures Book club event of the summer. The program started with opening remarks from Dr. Patricia Canessa, an Adjunct Instructor for the Department of Medicine at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Canessa spoke about the importance of racial and socioeconomic representation in academic and work settings and taking risks to achieve equity and create change in our everyday lives. After Dr. Canessa’s encouraging words, we broke off into smaller discussion groups and went over two questions. The second question we discussed really stood out to me: “What does it mean to be an unhidden figure and if you had a choice, would you choose to remain hidden?” Once this question was discussed in the larger group, there were very mixed responses. Some expressed wanting to remain hidden so they could achieve their goals and create change without being disrupted by outside criticism. Others wanted to be unhidden so they could serve as mentors in their communities. Overall, the CHETchat Hidden Figures Summer Book Club Series was a great success and was filled with fascinating and lively discussions. I’m looking forward to all the amazing conversations that this year’s book selection will spark this academic year!
CHETchat #2 | Yari Gallegos
Monday, July 8
Lively discussions took place on July 8th at the Lurie-Hughes Auditorium on Northwestern’s Chicago campus. These discussions were the result of the second CHETchat of the Hidden Figures Summer Book Club Series hosted by the Center for Health Equity Transformation. The book group began with opening remarks by CHET Director of Operations Sarah Rittner. Then, attendees broke out into small discussion groups where we considered the question: “What, if anything, is different about inclusion in education and the workforce today?” This sparked conversation on representation in the workplace, the intersections of race and gender identity, and policies that exist in education and the workplace.
After the small group discussions, we came together as a larger group to discuss the question. What stood out from this discussion was a conversation on the difference between not excluding people and actual inclusion. Institutions and organizations have started to release more “diversity statements” and have expressed a commitment to fostering a diverse environment, but many times these are “blank statements” with limited concrete action steps and intentions behind them. In order to see real inclusion in education and the workplace, we have to move towards actually changing the culture in these places and provide access to necessary resources and support systems. The third and final CHETchat for the summer will be taking place on Monday August 12th at the McGaw-Daniel Hale Williams Auditorium. Can’t wait!
CHETchat #1 | Yari Gallegos
Monday, June 24
On Monday, June 24th, students and community members gathered in the McGaw-Daniel Hale Williams Auditorium at Northwestern’s Chicago campus for the first One Book event of the summer: CHETchat: Hidden Figures Summer Book Club Series. This book club series is made up of three book discussions organized by the Center for Health Equity Transformation, a group that aims to address health inequities in all sectors; CHET’s work attempts to improve human health by pushing boundaries and through education. CHET is led by Dr. Melissa Simon MD, MPH.
The book group discussion on Monday began with opening remarks from CHET Director, Melissa Simon. Dr. Simon gave some inspiring words about hidden figures in healthcare and encouraged audience members to push boundaries by going outside the box and “looking past what’s in the box.” After Dr. Simon’s motivational words, attendees divided into small groups to discuss three main questions: What does the term ‘hidden figures’ mean to you? How do hidden figures influence/impact equity? In what aspect of your life are you a hidden figure? After discussing these questions with our small groups, we discussed these ideas as a larger group. Folks shared their experiences as hidden figures in their workplaces and student groups, feeling the responsibility to uplift their communities, and talking about the policies and institutions that keep certain stories hidden. By the end of this book group chat, one thing was clear: our experiences matter, we all matter. While the event was only an hour in length, attendees left with having had incredible discussions and excitement for the next CHETchat on Monday, July 8th.