Messenger: Women in STEM and Cultural Diversity
MESSENGER is one of the only 9 projects funded by the British Council to share ATHENA SWAN knowledge and experience with Brazilian counterparts.
The MESSENGER project focuses on empowering women in science through mentoring and exchanging experiences. This phenomenal initiative, UK-Brazil Gender Equality Partnership is funded by the British Council (2021-2022) and led by Professor Alexandra I. Cristea.
MESSENGER aims to reduce the gender disparity in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) as seen all over the world by promoting the participation of women in undergraduate courses in STEM both in basic and higher education.
The UK-Brazil Gender Equality Partnership Initiative is a ground breaking collaboration aimed at promoting gender equality in science, technology, higher education, and research institutions in Brazil. The partnership brings together Durham University, represented by Professor Alexandra I. Cristea and Professor Sue Black , with two Brazilian institutions: Federal University of Amazonas represented by Professor Elaine Harada Teixeira de Oliveira (ufam.edu.br) and Santa Catarina State University represented by Professor Isabela Gasparini (udesc.br). The goal of the initiative is to shape institutional policies and practices that will drive progress towards gender equality in these fields.
This Initiative is structured in 7 main phases, each featuring a variety of interactions and activities, to create an inclusive and supportive environment for girls and women in STEM. The goal is to ensure that they feel welcome, safe, and confident in their studies and future careers, and have access to the resources and support they need to succeed.
An Informative Session on Mentoring and Reducing Gender Disparity in STEM Fields
At the MESSENGER Workshop on in May, 2022, Donna Herdsman of Talking Talent and Professor Sue Black gave a comprehensive presentation on how mentoring can help bridge the gender gap in STEM fields. The session was interactive, involving students and professors from Federal University of Amazonas (UFAM) and Santa Catarina State University (UDESC). It provided a valuable opportunity for participants to engage with the speakers and discuss ways to promote gender equality in STEM.
Brazilian Professors Explore the Cutting-Edge of Computer Science at Durham University
In July 2022, two Brazilian academics, Professor Isabela Gasparini and Professor Elaine Harada visited the Department of Computer Science at Durham University to learn about Athena SWAN initiative and its implementation. They were impressed with the department’s fast-paced progress and in-depth research in the field of computer science.
During the MESSENGER Meeting (July 21st, 2022), Rachel Archbold, the Head of EDI at Durham University, delivered an engaging presentation on the Athena SWAN initiative, discussing the university’s journey and experience in implementing and practicing it. Currently, Durham University holds a Bronze Award from the Athena SWAN Charter. Professor Sue Black, an EDI expert, also spoke about the ongoing efforts to adopt the Athena SWAN Framework at the departmental level.
On the following day (22nd July, 2022) Isabela Gasparini and Elaine Harada talked about the efforts of their respective institutions in promoting gender equality. Two Durham University students, Laila Alrajhi and Jian Mingyue, also shared their experiences as women in STEM fields. Their unique perspective significantly enriched the discussion on diversity and inclusion in STEM during the meeting.
|Thursday, 21st July
|Participant arrival and lunch
|Alexandra. I Cristea
|Chairing and Introduction to Athena SWAN
|Deputy Dean FSc. Durham University
|Athena Swan a journey in application and practice
|Head of EDI. Durham University
|Athena SWAN in Computer Science
|Tech. Evangelist Cs. Durham University
|Friday, 22nd July
|Participant arrival and lunch
|Overview of Santa Catarina State University,
|Introduction and Welcome from UDESC
|Acting Dean of UDESC
|Welcome from Technological Science, UDESC
|Dean Technological Science UDESC
|Greetings and initiatives from Brazil.
|Santa Catarina State University
|Mini presentation, Jian Mingyue
|Why you should consider an Undergraduate STEM Major.
|Durham University Student
|Mini presentation, Laila Alrajhi
|Why you should consider a Postgraduate education in STEM
|Durham University Student
|Overview of Santa Catarina State University
|Greetings and initiatives from Brazil.
|Federal University of the Amazonas
Durham University Professors Tour Brazilian Universities in September 2022
As part of the 6th phase of the MESSENGER Project, Professor Alexandra I. Cristea and Professor Sue Black visited various universities in Brazil, including Sao Paulo University, University of Santa Catarina (UDESC), Joinville and University of the Amazonas, Manaus.
The meeting at Sao Paulo University (20th September, 2022) aimed to exchange best practices and explore ways to enhance the participation and success of women in STEM fields in Brazil. The discussions also focused on the Brazilian Equality Framework, similar to the Athena SWAN framework, and the initiatives implemented at Sao Paulo University’s C4AI. More ideas on the ways to foster diversity and inclusiveness in artificial intelligence.
Alexandra I. Cristea and Sue Black shared their experiences and insights from their work at Durham University, and discussed ways to incorporate the Athena SWAN principles in Brazilian universities.
Anarosa Brandao, Renata Wassermann, Fabio Cozman, and Armando Toda from Sao Paulo University, who were in attendance, also shared their perspectives on the challenges and opportunities for promoting gender equality in STEM in Brazil.
Meeting Agenda at Sao Paulo University. 20 September 2022.
- Messenger Project Description
- General Introductions
- Who, role?
- What would would want to get out of this?
- What is Athena SWAN?
- Initiatives at Durham university
- Brazil Equality Framework Principles
- Sao Paulo Initiatives at the Center for Artificial Intelligence – AI research for underserved communities project
Exploring Gender Equality in STEM: An Event at Santa Catarina State University (UDESC)
On the 23rd of September 2022, the Santa Catarina State University (UDESC) hosted a thought-provoking event centered around gender equality in the field of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). The event was graced by distinguished guests, Professor Alexandra Cristea and Professor Sue Black from Durham University.
The event kicked off at 15:30 with the opening remarks, followed by presentations from Professor Alexandra Cristea and Professor Sue Black on the latest developments in gender equality in STEM. The session continued with a presentation from the Scientific initiation group, who shared an overview of their project and analysis of the female dropout rate in computer science.
Next, the Catarinas Project was presented, highlighting its history and actions. The event also featured a talk on “Towards the Conception of Guidelines for the Design of Gamification under the Optimism of the Feminist IHC” by Karine Alessandra Córdova and “Recommender Systems: What do you really like?” by Nathalia Locatelli Cezar.
The event ended with a mini-presentation on a game designed for teaching computational thinking to neurotypical children and those with intellectual disabilities by Matheus Soppa Geremias and Taynara Dutra. The session concluded with discussions and closing remarks at 17:30.
Meeting Agenda, Santa Catarina State University (UDESC). Tuesday, 23 September 2022
15:30 – Opening of the event
15:35 – Professor Alexandra Cristea
15:50 – Professor Sue Black
16:05 – Scientific initiation group – Project overview and analysis of female dropout in Computer Science Maria T. S. Santos, Laís P. Van Vossen, Daniella Vasconcellos, Guilherme T. Borchardt, Roger Venson Jr, Eric Silveira
16:20 – Catarinas Project – presentation, history, actions Naiane Marcon, Julia Llorete
16:35 – Towards the Conception of Guidelines for the Design of Gamification under the optimism of the feminist IHC Karine Alessandra Córdova
16:50 – Recommender Systems: What do you really like?
Nathalia Locatelli Cezar
17:05 – Game for teaching Computational Thinking for neurotypical children and those with intellectual disabilities Matheus Soppa Geremias, Taynara Dutra
17:20 – Discussions
Bringing Together Experts and Students: A Recap of the Successful MESSENGER Meeting at the University of the Amazonas in Manaus, Brazil.
The MESSENGER meeting held (26th & 29th September, 2022) at the University of the Amazonas in Manaus was a great success, bringing together experts and students from various fields to exchange knowledge and ideas.
The meeting (26th September, 2022) began with an opening ceremony at noon, followed by a talk by Professor Alexandra I. Cristea on the topic of technology and education. Professor Sue Black also gave a talk, highlighting the importance of encouraging more women and underrepresented groups to pursue careers in STEM fields.
Fabíola Nakamura spoke about Women in STEM at the University of the Amazonas, and Giulia and Lorena shared their experiences as computer science students. The discussions were lively, and participants took a coffee break to network and continue the conversations.
On September 29th, Alexandra Cristea returned to the stage to discuss her research and the importance of internationalization in the field of technology. After her talk, participants had the opportunity to ask questions and further engage with the speaker.
Overall, the MESSENGER meeting in Manaus was a great opportunity for attendees to learn from experts and peers, and to engage in discussions about the future of technology and education. We look forward to the next MESSENGER meeting and continued growth and collaboration in the field.
MESSENGER meeting in Manaus, University of the Amazonas, Brazil, 26.09.2022
- 14:00 – Opening
- 14:10 – Alexandra Cristea talk
- 14:40 – Sue Black talk
- 15:10 – Fabíola Nakamura (Women in STEM at UFAM)
- 15:40 – Giulia and Lorena (Experiences as CS Students)
- 16:10 – Discussions and coffee break
- MESSENGER meeting in Manaus, University of the Amazonas, Brazil, 29.09.2022
14:00 – Opening
- 14:10 – Alexandra Cristea (Research and Internationalization)
- 15:00 – Q&A
Reflecting on the Success of the MESSENGER Project: A Look at 2022 Initiatives
It is a pleasure to report that we had the privilege of hosting Prof. Rafael Ferreira Mello, Prof. Elaine Harada, and Prof. Isabela Gasparini in Durham for our first and final project meeting of the year. The meeting took place on January 24th, 2023, and kicked off with a presentation by Prof. Alexandra I. Cristea, who highlighted the successes of the MESSENGER project initiative in 2022.
The morning session also featured a video presentation by George A. Koulieris, the EDI Committee Co-Chair at Durham University, who shared his experience with the Athena Swan project in the Computer Science Department. The highlight of the morning session was the presentation of Women in Science initiatives from universities in Brazil. Prof. Rafael Ferreira, Prof. Elaine Harada, and Isabela Gasparini shared their experiences and initiatives from UFRPE, UFAM, and UDESC, respectively. The morning session concluded with a Q&A, followed by general discussions and the closing statement.
The evening session began with a tea and coffee break, followed by a presentation by Tahani Aljohani, a Ph.D. graduate from Durham University, who shared her experiences with Women in Science initiatives. The MESSENGER project brought together professionals in the field and provided a unique opportunity to share their experiences and knowledge related to the Athena Swan project. Researchers, academics, and students gained valuable insights and information.
24 January (Morning)
|Participant arrival and refreshment
|10:00 – 10:15
|Alexandra I. Cristea
Deputy Executive Dean Faculty of Science,
|Chairing/ highlights of MESSENGER Project Initiative in 2022
|10:15 – 10:20
|Video presented by George A. Koulieris ([email protected] )
EDI Committee Co-Chair,
|Our experience with Athena Swan, Computer Science Department
Professor. CESAR School, Brazil
Federal University of the Amazonas
Santa Catarina State University
|Women in Science initiatives from universities in Brazil:
UFRPE, UFAM and UDESC.
|10:50 – 11:00
|11:00 – 11:15
|11:00 – 11:10
24 January (Evening)
|15:00 – 15:15
|Tea and Coffee break
Ph.D. Graduate, Durham University
|Women in Science initiatives: My experience
|15:25 – 15:30
|15:30 – 15:45
|15:45 – 15:55