Appointment of Professor Joyce Y. Wong as Director of a new effort to advance women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics at Boston University

October 21st, 2013

From Dr. Jean Morrison, University Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Boston University attracts outstanding female students and faculty in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), but there is more work to be done both in recruitment and retention and in our endeavors to support their success.  I am pleased to announce that Dr. Joyce Y. Wong, Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering in the College of Engineering, has been appointed as the Director of a new effort aimed at advancing women in these critical fields at BU.  In this role, Professor Wong will be responsible for oversight, alignment, and disbursement of central resources to support the variety of activities, groups, and support mechanisms for women in STEM, at all levels, across our campuses.  In addition, Professor Wong will serve as my designee, working directly with the relevant Deans and Department Chairs to develop and sustain pro-active efforts ensuring greater representation of women faculty in these fields.  Among her initial duties as Director is to work closely with the relevant groups to develop a formal identity and title for this coordinated effort.

The appointment of Professor Wong to this important leadership role follows a series of conversations I convened last spring concerning the status of women in these disciplines at BU.  As part of these discussions, I asked participants to consider the strengths and limitations of our current programs, and the ways in which we can best we can structure programs to attract, retain and promote women faculty in fields where they are most underrepresented.  I was gratified to see so many faculty, staff, and students, who care deeply about our ability to support and advance the careers of women in STEM fields at BU, in attendance and contributing valuably to the discussion.

One consensus that emerged was the desire for a coherent, central, administrative effort that coordinates and aligns initiatives spanning programs for pre-College students, undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty.  Professor Wong is charged with developing an organization to accomplish this alignment, which includes current efforts, such as WISE@Warren and Graduate Women in Science and Engineering (GWISE), as well as the development of new groups and initiatives.  Professor Wong will lead the establishment of a consistent portfolio of opportunities to raise awareness about issues affecting women in STEM fields including: professional development workshops and skills-building exercises; lectures, seminars and panels featuring leaders inside and outside of BU; information sessions to advertise resources and funding opportunities; and forums for discussing and applying best practices concerning women in these areas of study.

I am delighted that Professor Wong has agreed to lead this important initiative. As an accomplished and internationally respected scientist in her own right, I believe she is uniquely positioned to help BU emerge as a leader in addressing the underrepresentation of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.  Professor Wong’s research focuses on the development of biomaterials for the detection and treatment of cardiovascular disease and cancer.  She is the recipient of NIH, NASA, and DOE awards and industry support for her research.  She has been the recipient of an NSF CAREER Award (2000), Clare Boothe Luce Assistant Professorship (1998-2003), and the DuPont Young Professor Award (2004). In 2009, she was elected to the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) and received a Hartwell Individual Biomedical Research Award.  In 2011 she was Chair of the Gordon Research Conference in Biomaterials & Tissue Engineering. In 2013, she was elected as a Fellow of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the leading professional society in her discipline. In addition to her service on several national and international engineering panels, Dr. Wong served as Associate Director of the BU Center for Nanoscience and Nanobiotechnology (2006-2008) and as Associate Chair for Graduate Studies (2006-2010) in Biomedical Engineering.  She received her BS and her PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and was a NIH-NRSA postdoctoral fellow at University of California-Santa Barbara.

Please join me in congratulating Professor Wong on her appointment to this leadership role.  I look forward to working with her and with you to further advance the success and recognition of women scientists and engineers at Boston University.

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