chalker wrote: MoolaSmoola wrote:
I really wish the keynote speaker knew what scioly was. and wasn't weird, outdated, and patronizing towards women and female people; I think we all knew that women could do science before he got up on that stage and blew our minds
I'm really quite surprised by this statement and wonder if you can elaborate? While we've come a long way in recent years, there is still an unfortunate disparity with regards to gender ratios in STEM fields compared to to the general population. Middle school aged girls in particular still face a lot of pressure and 'burn-out' of interest in STEM at too high of rates. Thus any opportunity to highlight positive female STEM-related role models should be applauded in my opinion, which is exactly what he was encouraged to do as part of his keynote.
I also don't know why you'd think Grant is 'outdated'. The final episode of Mythbusters first aired only 3 years ago, and the re-runs are still incredibly popular. For most of the current demographic age group of Science Olympiad participants, Mythbusters was one of the hit shows they watched over the past few years. This was evident by the reaction of the audience to him coming on stage - I can't recall a reaction like that to any other keynote speaker in recent history.
Finally, while we all eat / drink / breath Science Olympiad, it's relatively unknown to the general population. It's EXTREMELY rare for us to get a keynote speaker at a National Tournament that knows beforehand about SO. Anyone that we could get it likely to have limited broad base appeal since they probably are focused on a very specific field or domain.
Firstly, I want to apologize for the way my words were, well, worded. By no means was I trying to insinuate that he was outdated in a general sense or in terms of his career, neither of which are less inspiring today. I'd actually like to state right now that I greatly appreciated the racial diversity of the speakers at the Awards Ceremony, especially pertinent for an organization like Science Olympiad.
Instead, I was referring to the way many of my teammates and I felt towards the awkward fashion in which Grant introduced his slides about women in science. In the topic slide preceding those that highlighted positive female STEM-related role models, as you said, Grant introduced the idea that 'Science is for everybody,' which I do think is a valuable and increasingly important message. However, given the audience and the whole premise of Science Olympiad, we were expecting some kind of message about how science and STEM fields should be equally accessible to people of all ages. This is a message that, while possibly not as crucial as one that empowers people of all races and genders, would've at least appeared on a surface level to be a relatively 'revolutionary' idea, and is actually not discussed all that often. It came off as a surprise, as a result, that he chose to present the ability of women to enter and succeed in STEM fields as some kind of revelation when the entire stadium in front of him was testament to that fact. By no means am I saying that gender inequity in STEM is no longer an issue or still prevalent to an alarming degree, and that he shouldn't have been encouraged to or choose to discuss it in his keynote. What I took issue with, and what I didn't express in my initial post, was that he presented this issue as revelatory, and there was little to no nuance behind the statement. Women have historically made monumental contributions to STEM fields and in the process have have been subjugated to abuses, prejudices, and biases of all kinds. This especially includes women of all sexualities and races. Clicking through a couple slides with the pictures and names of women in STEM who have done immeasurable work both in their fields and for women's rights is simply not enough in the present year, or at least that's how I felt and feel. The women in that stadium are all passionate about science and their presence at the National Science Olympiad tournament proves that. They do not need to be talked down to and told that their presence is surprising, that it needs to be said to them
that they are capable of what they have already done and will go on to do. Surely a more nuanced take on the struggles women in science face and persevere through would've been better received and more constructive. Those points regarding the persistent oppression of women in STEM you brought up are valid, but weren't discussed beyond a surface level. Yes, women are proportionately less represented in STEM, and yes, they face significant adversity at every step of the way. How do we, as a community of people who eat, drink, and breathe Scioly move beyond that and work to create lasting change? Maybe I'm being too optimistic and I expected too much, and we still are at the level where we need positive reinforcement in the form of dropping pictures of role models and leaving it at that. But if a keynote speaker is going to bring the topic of gender equality up, I, and everyone, should expect more than a surface level observation. We start with this kind of awareness, but we certainly can't progress much further with it.
I enjoyed the rest of the speech, and again, I never meant to make any jab towards Grant's relevance—seeing that he was the keynote speaker was quite a shock (in a good way) and with the announcement of 2020's speaker, I'm excited to see who else Scioly can get to the National tournament in the future.
I do concede that Science Olympiad as a whole is still relatively niche, I think my hopes were a bit too high now that I think about it. Thank you for responding, I appreciated the chance to clarify my statements and I hope I did so adequately.