Endeavors, a UNC research publication, features an exemplary women researcher each week in its series “Women in Science Wednesday.”
The series highlights accomplishments of women scientists and humanizes the profession through telling the individual stories of people and their accomplishments.
Women in STEM today still face underrepresentation.
Catherine Chen, a second-year Ph.D. student researches toad mating habits to better understand evolutionary biodiversity. She said that her mentors helped her and reviewed her writing during her undergraduate career. In addition to her studies, she has produced research communications with the goal of interesting more people in science.
Now, at UNC, she’s continued to find a supportive network.
“Biology is a great department to be in,” Chen said. “It’s a very collaborative environment.”
But she said that she noticed most Ph.D. students in her department are women, while most of her professors are men.
Katrina Morgan, a fourth-year Ph.D. student in mathematics, was also featured in the series. She said she enjoys her research, which focuses on using equations to describe the behaviors of light waves. However, since joining the department, she has had to adjust to new social dynamics and deal with feelings of isolation.
“The reality has been that I’ve been the only woman in my graduate classes,” Morgan said. “I love what I do. If I leave, there will be one less woman around.”