Archive for March, 2019

Take a Closer Look – Environmental Activist/Biologist Dr. Sandra Steingraber

Wednesday, March 27th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! This week, as we close out Women’s History Month, and in anticipation of the upcoming Earth Day observance, we’re going to take a closer look at Sandra Steingraber.

The Sierra Club declared that Dr. Steingraber was “the new Rachel Carson”. That’s quite a reputation to live up to! But because of her scholarship, her writing, and her activism, she has more than earned it.

 

Dr. Steingraber was diagnosed with cancer while an undergraduate at Illinois Wesleyan University. While successfully recovering from the illness, she discovered many relatives who had also developed cancer. At first blush, you might think that was a clue to a genetic cause of the disease … except Dr. Steingraber was adopted! She did not share her relative’s DNA, but what they did share was a common source of water in an agricultural community.

 

After completing her Ph.D. in Biological Science from University of Michigan, Dr. Steingraber was a field researcher, and began her own research and writing into her experience with cancer, and how chemical run-off from farms was polluting the local water supply. This became her first book on the environment, Living Downstream. Just as Carson had described her own battle with bladder cancer in Silent Spring, Dr. Steingraber used her experiences as a biologist and cancer survivor to inform her writing and research. The book would be widely praised for its’ academic rigor and deeply personal reflection.

In Living Downstream, she wrote “To the 89 percent of Illinois that is farmland, an estimated 54 million pounds of synthetic pesticides are applied each year. Introduced into Illinois at the end of World War II, these chemical poisons quietly familiarized themselves with the landscape. In 1950, less than 10 percent of cornfields were sprayed with pesticides. In 1993, 99 percent were chemically treated…”

 

Her next two books, Having Faith and Raising Elijah, continued her research on environmental impacts on human health, in pregnancy and in the developing child, respectively.

She continues to actively protest fracking and natural gas storage issues in her community, which has garnered her national attention and several nights in the county jail for civil disobedience.

The many awards and recognitions Dr. Steingraber has received include the Heinze Environmental Champion award, the biennial Rachel Carson Leadership Award from Chatham College (Carson’s alma mater), Ms. MagazineWoman of the Year”, and one of the “25 Visionaries Who Are Changing The World” from Utne Reader magazine.

 

Let us know if you’d like to bring Sandra Steingraber to speak to your organization, campus, or conference!

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!

 


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Take a Closer Look – Daisy Hernandez

Wednesday, March 20th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! This week, we’re going to take a closer look at journalist/memoirist/creative writing professor Daisy Hernandez.

Daisy Hernández is the author of the award-winning memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed and coeditor of Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. The former editor of ColorLines magazine, she has reported for The Atlantic, The New York Times, and Slate, and she has written for NPR’s All Things Considered and CodeSwitch. Her essays and fiction have appeared in Aster(ix), Bellingham Review, Brevity, Dogwood, Fourth Genre, Gulf Coast, Juked, and Rumpus among other journals. A contributing editor for the Buddhist magazine Tricycle, Daisy is an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at Miami University in Ohio.

 

Daisy writes: “I grew up in New Jersey where I heard the best stories about Cuba and Colombia and this lady who knows how to eat an avocado so you won’t get pregnant. It’s also where I first learned about feminism, queer identity, race and immigration in the Americas. You can read these stories in my memoir, A Cup of Water Under My Bed, which won the 2015 IPPY award for best coming-of-age memoir and the 2014 Bisexual Book Award for best memoir. The memoir is now available in Spanish with a new afterword about underwear and the politics of language.”

She continues “ with my comadre, the author Bushra Rehman, I co-edited the anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism. That first edition came out in 2002. USA Today calls the book 1 of the ’27 Things To Read If You Care About Women Of Color’ and Buzzfeed says it’s 1 of ’19 Books On Intersectionality That Taylor Swift Should Read.’ I’m thrilled to share that a new edition of Colonize This! will be published in July 2019.”

“As a memoirist, journalist and cultural activist, I’ve been speaking at colleges, conferences and organizations for the past twelve years on feminism, race, immigration, queer issues, and spirituality. I love sharing with audiences the lessons I’ve learned and the ways that we can create inclusive and racially just communities.”

 

Let us know if you’d like to bring Daisy Hernández to speak to your organization, campus, or conference!

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!


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Take A Closer Look: STEM activist Christine McKinley

Wednesday, March 13th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! This week, we’re going to take a closer look at Christine McKinley

Christine is a mechanical engineer running her own engineering firm and managing industrial and commercial construction projects… but that hardly scratches the surface of her experiences and interests! She has also hosted two television shows: Under New York on the History Channel and DECODED on the Discovery Channel. She’s also a musician and playwright, and author of Physics for Rock Stars.

Christine is a passionate and hilarious Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education advocate. She explains to students how an understanding of physics will help them execute a proper stage dive and win a fistfight on a speeding train. Christine leads by example, showing young people how to create a “hand made life” by choosing a career in engineering, science, and anything else they want to add.

She is admittedly a little nuts about physics… and excited to inspire young people (especially those who might not think about STEM majors) to learn more about science and engineering …

 

Here’s a short video of a radio interview with Christine, where she explains the connection between physics, the periodic table … and dating!

 

Let us know if you’d like to bring Christine McKinley to your organization, campus, or conference!

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!

 


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A Closer Look- Lilly Ledbetter

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

Happy Wednesday! This week, with Friday March 8the being International Women’s Day, we’re taking a closer look at Lilly Ledbetter!

 

The best explanation of what happened to Lilly at Goodyear comes from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s dissenting opinion in the case of Ledbetter v. Goodyear:

 

“Lilly Ledbetter was a supervisor at Goodyear Tire and Rubber’s plant in Gadsden, Alabama, from 1979 until her retirement in 1998. For most of those years, she worked as an area manager, a position largely occupied by men. Initially, Ledbetter’s salary was in line with the salaries of men performing substantially similar work. Over time, however, her pay slipped in comparison to the pay of male area managers with equal or less seniority. By the end of 1997, Ledbetter was the only woman working as an area manager and the pay discrepancy between Ledbetter and her 15 male counterparts was stark: Ledbetter was paid $3,727 per month; the lowest paid male area manager received $4,286 per month, the highest paid, $5,236”

 

Ginsberg went on to say that the appropriate remedy to this injustice was to re-write the laws governing fair pay … and in 2009, President Barack Obama’s first act was to sign the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This law gave women standing to sue employers for gender-based pay inequity, which helped all American women … except Lilly Ledbetter, whose case preceded the law.

Despite this (or perhaps because of it) Lilly has spent the last decade championing for women’s pay equity, and for gender equity in general. She has given scores of inspirational lectures at universities, conferences, and union conventions.

 

The University of Pennsylvania notes “Wow! Wow! Wow! Your commencement speech last week was one of the most moving, inspirational, and quite frankly the best speech I have heard in my entire tenure as dean. I am not alone in my sentiments. I have heard nothing but praise for you from faculty, students and staff.”

The Texas Civil Rights Project wrote “Lilly was absolutely fabulous and so kind and sociable.  Everyone LOVED her, and her speech was very inspiring and moving.  People were lining up after she spoke to buy her book and meet her. We couldn’t have asked for more– she was absolutely delightful.  It was truly an honor for all of us to meet her and talk with her.  She is a hero.”

 

Let us know if you’d like to have Lilly Ledbetter speak for your organization, conference, or university! Write us at inquiries@jodisolomonspeakers.com

 

—And that is the story for this week! Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest from all of our speakers, scientists and change makers!

 

 

 


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