Sitting in rows of desks, women from the US and Canada gathered in a basement classroom at Wheaton College last summer to consider what topics they would like the Christian Women in Science (CWiS) group to address. Some men also came, wondering how they could support women. One participant asked to discuss “what we can achieve because of who we are instead of in spite of who we are.”
The parent organization of CWiS, the American Scientific Affiliation, has slowly grown in female membership since it began nearly 80 years ago. In 2013 it launched the women’s network, which today has about 200 members and aims to build an online community while providing mentorship to younger women pursuing science careers.
Science is not awash in female Christians, but it is rich in female Christian role models. Perhaps more women than ever lead top science-and-faith organizations. First, the ASA’s own executive director is Leslie Wickman, an aerospace engineer. Jennifer Wiseman, a physicist, is the director for the Dialogue on Science Ethics and Religion at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). And Deborah Haarsma, also a physicist, has served as president of BioLogos since 2013.
Reflecting this shift, CT interviewed 12 scientists who are respected in their fields and whose work reflects not only who they are as women but who they are as Christians.
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