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Woods Hole Science Center Hosts Panel Discussion on Diversity in the USGS Workforce

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Pam Malam, Bill Schwab, Rafael (Willie) Rodriguez, and Suzette Kimball conduct a panel discussion on diversity in the USGS workforce
Above: (Right to left) Pam Malam, Bill Schwab, Rafael (Willie) Rodriguez, and Suzette Kimball (on screen) conduct a panel discussion on diversity in the USGS workforce. Photograph by Chris Polloni. [larger version]
A panel discussion addressing the importance of diversity in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) workforce was held at the USGS Woods Hole Science Center in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, on June 25, 2008. The event was organized as a part of the annual Woods Hole Diversity Week, which is sponsored by six Woods Hole science institutions: the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Woods Hole Research Center, the Sea Education Association, the Northeast Fisheries Science Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s National Marine Fisheries Service, and the USGS Woods Hole Science Center. The four panelists who led the discussion were USGS managers: Pam Malam, associate director of the Office of Human Capital; Suzette Kimball, associate director of the Geology Discipline; Rafael (Willie) Rodriguez, director of the New York Water Science Center; and Bill Schwab, chief scientist of the Woods Hole Science Center.

The panel discussion focused on the need to raise awareness regarding attracting women and minorities into the USGS workforce, particularly at managerial levels. Malam provided an engaging and eye-opening overview of workforce trends past and present that illustrate the need for diversity in the USGS workforce. Kimball discussed some of her personal experiences while pursuing a career in marine geology and geophysics, where women continue to be underrepresented. She also emphasized the importance of active participation in recruitment and retention by all USGS employees to ensure the future of the workforce. Finally, Rodriguez and Schwab discussed efforts to identify and attract talented minority students from the City College of New York for work at the USGS; their program, now in its third year, places nearly a dozen interns annually in USGS offices in the Northeast and other parts of the country. In addition, each of the panelists provided an overview of the challenges and strategies that can be pursued to attract and retain women and minority scientists in the USGS.

This event, organized by Ben Gutierrez and Claudia Flores, was one of a series of events for Woods Hole Diversity Week 2008. Events hosted by the other institutions had similar goals in stressing the importance of a diverse community in Woods Hole. The now-annual Woods Hole Diversity Celebrations started in response to the creation of the Woods Hole Diversity Initiative in 2004. This initiative brings together the six Woods Hole science institutions to create “pathways of opportunity” that will attract people from underrepresented groups to the Woods Hole science community and science in general. More information about the Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee is posted at URL http://www.woodsholediversity.org/.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Woods Hole Scientific Community Diversity Initiative
September 2004

Related Web Sites
Woods Hole Diversity Advisory Committee
U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)

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Sea Otter Population Recovery Continues at Slower Rate

Scientists Map Arctic Sea Floor

Tribal Canoes Gather Water-Quality Data

Raising Awareness of Water-Resource Issues

Sea Otter Awareness Week

MIT Students Visit USGS

Meetings Diversity in the USGS Workforce

Awards Kvenvolden Honored at International Conference

Staff Community-Use "Recyclabikes"

USGS Woods Hole Welcomes Hapke

Publications Coral Reefs of the USA

September 2008 Publications List

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