Skip to main content

KNOXVILLE — A two-day symposium hosted by the University of Tennessee Oct. 15-16 aims to educate female scientists who are new to their careers about the unique challenges they face entering the world of research.

The Women in Science Symposium is targeted toward graduate students and postdoctoral researchers in the Knoxville area.

“Women have scientific leadership opportunities as never before, but careers in industry, government laboratories and academics also present some unique challenges,” said symposium organizer Jan Musfeldt, a professor of chemistry at UT. “Our hope is that this symposium can crystallize some of those issues and give attendees a perspective on how to best establish their career.”

The sessions run from noon to 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 15 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Oct. 16.

Among the topics to be discussed at the event are issues related to balancing work and family life, including the challenges related to a dual-career household where each spouse is pursuing a scientific career. Another panel will address networking and the interview process, along with other information related to building a career in science.

A number of guest speakers will be featured throughout the symposium, including presenters from universities around the country discussing programs designed to benefit women in academic science. The symposium also features researchers from UT and Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Guest speakers include Patricia Culligan of Columbia University, Barabra Jones of IBM’s Almaden Research Center, Lynette Masden and Laura Kramer of the National Science Foundation, Debra Rolinson of the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Marc Sher of the College of William and Mary, Christine Stevens of Saint Louis University and Anna Swan of Boston University.

Symposium organizers say the event, while focused on women’s issues, is open to participants of either gender.

“Certainly a number of the issues that we will discuss, from career preparedness to spouse issues, affect men as well as women,” said Musfeldt.

The symposium is free and no registration is required. Attendees are welcome to come and go from the event based on their schedule and the programs of interest to them.

More information on the Women in Science Symposium, including a listing of speakers and schedule of events, is available online at

The symposium is sponsored by a number of UT organizations, including the Office of the Chancellor, the Department of Chemistry, the Chemical Physics program, the Department of Physics, the Department of Mathematics, and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering.


Jay Mayfield (865-974-9409,
Jan Musfeldt (865-974-3392,