White House Invites University Diversity Leaders to Champions of Change Event

Posted: December 08, 2011

Two Ohio State University leaders of diversity initiatives have been invited to the White House to share innovative ideas about helping to recruit girls and retain women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Mary Juhas Juhas

Joan Herbers, professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Mary Juhas, associate dean for diversity and outreach and a clinical associate professor of materials science and engineering in the College of Engineering, will attend the Champions of Change event this Friday. The Champions of Change program was created as a part of President Obama’s Winning the Future initiative. Each week, a different issue is highlighted and groups of Champions, ranging from educators to entrepreneurs to community activists, are recognized for the work they are doing to better their communities.

On Friday, agency representatives and White House Policy Offices will participate and host several small group discussions between champions and other notable guests from varying sectors and communities around engaging and supporting girls and women in STEM. These breakouts — which will focus specifically on changing the stereotypes of girls in the sciences/technology, mentoring, and supporting/retaining women in the STEM workforce — will be followed immediately by a larger event focused on amplifying best practices learned in each area. 

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Ohio State to sit at the table with those who influence policy makers who can make a difference in improving the STEM workforce through good diversity practices,” Juhas said. “It will give us the chance to share our growing portfolio of strong programs that address the STEM pipeline for women and underrepresented minorities, to learn best practices, and perhaps glean information about new potential collaborations and funding opportunities.”

Herbers and Juhas were invited to the event as experts in the field and representatives of related professional organizations. Herbers is the current president of the Association for Women in Science. Juhas is a board member of WEPAN, Women in Engineering ProActive Network, which works to transform the culture in engineering education, and chair of the Ohio State President and Provost’s Council on Women. Glenda La Rue, director of Ohio State’s Women in Engineering Program, is the current president of WEPAN.

In addition, Herbers leads Ohio State’s Project CEOS, Comprehensive Equity at Ohio State; Juhas also is a co-investigator on the CEOS team. The goal of Project CEOS, which is established through a grant from the National Science Foundation’s ADVANCE program, is to increase the representation and advancement of women in academic STEM careers through research-based interventions that transform the workplace culture. These interventions are increasing women’s participation in the scientific and engineering workforce at Ohio State. Project CEOS includes the College of Arts and Sciences and the Colleges of Engineering and Veterinary Medicine — and provides leadership development, peer mentoring, action learning teams and entrepreneurship training.

Watch the Champions of Change event live at 3:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 9.

Mary Juhas,, 614-688-8239

More information:
Champions of Change
Project CEOS