Female scientists to share their contribution to mathematics

Three Eastern biological science professors plan to discuss environmental issues specific to their separate research in the panel discussion “Women, Science and Sustainability.”

The panel discussion is a part of Women’s History and Awareness Month and will be at 7 p.m. today in the Doudna Fine Arts Center Lecture Hall.

Ann Fritz, an associate professor of biology, said the panelists were selected through the biological department because of their scientific contributions with sustainability.

“The focus is going to highlight what is each professor’s interest,” Fritz said. “We’re going to take the broad topic of sustainability and look at three components: how to monitor the environment, how to restore the environment when it has been disturbed and how people have been living in an area where they have been under military occupation.”

Fritz, the moderator of the panel discussion, said each of the panelists will discuss through research how the toxic chemicals of our environment affect our lives.

Karen Gaines, the chairwoman of the biological sciences department, said she was chosen for the panel because of her specialty in environmental sustainability.

“It’s women’s history month, so I’ll talk about how I got into research and stainability,” Gaines said. “We’re more equally represented in applied sciences; women bring different perspectives and make that field branch out.”

Fritz said part of Gaines research has involved researching toxic components and how they affect the environment. She also said she monitors the consequences of the environment.

Nida Sehweil-Elmuti, an instructor of biological sciences, will be presenting how Pakistani women are affected by the toxic chemicals of the environment and will primarily focus on how the Pakistani women have been affected by their adverse community where they currently reside under military occupation.

Sehweil-Elmuti is going to talk about the environment on more of a global aspect, Fritz said.

“She will be focusing on the women’s role and how they function in that environment,” Fritz said.

Gaines said they have a program called “Women, Science and Mathematics.”

“Studies have shown women problem solve different than men,” Gaines said. “My expertise is in spatial analysis which is how men and women look at things differently.”

Janice Coons, a professor of biological sciences, said the event focuses on the women’s history and awareness month theme of women and the environment and will discuss her research about native species.

Coons said she will talk about three specific areas, the first of which is about limited or rare species in Illinois and throughout the United States.

“It focuses on rare species which involve species in Florida and the Dakotas,” Coons said. “It’s about their ability to grow and their ability to pollinate.”

Coons said she will also discuss preserve centers that restore plants and how we have two demonstration gardens on campus.

“I think men and women have different perspectives on things and have different priorities,” Gaines said. “What we do does make a difference.”

Jennifer Brown can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].