In the Department of Biomedical Engineering at Case Western Reserve, PhD student Victoria Laney isn’t only working on research to help make cancer detection more accessible. She’s also offering mentorship for other women in STEM, one of countless women across the university to share her talents in the sciences. It’s a dynamic that makes the CWRU community special—only a quarter of all Americans working in STEM in 2019 were women (U.S. Census Bureau)—and it’s one that International Day of Women and Girls in Science (Feb. 11) seeks to celebrate.
In recognition of the day, The Daily spoke with Laney and other women at CWRU who advance scientific study in disciplines ranging from technology and engineering to social science, business and law.
Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences
Associate Professor Dana Prince’s work in social sciences—the study of human society and relationships—is focused on the needs of youth with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (SOGIE). Similar to the term LGBTQIA+, SOGIE encompasses both sexual orientation and gender identity, and the work is typically focused on better addressing the needs of youth who are involved in public systems.
Prince’s research draws heavily on her partnerships and collaborations with other fields of knowledge. By bringing each person’s expertise and particular research focus area together, social scientists can then conjointly develop interventions that are responsive, based in real-world settings and are actually meaningful and appropriate to the SOGIE youth.
“We talk about these messy, complex problems,” she said. “And we can’t just rely on one way of thinking or knowing how to create social change.”
Prince’s personal experiences at an early age inspired her to study not only social work, but also public health, urban education and women’s and feminist studies. She believes all of these different training pieces shaped who she is as a social work scholar and researcher.
“The answer to why we do what we do is often multi-layered,” she reflected. “I have always been interested in social change and addressing social problems, and it’s amazing to me how everyone has different experiences and understandings of why things are the way they are in our society.”
To Prince, the need to champion women and girls in science is obvious.
“There needs to be more equity in who has access to learning about research, and it can’t just be limited to gender—there are all types of people who have been excluded from research opportunities over the years, and that needs to change.”
This story appeared in The Daily on Feb. 10, 2023.