Women in STEM

Oral Histories from 21st-Century Scientists

"What a scientist looks like can be pretty varying..."

- Dr. Cynthia Burrows

Women have been an integral part of science for centuries, yet they have often labored in the margins, rendered invisible by cultural and social practices and norms that elevated men and stereotypical masculinity. Today, more women than ever have entered scientific and technical fields; yet serious inequalities persist in their recruitment, retainment, and advancement. The challenges faced by girls and women interested in science range from blatant discrimination and harassment to more subtle and pervasive ideologies and systemic biases, which cause them to feel unwelcome or inadequate. When women do make it into academic research, the tradeoffs they make in order to survive and thrive may exact a high personal cost.


Learn about the design of this exhibit.

Cynthia (Cindy) Burrows is a distinguished professor in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah. She is the former chair of the Department of Chemistry, recent recipient of the Rosenblatt Prize, and a faculty member of the Biological Chemistry Program. Her research focuses on nucleic acid chemistry, specifically investigating the effects of modifications to DNA and RNA bases.

To see the two full length interviews conducted with Cynthia, please visit the video for the session on 3/18/21, and its corresponding transcript, along with the video and transcript for the session on 3/23/21.

Lisa Diamond is a renowned professor, researcher, and published author working jointly in the Department of Psychology and the Division of Gender Studies at the University of Utah. Her main research interests are women’s sexuality, sexual fluidity over the lifespan, and relationship science. Diamond wrote Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women’s Love and Desire (2009), published by Harvard University Press. In this oral history interview, Diamond shares the experiences and motivations she had as she became a prominent lesbian woman research psychologist. Diamond also emphasizes the importance of both the mentorship she received growing up, and the mentorship she imparts to her students.

Click here to see the video and transcript of her oral history interview.

Dr. Kirtly Parker Jones received her undergraduate degree in molecular, mellular, and developmental biology. She then went to medical school and completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and a fellowship in reproductive endocrinology. She was a professor at the University of Utah teaching reproductive medicine to medical students. She was also a part of the in-vitro fertilization program at the University. Dr. Jones was a member of the National Medical Committee for Planned Parenthood. She is currently retired from her clinical practice, and has started a podcast about women’s health called The Seven Domains of Women's Health. 

To see the two full length interviews conducted with Dr.Jones, please visit the video for the session on 3/18/21, and its corresponding transcript, along with the video and transcript for the session on 3/21/21.

Amy Sibul is the Community Engaged Learning Coordinator at the University of Utah in the Biology Department. She is also an instructor for Conservation Biology, Wildlife Ecology, and a faculty advisor for the University of Utah Beekeepers Association. She is a recipient of the Alta Sustainability Community Partnership Award and is passionate about conservation and community outreach.


To see her interview, click here for the video on 3/18/21, here for the video on 3/25/21, and here for the transcript.