12:00 AM

Herbers to lead national board advocating for women in science

The nation's largest association dedicated to advancing women in science has elected an Ohio State University professor as its next executive board leader.

Joan Herbers, professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology at Ohio State, will serve one year as president-elect of the Association for Women in Science (AWIS) executive board in January 2009 before assuming the presidency in 2010 and 2011. She will follow with a one-year term as immediate past president.

The executive board sets the strategic direction and provides leadership to the national organization. Herbers has served on the AWIS board as a councilor since 2007, chairing the board's chapters committee.

AWIS, based in Washington, D.C., has more than 3,000 members and 50 chapters nationwide. Two-thirds of AWIS members hold doctorates in the life and physical sciences, mathematics, social sciences and engineering, and work in positions at all levels of industry, academe and government.

As AWIS president, Herbers likely will be invited to testify on Capitol Hill and to join coalitions of other organizations that focus on work force issues for women in the sciences.

"I am extraordinarily gratified to have been elected to this position, and look forward to working with this incredible group of dedicated scientists," Herbers said.

Herbers also is leading efforts to foster the advancement of women faculty in the sciences at Ohio State. She is the principal investigator for a $3.6 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation for an initiative called Comprehensive Equity at Ohio State, designed to change academic departmental culture in ways that increase the presence and success of women faculty in the sciences.

The Ohio State initiative and AWIS focus on the STEM disciplines: science, technology, engineering and mathematics, all academic areas in which professional women are underrepresented.

Herbers, former dean of Ohio State's College of Biological Sciences, joined the university in 2002. She previously served as chair of the Department of Biology at Colorado State University and associate dean of the Graduate College and professor of zoology at the University of Vermont. Her research, supported by numerous grants from the National Science Foundation, focuses on the evolution of social organization, and her primary teaching areas are animal behavior, ecology and evolution.
She received her Ph.D. and master's degree from Northwestern University, and holds a bachelor of science degree from the University of Dayton.
Contact: Joan Herbers, (614) 292-5472;