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Wilson Speaker Will Discuss Need for Diversity in Conservation Workforce

Posted: November 3, 2011

Dr. Mary Blair will discuss some of the challenges that threaten biodiversity conservation in today’s world, and ways those challenges might be addressed, in the next presentation in the Wilson College “Science in Society” speaker series. The talk, “Women and Diversity in Science: An Imperative for Biodiversity Conservation,” is free and open to the public. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, in Laird Hall’s Patterson Lounge.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DATE:
Nov. 3, 2011
CONTACT: Dr. Laura Altfeld, Assistant Professor of Biology
Phone: 717-264-4141, Ext. 3299
Email: laura.altfeld@wilson.edu

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Dr. Mary Blair will discuss some of the challenges that threaten biodiversity conservation in today’s world, and ways those challenges might be addressed, in the next presentation in the Wilson College “Science in Society” speaker series. The talk, “Women and Diversity in Science: An Imperative for Biodiversity Conservation,” is free and open to the public. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14, in Laird Hall’s Patterson Lounge.

In her presentation, Blair, a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, will focus on a lack of diversity in the conservation workforce, why certain groups are underrepresented and what can be done about it.

“Today’s complex conservation challenges require input and analysis from a variety of voices, vantage points and expertise,” said Blair. “The present-day conservation workforce, and the scientific workforce in general, does not reflect the potential diversity that could be brought to bear to address complex biodiversity conservation issues.”

As a post-doctoral fellow at the CBC, Blair’s current research integrates molecular techniques with geographic information systems (GIS) modeling to understand the behavioral, ecological and evolutionary responses of animals to environmental change. She is also the coordinator for the CBC's Enhancing Diversity in Conservation Science Initiative.

Blair earned a doctorate in evolutionary primatology from Columbia University. She was an American Association of University Women (AAUW) Dissertation Writing Fellow and received a bachelor’s degree in biology and anthropology from Swarthmore College.

Blair is the granddaughter of Calvin H. Blair, Wilson College associate professor emeritus of economics, and Maryanne B. Blair, who both live in Chambersburg.

The science speaker series is sponsored by the Institute for Women in Science, Mathematics and Technology (WISMAT) and the Women’s Studies Advisory Group. For more information, contact Dr. Laura Altfeld at 717-264-4141, Ext. 3299, or laura.altfeld@wilson.edu.

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Founded in 1869, Wilson College is a liberal arts college dedicated to the education of women. Affiliated with the Presbyterian Church and located in Chambersburg, Pa. Wilson offers bachelor’s degrees in 30 areas and master’s degrees in education and the humanities. The college’s 2011-12 enrollment in the College for Women and the Adult Degree Programs is 746 and includes 21 students from 10 foreign countries.

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Last Updated: November 11, 2011