PICTURE A SCIENTIST film screening and discussion

A female scientist sitting on a chair entering data in a lab from behind a closed door.

Western Michigan University – in collaboration with Iowa State University, Michigan Technological University and North Dakota State University – is hosting a virtual film and panel discussion to enhance awareness of gender bias and continued lack of diversity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. This virtual event will take place on Thursday, October 1 beginning at 7 p.m. EDT. A screening of the film, “Picture a Scientist,” will be followed by a panel discussion.

PICTURE A SCIENTIST is a feature-length documentary film chronicling the groundswell of researchers who are writing a new chapter for women scientists. Biologist Nancy Hopkins, chemist Raychelle Burks and geologist Jane Willenbring lead viewers on a journey deep into their own experiences in the sciences, overcoming brutal harassment, institutional discrimination, and years of subtle slights to revolutionize the culture of science. From cramped laboratories to spectacular field stations, we also encounter scientific luminaries who provide new perspectives on how to make science itself more diverse, equitable, and open to all. The film challenges audiences of all backgrounds and genders to question their own implicit biases and move forward with change strategies.

Watch the trailer

This event is the first in a year-long, Cross-Institutional Caucus Series, hosted by the four institutions engaged in the ADVANCE Midwest Partnership – Joining Forces grant. The series, taking place in 2020-21, will highlight gender inequities in STEM workplaces, and suggest institutional strategies to counter these inequities.

Virtual film screening and panel discussion

Thursday, Oct. 1

7 p.m. EDT – Welcome
7:10 p.m. EDT – Screening of the film (97 minutes)
9 p.m. EDT – Panel discussion with members of the NSF ADVANCE partnership

RVSP today  Read press release

Meet the scientists

Female scientist at a beach excavating items from the sane.Dr. Jane Willenbring
Associate Professor of Geology
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego
View profile

Willenbring shares her experiences with gender bias and sexual harassment as a geologist.


A female scientist holding up a clear bin containing fish.Dr. Nancy Hopkins
Agmen Professor of Biology Emerita
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
View profile

Hopkins discusses her movement for change for women within academia.

A female scientist holding up a container to exam it.Dr. Raychelle Burks
Associate Professor of Chemistry
American University
View profile

Burks addresses gender bias and racial discrimination as a analytical chemist.

ADVANCE Midwest Partnership – Joining Forces

The ADVANCE Midwest Partnership - Joining Forces is a cross-institutional effort of these four research-intensive, doctoral-granting public universities funded by the NSF ADVANCE program to promote increased equity, diversity, and faculty retention and career advancement of faculty in science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

Picture A Scientist sponsors