Acting Assistant Provost Gail Gasparich, Ph.D. and Associate Professor of Chemistry Clare Muhoro, Ph.D. have been named two of the top 100 women nationally in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) field by INSIGHT into Diversity magazine.
The magazine’s “Inspiring Women in STEM” award pays tribute annually to women across the nation for their efforts to encourage women to pursue and persist in STEM fields.
“I am honored to be one in a long line of women who have worked to diversify STEM,” Dr. Gasparich says. “It has never been intellect and ability that limited women and minorities in this field, just a lack of access and opportunity. When I think back on my own career path, in high school I had a counselor that told me that I should stay away from the STEM area because most women found that too challenging. Obviously, my rebellious nature took over and I ignored that advice!
“My experiences have provided me with the desire to assist others reach their career goals in STEM,” she adds. “I strongly feel that that sex of the individual has nothing to do with success or failure in any given field. So too, race, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever makes us diverse, should not be a deterrent. Instead, studies show that diversity leads to more creative problem solving and scientific papers with a great contribution to the field and greater impact and this should only be encouraged.”
The associate dean for the Fisher College of Science and Mathematics at Towson University has hosted a “Women in Science” forum for the past 10 years to promote the STEM field to female secondary, undergraduate and graduate students and to listen to women speakers who work in diverse science professions from meteorologists and science show producers to physicians and astronomers.
As a professor of biology, her commitment to mentoring young scientists extends from the secondary school level to master’s degree candidates. Over half of her undergraduate students conducting research in her laboratory have been women, and several of those female students have gone onto Ph.D. programs at SUNY-Stony Brook, Duke University, University of Georgia, George Washington and Emory.
Five of her seven master’s program students have been women who are now working with the Maryland State Police Crime Laboratory, BD Diagnostics, NIH, and as a water resources management specialist in the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and an associate professor at Towson University in the Department of Biological Sciences.
She has won extramural research and training grants totaling more than $4 million from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Maryland Department of Education, and the University System of Maryland.
Muhoro earned her doctorate in organometallic chemistry from Yale University, and in addition to her position at Towson, she is a research advisor in the U.S. Global Development Lab at USAID and an AAAS Science and Technology policy fellow in diplomacy, security and development.
She has inspired dozens of women and students of color to pursue science careers. She has conducted summer science academies for middle school girls and gives annual talks about science to eighth graders in Kenya – returning once every two to three years to speak to Kenyan high school students also as well.
Muhoro has published research articles in high-impact journals, secured US federal funding for her research and given numerous presentations at national and international scientific conferences. She serves on the board of COACh, the Committee for the Advancement of Women in Science, to provide mentorship and career-success training to women scientists both in the US and in developing countries.