UW Today

January 26, 2011

UWs sixth annual Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lecture Series explores diversity

Diversity Culture BehaviorHaving diverse, inclusive communities has been argued to make us more innovative, successful and possibly even kinder and more tolerant human beings. While ethnicity and gender are the most common diversity attributes, diversity can include age, geographic and socioeconomic background, education level and political and religious views.

The UW psychology department – a world leader in diversity science – will focus on diversity in its sixth annual Allen L. Edwards Psychology Lecture Series, which begins Feb. 16.

“Issues surrounding diversity affect so much of our community – from businesses, to schools, to our government policy both locally and abroad,” said Scott Murray, associate chair of research in the UW psychology department. Murray coordinated this years series.

Over the course of three installments, six speakers will discuss ways of breaking down barriers to diversity in business, law and healthcare.

Registration is free and open to the public. The lectures are 7-9 p.m. in Kane Hall.

Sapna Cheryan

Sapna Cheryan

On Feb. 16, Sapna Cheryan, UW assistant professor in psychology, will speak at the first installment of the series. She will talk about how stereotypes of technical careers, such as computer science and engineering, can deter women from pursuing those fields.

For instance, computer science – a field many people inaccurately associate with socially-awkward men who like science fiction – has few women in it even though computer science jobs are well-regarded, high-paying and flexible. By not considering computer science as a career, “women maybe missing out on jobs that may be very good for them,” she said during her “Stereotypes as Gatekeepers” talk at the TEDx Seattle meeting last spring. See a video of her TEDx talk.