Northern Chapter of the New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering


(a quasi-periodical)


One never notices what has been done; one can only see what remains to be done. -- Marie Curie



First, the disclaimer: any errors are the responsibility of Laura McNamara, LAWIS Newsletter editor. Please send any comments, corrections, and/or items for inclusion to lauramc@lanl.gov, or call 665-9685. This May 2000 issue is the fourth of the year; if you're interested in previous issues, many are available on the LAWIS home page (http://home.lanl.gov/lawis/New sLetters).

Barring unforeseen circumstances, the Newsletter will issued electronically during the first week of every month. Announcements or news items must be on my desk by the last Monday of every month to make the next issue. Please contact me if you prefer hardcopy format and I'll be sure to send one out. Lastly, scroll to the end of this newsletter and check out the neat community service opportunities coming up this spring - these are Laboratory-approved activities, so get involved!

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The next meeting of the LAWIS Steering Committee will be Thursday, May 11th , 2000 at 7:00 a.m. You'll find us in the back of the Otowi cafeteria again this month. The rest of the LAWIS meetings have been scheduled for 7 AM as follows:

Lastly, if you'd like to talk to one of the Steering Committee members, all our contact information is available on the LAWIS Web Page, scrupulously maintained by Tinka Gammel and Cathy Cleland. The list is located at ( http://home.lanl.gov/lawis/NMNWSE_Northern.html). We're glad to hear from you.

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Well, folks, the last Steering Committee meeting took place on April 13, 2000, but the committ ee ran out of time and didn't get to discuss all the issues on the table. We did schedule a f ollow-up meeting for Thursday, April 27th. However, the minutes from both meetings won't be f inalized until May 11th. You can look for them on the LAWIS website and in the June issue of the newsletter. Meanwhile, here's the draft - emphasize - DRAFT - version of the minutes fr om the April 13th discussion. You'll notice some pretty interesting topics, including proper use of the LAWIS listserver, as well as suggestions for recognizing pay equity champions at LA NL.

The Steering Committee for Los Alamos Women in Science met Thursday, 4/13/00 at 7:00 a.m., at the back of the cafeteria. Members present were Cathy Cleland, Ann Mauzy, Janie Enter, Mary Campbell, Dana Roberson, and Margo Clark. Members absent were Susana Delano, Dolores Montaño, Laura McNamara, Huyen Dinh, and Angelique Neuman. We were joined by Tinka Gamel, Gloria Mirabal, Amy Meilander, and Mary Gentry.

LAWIS Listserv:
Janie reported steps taken to discourage/prevent abuse of the listserv and the fallout from the Million Mom March for Gun Control posting. Tinka Gamel and visitors Amy Meilander and Mary Gentry form CIC-5, mail management joined the discussion. We don't want to censor e-mail posted to the listserv. The CIC-5 representative said as long as we follow LAB/DOE waste, fraud, and abuse guidelines, we are OK. However, they cautioned, "Think before you hit send." If you aren't sure, get a second opinion. "If it's a politically charged, controversial topic, avoid it." Tinka added, "Be sure you know who you are replying to; don't reply to 'all' if you don't intend to." Guidelines for the Web will be up in the next couple of weeks. There are already guidelines on spam. Janie will circulate new guidelines and the URL when they are available.

Tinka asked if we could restrict the list to LANL plus our members outside of LANL. It's not practical. She asked if we could filter out words and have a default list. I didn't get the fi nal answer. (Tinka, help) Mail Manager will keep in touch with Tinka. Pay Equity Coalition/Janet Wing Recognition - Gloria Mirabal defined the Pay Equity Coalition, which seeks to raise awareness of the issue of pay equity between men and women. The Coalitio n includes Employee Advisory Committee, Women's Diversity Working Group, AAUW, Business and Pr ofessional Women, and others. The chairman is Mary Barr. There will be a speaker from Weiser C orp. May 11 at the MSL Conference Room during the lunch hour talking about helping women plan for their retirement. The Coalition in partnership with Mana del Norte will do a workshop in E spa$#241;ola with this speaker also.

Gloria asked us to do something to honor Janet Wing for her efforts to help with pay equity at the Lab. Janet headed a class-action suit, which took years in the 1980s, that resulted in mo re pay equity for women at LANL. Pay equity rules were subsequently added to the LANL Admin. Manual. She proposed that we do something, "even if it's a plaque or a certificate" and sugges ted the LANL talk May 11 would be a good place to do so. Gloria's number is 672-3094. The discussion then turned on whether labor unions at the Lab made things different vis-`-vis what we could champion or not. We affirmed that we are a separate organization from LANL, a ch apter of a statewide organization. Margo will take two related questions to the state board me eting on Saturday, April 15: Would NMNWSE join the Pay Equity Coalition? Would they lend their name to the plaque (Ann will word it). Proposed wording for the Janet Wing plaque:

LAWIS, The Northern Chapter of the New Mexico Network for Women in Science and Engineering (NMNWSE) recognizes Janet Wing for her contributions to all women in science and for serving as a valuable and inspiring mentor to other women throughout her career.

We decided we couldn't do it as a LANL organization but could do it as a non-LANL plaque to be purchased from membership money. The only financial connection between LAWIS and LANL is the internal money used for EYH. A motion was passed to come up with a plaque to honor Janet Wing for her contributions to wome n in science. Janie will check on the cost of doing a Nambi plaque. We asked ourselves what we could to support pay equity, and we will ask for guidance from the state.

Nice segue to the by-laws discussion. Mary can put a statement in the by-laws clarifying the LAWIS/LANL relationship. The new draft will go to the state leadership to see if it is OK or if anything is lacking. All "WIS" will be changed to "LAWIS." It appears that the changes presently being made are revisions to update the existing document, not to add amendments. We talked about whether we had to put in an amendment about unions and decided to add a LAWIS/LANL clarification instead. But later we decided that since we are not a LANL organization, we didn't need to add the clarification.

If we are merely making revisions to the existing document, a simple majority vote will be sufficient to approve them. If we are adding amendments, a 2/3 majority is necessary. We talked about how to circulate and vote for the revised by-laws with a combination of mail and e-mail.

Margo will clarify if NMNWSE is also a part of the Math and Science Network. We also talked about replacing Steering Committee members who do not attend meetings. It being 8:30, the remainder of the discussion was tabled until Thursday, April 27, same time, same place. Please note this is IN ADDITION to the regularly scheduled meetings every second Thursday of the month.

Calling All Web Experts:Cathy and Tinka are looking for s ome help setting up a voting system for the next LAWIS elections. They are looking for someone with CGI or Java scripting skills, Perl and HTML. If you can help, or you know someone with these skills, please contact Cathy buzzer@lanl.gov and/or Tinka jtg@lanl.gov.

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Past Events

Careers And Curiosity At Española Middle School A Big Hit! Denise George kindly provided the following report on the Careers and Curiosity day held at Española Middle School on April 11th, 2000. If you're on the LANL web, you can see some photos of the event at home.lanl.gov/dcg/CC/C+C2000-photos.html. This was the first Careers and Curiosity in Math and Science held at a middle school. As the participants were older, we decided that a more structured format might work better. We wanted to reach all 7th graders (~300) and since at this school there are three 7th grade science classes each period, we first thought that we would set up stations in the 3 classrooms. The classes would rotate through the 3 rooms, spending about 15 minutes in each room. As the date of the event approached, we realized that this would not give students enough time at each station, so we contacted the school to ask if we could have 2 class periods instead of one. This would allow the students more time at each station. As the presenters are not teachers, we asked that the teachers rotate through the events with their students. We also divided students into boy/girl subgroups where appropriate. The parent organization supplied some parent volunteers and other volunteers came from the local American Association of University Women.

The stations included:

  1. exploring with magnets (three substations: levitation using magnets, magnet toys and kits, iron filings patterns)
  2. hydrology ( how does water flow through different soil types)
  3. radiation (radiation in some common objects)
  4. chemistry of foods (testing for starch)
  5. microbiology (bacteria that glow under UV light)
  6. explosives (safety, chemical structure of some explosives, deformation caused by explosives)
  7. geology (two substations: volcanos and rocks that float, and rocks of the Jemez Mountains)
  8. 3D computer modeling (building 3D grids consisting of 4 basic geometric shapes using mars hmallows and toothpicks)
  9. brain teaser toys (puzzles involving topology and logic).
The parent coordinator provided interface to the school administration, recruited parent volunteers, and took care of important details such as locking the rooms during lunch, providing snacks, traffic control. Overall the event went very well. The students were polite and engaged in the activities. However, we learned some important lessons:
  1. The rotation was not well worked out - for this format to succeed we should print out a schedule of time slots for each class at each activity. There should be an adult that rotates with each class and moves them along as appropriate. The presenters should also have a copy of the schedule and be aware of the time constraints.
  2. Lots of helpers are needed - each presenter needs a helper - the helpers can be other scientists, interested parents or volunteers from the community. We also need a helper or two to meet presenters at the door - help them unload and take them to their stations. A few roving helpers are needed to run errands, watch stations while presenters take a break, bring snacks etc. The helpers we had were wonderful, but overworked!
  3. We need a better way to separate stations - two or more stations in one room was noisy and distracting - separate rooms would be best but maybe portable blackboards with fabric draped over to absorb sound might work as a compromise. In a school with wide hallways, halls could be used for some stations. The presenter coordinator, parent coordinator and school coordinator should walk through the school early in the planning process, thinking creatively of spaces that might be used for this event.
  4. There should be a translator for non-English speaking students.
  5. Teachers should stay with their students. The presenter should let the teacher know if he/she is invited to participate in the activity.

Here are a few more ideas to ponder:

  1. Fall might be better than spring, because it would encourage students to work diligently in their math and science classes for the rest of the school year.
  2. Other formats were suggested - scientists could set up one or two demos/activities in a science classroom and the students assigned to that science teacher would do the activities in that room. In this school, for all students to have the same access, we would either have to find 3 scientists willing to do the same activity, or the scientist would have to be willing to come three days. Alternatively we could have different activities in the 3 science rooms and students would just have access to the activities in their science class.
If you have any feedback, suggestions or questions for Denise about Careers and Curiosity, you can contact her at work: dgeorge@lanl.gov.

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Remember: for all Lunchtime Talks, Sideroom C is open from 11:30-1:30 for an early or late lunch and socializing. Nonmembers are invited join us, so bring a friend!

Lunchtime Talk, Tuesday, May 9, 11:30am -1:30pm (talk at 12:00pm), Cochiti Room, Study Center:
Lisa Gutierrez, Director of Diversity Office, LANL, "TEAMING FOR SUCCESS: The Power of Diversity." ABSTRACT: This talk will focus on a number of issues related to Diversity, including questions such as A) How is the DVO defining Diversity? B) Where does diversity fit within LANL and other strategies? C) How does diversity link to core work of the lab? D) Personal Sharing: Lisa's diversity learning and examples and E) how to become a "cultural consumer." This talk is jointly sponsored by the American Association of University Women (AAUW). As we usually do with the Otowi Siderooms, the Cochiti room is reserved from 11:30 to 1:30 for people who like to eat earlier or later, and informal discussion. You are welcome to come for just the talk at noon. Questions are encouraged!

The Los Alamos Pay Equity Coalition (MANA de Norte, AAUW, BPW, LWV, EAC, WDWG and members at large) invites you to attend some pay equity events scheduled for May 10 and May 11. On Wednesday, May 10, the Coalition will host an information booth at the Otowi Cafeteria to distribute information about the importance of pay equity for women. On May 11, we will host a presentation by Cindy Hunsel from WISER (Women's Institute for a Secure Retirement) during the noon hour at the Material Science Laboratory (MSL) conference room (Conf. room is not in a classified area). The conference room is on the East side of the road at the Sigma Road stop light on Diamond Drive. Snacks will be provided at the presentation. At the May 11 presentation, representatives from Women in Science will present a plaque to former LANL mathematician Janet Wing whose work and efforts led to the hiring and advancement of female scientists at the Laboratory. We would like as many women there as possible to show our appreciation to her. On the evening of May 10, MANA del Norte has scheduled a no-host dinner at Angelina's Restaurant in Española where Cindy Hunsel will again speak to women from the community on the importance of saving and investing for their retirement. The public is invited to attend. Dinner is at 6:00 (order from the menu), the presentation will be from 7:00 to 9:00. You are invited to join us for all or part of this program. At the Española event Cindy will cover how social security plays a part in your overall retirement planning, whereas at the Lab presentation, social security will not be stressed as much. This is probably the biggest difference in the two talks. Please pass this information to as many people as possible. I look forward to see you at these events. If you have questions call Gloria Mirabal at 672-3094.

AAUW invites LAWIS members to a Spring Membership Tea, Friday, May 5, 2000, 4 to 6 p.m. Fellowship Hall at Bethlehem Lutheran Church 2390 North Road (enter from parking lot). This is AAUW's annual membership meeting. There will be a $3.00 charge to defray the expense of finger foods, tea, and coffee, which will be provided. Kathy Hjeresen of Kathy's Natural Designs will be the speaker. She designs, collects the gem stones, and creates beautiful jewelry. A collection of her jewelry will be available for sale and she has agreed to donate part of her profit to the AAUW Educational Foundation. (AAUW is currently trying to complete an Educational Foundation Endowment in honor of Georgia Fritz - a name familiar to many members of LAWIS.) This is a great opportunity to purchase your Mothers Day and graduation gifts. (Contact Jane Sherwood, 662-3194, jcsherwood@lanl.gov, if you need further information.)

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Another Science Fair!! The Salazar School in Santa Fe is seeking volunteer judges for its Science Fair, May 4th, which is this coming Thursday.... For more information, please contact Linda Anderman at the Community Relations Office, 665-9196 or anderman@lanl.gov.

Habitat for Humanity is seeking volunteers to work on a new home being built in San Pedro. Construction will begin sometime in late May/early June. If you'd like to sign up, please check out the website at http://outreach:251/volunteerevents/habit.html. If you've got questions, contact Elizabeth Kallman: eliz@lanl.gov or 665-2850.

National Volunteer Month has come and gone but opportunities abound - some of the opportunities that await you include:

For more information on these and other volunteer opportunities, check out the Community Relations Office web page at http://www.lanl.gov/orgs/cr/index.html. Click on "Volunteer Activities".

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