STEM Women: Sharing our Stories, Illustrating our Resilience

February 22, 2022 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Presented by: Marilee Benore, PhD, CEW+ 2021 Carol Hollenshead Inspire Award for Excellence in Promoting Equity & Social Change Award Winner

All of us have stories to share. Reflecting upon your life, choices you made, how you overcame obstacles – highlights your personal strengths and motivations. Sharing your story with others…the paths, the deviations, the obstacles and the joys, the large and small things that kept you going, is both human and more importantly – could be a critical example for someone struggling with a similar situation. Understanding the choices and actions that strengthen resilience is sometimes called true grit. The realization that this was an underserved area of STEM research, that would be important to anyone- women, people of color, or any socially obstructed group- who needed examples during difficult challenges, motivated my work. We will learn what evidence supports resilience training. I will share a few stories I have heard—promising and challenging, and the ways these individuals succeeded. Some of the common underlying themes will be discussed.

  • Part one – Introduction. The first part of the workshop will be a presentation of my path and experiences. How I resolved my desire to support women in STEM by discovering and sharing stories. I will acknowledge my challenges and choices in work and family, and share other stories of challenge and grit.
  • Part two – Sharing stories. Next, small groups of individuals will be formed. Each person, as comfortable, will share a story demonstrating resilience, identifying their own support and motivations. They will then call upon each other to help solve obstacles they currently face.
  • Part three – Wrap up. In a wrap-up, each group will be asked to share one example of a resilience challenge. Participants will take away an understanding of their own motivations and “true grit”, help someone else navigate an obstacle, and get support for their own journey.

An integral part of the Inspire initiative is pairing advocacy, social change, and activism with skills that enhance a sense of well-being, focus, and interconnectedness. A short guided Mindfulness Meditation practice will be incorporated into the program.

Marilee A. Benore is a Professor of Biochemistry and Biology in the Natural Sciences Department at the University of Michigan Dearborn. She teaches biochemistry courses as well as those that intersect science, equity, and inclusion. She is active in the American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, serving as National Director of the student chapters, and is a member of the Women in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Committee. She is co-author of a popular lab manual. Her lab investigates vitamin transport using Riboflavin Binding Protein (RBP) in the hen as a model, and with collaborators is developing an assay to measure riboflavin in at-risk populations. In addition to lab work, she seeks to understand the persistence of women in STEM via oral histories and surveys. She has won awards for mentoring and is co-chair of the U-M Academic Women’s Caucus Sarah Goddard Power Award Committee. She was director of the UM-Dearborn Women in Learning and Leadership and has been selected as an Arden Interdisciplinary Scholar. More information is available at umdearborn.edu/users/marilee. Click here to view her lightning talk.

Click here to read about her bioanthropology study-abroad experience.