Message to Campus Community

Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader sent the following message to faculty, staff and students following the fire on the roof of Emerson Hall on Dec. 8, 2016. 

Dear Colleagues:

The days following the fire on the roof of Emerson Hall have been trying for our entire campus community – but all of us have pulled together in a spirit of cooperation to minimize the damage, ensure the safety of our students, faculty and staff, and keep campus operations running smoothly despite the need to evacuate Emerson Hall and shut off power to several buildings.

I thank you all for rising to the challenges this situation presented. During the earliest moments of the fire, physical facilities staff assisted first responders by providing quick and ready access to the building. Department Chair Daryl Beetner and his faculty and staff reacted quickly to assist in the evacuation of Emerson Hall. The registrar’s staff immediately went to work to relocate classes and final exams, with the aid, cooperation and support of so many academic and administrative units. In true Miner spirit, the Miner Alumni Association opened Hasselmann Alumni House to our students as one of several new locations for final exams. University Police and numerous first responder agencies brought the situation under control quickly, our marketing and communications staff got the word out to our campus community and the news media in timely fashion, and our IT staff is making computers and other technology available to faculty and staff displaced by the fire.

Our students, too, rose to the occasion. I’ve learned that one sorority brought cookies and hot chocolate to the first responders. Local businesses and churches offered to provide rooms for classes and exams. 

Read more.

Schrader uses diversity to move Missouri S&T forward

‌Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader was interviewed by The Missouri Times about the university's recognized efforts in diversity and inclusion. The story published on Feb. 16, 2016.

ROLLA, Mo. – In the midst of one university in the state apparently doing everything wrong, Cheryl Schrader, the chancellor of the Missouri University of Science and Technology (S&T), seems to be doing everything right.

While Missouri’s flagship campus has seen protests by students, athletes, and faculty; dealt with resignations by the head of the university and the system; and has achieved national attention for the continuing tumult surrounding the college, Missouri S&T has flourished under Schrader’s leadership with a concrete focus on diversity, inclusiveness and an ability to work with both the private sector and the General Assembly.

 

How parents can help their daughters find a career in science

‌Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader was interviewed by the Deseret News about a new study on gender stereotypes found in the sciences. The story published on June 5, 2015.

Many teachers herald exceptional female scientists, hoping to show students that the scientific canon is not strictly a boys' club. Those lessons surely come with good intentions, but they may do more harm than good, because they suggest to girls and young women that the sciences are almost exclusively for men.

 

Gov. Nixon tours Schrenk Hall at Missouri S&T, identified as college’s highest priority for renovation

Gov. Jay Nixon held a news conference at Missouri S&T on Dec. 4, 2014, to discuss a strategic bond issuance that will include a $12 million renovation project for the 76-year-old building that houses teaching and research labs for chemistry and biology

During a visit to Missouri University of Science and Technology,Gov. Jay Nixon said he is committed to working together with legislators during the upcoming legislative session to complete a strategic, fiscally responsible bond issuance that will make long-overdue investments in higher education in Missouri.

The Governor was at Missouri S&T to tour Schrenk Hall, which provides classrooms, department offices, and teaching and research laboratories for chemistry and biological sciences. Gov. Nixon was joined on the tour by Missouri S&T Chancellor Dr. Cheryl Schrader. Read more. 


How the challenges women face in the tech industry can change

Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader, Ph.D., was a panelist on KBIA’s Intersection on July 13, 2014.

Women make up around 29% of the technology workforce nationally. Only 18% of technology degrees were earned by women in 2012, which is down from 35% in 1985.

On today's Intersection, we will take an in-depth look at what makes up the technology field, why women are not as interested in this occupation, the challenges they face when they are interested and how to get young girls educated in this subject matter. Listen to the program.


STEM seminar recap: the marriage of education and business opportunities

This article appeared in the St. Louis Business Journal on May 23, 2014.

The future of science, technology, engineering and math jobs in Missouri is an equally impressive and daunting one — a topic that panelists at the St. Louis Business Journal’s STEM seminar covered on Friday. The most important takeaway from the seminar? There is a huge future for STEM in the economy and a void of people to fill those roles here in Missouri.

The panel featured Mike Downing, director at Missouri Department of Economic Development; Kevin Token, senior director at BSA Life Structures; Cheryl Schrader, chancellor at Missouri University of Science and Technology; Sharon Frazee, vice president of research and analysis at Express Scripts; and special introductory speaker Terry Brewer, president at Brewer Science. Read more.


Missouri S&T chancellor named IEEE Fellow

This article appeared in the Rolla Daily News on Jan. 19, 2014.

Dr. Cheryl B. Schrader, chancellor of Missouri University of Science and Technology, has been named an IEEE Fellow in recognition of her leadership and contributions in engineering education. The honor is the highest grade of membership in the organization. Read more.


Missouri S&T chancellor crusades for more women in science

This Associated Press article appeared in the Columbia Missourian on April 21, 2013.

ROLLA — More than 30 years later, the insensitive remark from a dim-witted professor at Valparaiso University still stings.

Cheryl Schrader would go on to earn a doctorate from Notre Dame, help build rocket ships for McDonnell Douglas Astronautics and lead engineering programs at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Boise State University in Idaho. But the new chancellor at Missouri University of Science and Technology still vividly recalls a time when teachers in male-dominated fields could derail a young student's passion with impunity. Even worse, it was her older brother's struggles in the thermodynamics class they shared that prompted the caustic comment. Read more.

An emerging theory on STEM

This originally appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sept. 2, 2014.

By Cheryl B. Schrader

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that just 18 percent of those who receive a computer science degree are women. Only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.s in this country are awarded to women. And while the majority of U.S. college students today are female, fewer than a quarter of all STEM workers are women.

 

Women and STEM: A solution ready for flight

The following opinion piece by Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader was written for Engineers Week 2014.

By Cheryl B. Schrader

During his recent State of the State Address, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon put forth an ambitious plan to invest $22 million into education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. It’s a bold step in the right direction, and one that’s needed to ensure the state keeps up with the increasing demand for professionals in these fields.

 

STEM education: Where the girls are not

This originally appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Feb. 14, 2013.

By Cheryl B. Schrader

In just a few days (on Feb. 19), some 180 companies from across Missouri and the U.S. will travel to our campus’s Career Fair to recruit engineers, scientists and other in-demand, tech-savvy students. As the economy build steam, companies large and small are seeking talented recruits for jobs in manufacturing, software engineering and other industries.

 

News flash: Much “science” is really engineering

This originally appeared in the Columbia Daily Tribune during Engineers Week on Feb. 17, 2012.

By Cheryl B. Schrader

Last December, Scientific American published its annual list of the biggest science stories of 2012. As usual with lists like these, the editors included events that capture the public’s fascination – such as Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking skydive and NASA’s Curiosity expedition to Mars – as well as more obscure but no less important achievements, like the publication of ENCODE, the encyclopedia of DNA elements, which marks a breakthrough in genetics research. The list also included political topics, such as the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, as well as natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy and its devastation to the East Coast.

An emerging theory on STEM

This originally appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sept. 2, 2014.

My son and I were recently watching an episode of one of our favorite shows, “The Big Bang Theory.” Andrew is getting ready to start graduate school in engineering this fall, and I’m an engineer myself. Sometimes it feels like the comedy was written just for us. On this particular episode, the highly intelligent and painfully awkward physicist Sheldon was pondering the problem of why more women don’t go into the hard sciences. He decides to launch an outreach program and speak with middle school girls about pathways to a career in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

He reminds them that they, too, can become like Marie Curie, the famous physicist and chemist who developed the theory of radioactivity. She’s also the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Sheldon reminds the girls that Curie died a horrible death due to radiation exposure. “With a little hard work, I see no reason why that can’t happen to any of you!”

While I probably wouldn’t emphasize any mortal danger posed by the STEM fields, Sheldon and the show writers are spot-on when it comes to the reasons why more women don’t go into these fields. It is a lack of role models, and it’s a problem that starts long before a woman steps foot on a college campus.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports that just 18 percent of those who receive a computer science degree are women. Only one-fifth of physics Ph.D.s in this country are awarded to women. And while the majority of U.S. college students today are female, fewer than a quarter of all STEM workers are women.

That’s a serious problem for our nation’s economic well-being. No sector of our economy is poised for more growth than the STEM fields. The Missouri Department of Economic Development reports that Missouri’s 2020 projected job growth for STEM occupations is higher than the average expected combined growth of all other occupations in the state, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Missouri will have an additional 143,000 STEM jobs to fill by 2018. We simply can’t meet that demand — or provide the diverse workforce the Boeings of our state demand — by continuing to do things as we always have.

At Missouri University of Science and Technology, we’re trying to do our part to change these statistics. This fall, we’re introducing a new credential in elementary education that will prepare graduates to teach math and science to young students. This dovetails with the similar high school credential we offer, as well as the hundreds of Missouri teachers we train on our campus every year through the national STEM-focused education program, Project Lead the Way. These programs are not focused on singling girls out but rather on ensuring that all students are supported and encouraged to learn. Highlighting diverse role models is an essential part of our curriculum.

Last week, my family and I drove to Atlanta to help our son get situated at his new school, Georgia Tech. Our hope for Andrew has always been that he would try his best and follow his passion. He will be working on innovative ways to capture energy from the sun, and we couldn’t be prouder or happier.

Of course, we wish the same for our daughter, Ella — that she, too, will follow her passion and know that with hard work, she can accomplish whatever she sets out to do. Ella is getting ready for the second grade and is already showing some of the same problem-solving aptitude we see in her brother.

However, if statistics are any indication, it will be a steeper climb for Ella than Andrew. But that doesn’t mean we should give up — for any of our nation’s daughters. It means we should work that much harder so that all children have the opportunity to follow their passion. As Curie once said, “We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves.” That, in my opinion, is no laughing matter.

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Women and STEM: A solution ready for flight

Female grad

The following opinion piece by Missouri S&T Chancellor Cheryl B. Schrader was written for Engineers Week 2014.

By Cheryl B. Schrader

During his recent State of the State Address, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon put forth an ambitious plan to invest $22 million into education in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. It’s a bold step in the right direction, and one that’s needed to ensure the state keeps up with the increasing demand for professionals in these fields.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development reports that Missouri’s 2020 projected job growth for STEM occupations is higher than the average expected combined growth of all occupations other in the state. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that Missouri will have an additional 143,000 STEM jobs to fill by 2018.

As chancellor of a science and technology university and an engineer, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the issue of bringing more people into this important field. It’s clear to me that if we are ever going to come close to meeting the needs of our state and nation for these skilled workers, we’re going to have to bring women into the equation.

Consider that while the majority of U.S. college students today are female, fewer than a quarter of all STEM workers are women. And while the gender gap in STEM has remained steady for the past 20 years, a recent national report from STEMconnector shows it is now widening at an alarming rate.

Furthermore, new research from the University of Texas at Austin examines the well-documented disparity between the number of boys and girls who take high school physics, a cornerstone course that can close doors for those who do not complete it. The researchers found that the communities in which the fewest women took physics were those where “traditionally gendered status expectations shape beliefs and behaviors.” In short, the gender disparity was most acute in communities where girls lacked female role models in the STEM fields.

Why does all this matter? It matters because there is no sector of our economy poised for more growth than the STEM fields. It matters because the more diverse our workforce of engineers, computer programmers, mathematicians and scientists, the more likely we are to find solutions that further our society and grow the economy. It matters because it’s just not right to leave half of the population out of the equation.

If you think we live in a post-gender world when it comes to STEM education, think again. Perhaps you noticed that commercial during the Super Bowl for Volkswagen — the one where an engineer “gets his wings” every time a VW crosses the 100,000-mile mark. If you watched closely, you might have noticed just one person of color was represented. But you didn’t have to pay close attention to observe that no woman was shown getting her wings. Not one! This social narrative, unfortunately, is all too common and has a powerful effect not only on girls but also on their parents, teachers and mentors.

The narrative isn’t limited to car sales. Just last fall, as back-to-school shopping was in full swing, apparel retailer The Children’s Place filled its shelves with shirts for girls that featured a checklist of “My Best Subjects.” “Shopping,” “music” and “dancing” were checked, but “math” was not. Below it said, “Well, Nobody’s Perfect.”

After much ado online, The Children’s Place eventually pulled the shirts and apologized. But the fact that these shirts even made it past the concept stage speaks volumes about the gross disparity that still exists between how we speak with boys and girls about their abilities and career opportunities in the STEM disciplines.

Fortunately, there are many silver linings, including another ad shown during the Super Bowl. This one was for GoldieBlox, a toy company whose mission is to inspire young girls to become future engineers. This ad was selected from thousands of entries in a contest held by Intuit to feature a small business. In the ad, neighborhood girls gather up all their pink “girly” toys, including a play washing machine and castle, and strap them to a rocket. The commercial ends with the company’s tagline, “GoldieBlox: Toys for Future Innovators.”

These issues garner quite a bit of discussion in my household where my 7-year-old daughter has recently announced her intention to become an engineer when she grows up. It’s my hope that through my influence, her father’s support, and through her teachers and peers, she won’t find herself swayed by messages that tell her women don’t belong in the STEM fields.

In fact, it’s my hope for all girls.

But the truth is, it’s still an uphill battle. Too often, we don’t remind girls they, too, can build the bridges to tomorrow, find alternative energy solutions and refine our understanding of gravity.

It’s my hope that our state will move forward with its support of STEM education — an investment that is sure to bring a high return. It’s just as clear to me that we can’t get where we want to go without bringing more women into these fields. We can and should earn our wings, too.

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STEM education: Where the girls are not

Female researcher

This originally appeared in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Feb. 14, 2013.

By Cheryl B. Schrader

In just a few days (on Feb. 19), some 180 companies from across Missouri and the U.S. will travel to our campus’s Career Fair to recruit engineers, scientists and other in-demand, tech-savvy students. As the economy build steam, companies large and small are seeking talented recruits for jobs in manufacturing, software engineering and other industries.

While that demand is good news for engineering and science students, a new national report forecasts a troubling future. Interest in these careers will not keep pace with demand. Compounding this issue, the gender gap in these fields is widening.

The Jan. 30 report from STEMconnector and My College Options – titled “Where Are the STEM Students?” – underscores the importance of these fields for our nation’s future economic well-being. It also presents a challenge for all of us in education, from kindergarten through college, to increase interest levels in science, technology, engineering and mathematics – the so-called STEM fields – for all types of students.

While the majority of U.S. college students today are female, they remain a minority in many science and engineering fields. If universities are to meet the future demands of our economy, we can’t leave half of the college-bound population on the sidelines.

How can we change that? The STEMconnector report offers some hints.

Female high school students who are interested in these fields often gravitate toward biology, chemistry, marine biology and science – areas often associated with a desire to make the world a better place. Women tend to be drawn to these service-oriented professions.

But thanks to the rise of cloud computing, information systems and the app economy, 71 percent of the new STEM jobs in 2018 are projected to be in the computing fields. Getting girls interested in these fields at a young age will be critical if we are to meet the coming demand for talented and well-educated computer scientists, computer engineers and game designers.

With this in mind, it’s important to convey to young women computing’s role in serving society. We should show a young woman how a computer science degree could equip her to design a new app to diagnose illness. That may appeal more to her desire to help others than, say, showing her how to write code for yet another online game.

Programs like Project Lead the Way, which introduces middle school and high school students to engineering and science, help students learn more about these fields at an early age. In Missouri, 165 high schools and middle schools are using PLTW’s engineering and biomedical sciences materials to generate more interest in those areas.

But no single solution will address the broader challenges facing Missouri and our nation. Engineering and science summer camps for youngsters of all ages are critical if we are to maintain our competitive edge in an increasingly global economy. And female high school students need to know that they can succeed in fields where they have traditionally been in the minority. They need mentors and role models who can show them that by pursuing a STEM education, they can make a difference in the world.

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News flash: Much “science” is really engineering

Engineering group

This originally appeared in the Columbia Daily Tribune during Engineers Week on Feb. 17, 2012.

By Cheryl B. Schrader

Last December, Scientific American published its annual list of the biggest science stories of 2012. As usual with lists like these, the editors included events that capture the public’s fascination – such as Felix Baumgartner’s record-breaking skydive and NASA’s Curiosity expedition to Mars – as well as more obscure but no less important achievements, like the publication of ENCODE, the encyclopedia of DNA elements, which marks a breakthrough in genetics research. The list also included political topics, such as the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act, as well as natural disasters, such as Hurricane Sandy and its devastation to the East Coast.

All of these stories were big news. But they weren’t all necessarily science news.

From Baumgartner’s sound-barrier-breaking descent to Curiosity’s Mars landing to many other breakthroughs in 2012, engineering played a crucial role. And factors often attributed to “science” are, more accurately, feats of engineering.

Henry Petroski, a civil engineer and historian at Duke University, rightly points out the difference between science and engineering. “Science is about understanding the origins, nature and behavior of the universe and all it contains,” he wrote in a December 2010 IEEE Spectrum article. Engineering, however, “is about solving problems by rearranging the stuff of the world to make new things.”

Consider Baumgartner’s breathtaking feat. Last October, the Austrian daredevil set the record for highest skydive ever by leaping from a balloon more than 24 miles above the Earth. In freefall, Baumgartner also became the first skydiver to break the sound barrier, hitting a top speed of Mach 1.4.

None of that would have happened without engineering – the rearranging of stuff, as Petroski might say. Mechanical, structural and aeronautical engineers had a hand in designing the craft from which Baumgartner jumped. The full-pressure suit that protected him from head to toe is the result of materials engineers working hand-in-gloves with the laws of physics. The integrated circuitry of Baumgartner’s suit, which allowed his team to constantly monitor his well-being during the dive, involved an impressive array of electrical engineering know-how.  Even the way the world followed the event online is the result of the work of engineers and scientists who joined together half a century ago on a federal research project that give rise to the Internet.

Science and engineering are partners in discovery. Without an understanding of the world around us, engineers would be unable to solve such complex problems like those connected to Baumgartner’s descent to Earth. But too often, science has been hailed a hero, when engineering should get some, if not much, of the credit.

National Engineers Week is Feb. 17-23 this year. “Celebrate Awesome” is the theme. The many engineering achievements of the past year, as described in Scientific American’s top 10 list, give us all reason to marvel at the awesome and heroic feats our nation’s engineers – working in partnership with science – bring to our everyday lives.

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