Title IX and Women in STEM

Dr. Debra Rolison

"What does Title IX have to do with women in science? Title IX is a mechanism that - when wielded - successfully affects change for women. Americans rightly attribute the Education Amendments of 1972, commonly called Title IX, with the spectacular increase in opportunities for female athletes in schools and colleges, but the law as originally written never mentioned athletics. It stated, 'No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be . . . denied the benefits of . . . any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.'"*

A Day of Activities Celebrating the 35th Anniversary of Title IX

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Co-sponsored by:
AdvanceVT, Virginia Tech Women's Center, Women and Gender Studies Program



Title IX and Women in Sports

Graduate Life Center (Space is limited for this event!)

Kelly Belanger, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society

4:00 pm

Title IX and Women in STEM

Torgersen 1100

Debra Rolison, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington, D.C.

5:30 pm

Celebration of 35th Anniversary of Title IX

Torgersen 1100


7:30 pm


Past, Present & Future of Title IX

Chemistry/Physics 130

Debra Rolison, Naval Research Lab; Fatima Goss Graves, National Women's Law Center; Lauren Kamnik and Sarah Warbelow, AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund; Kelly Belanger, Virginia Tech

Speaker Biographies

Fatima Goss Graves

Fatima Goss Graves is Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center, a non-profit legal advocacy organization in Washington, D.C. that is dedicated to the advancement and protection of women’s rights and the corresponding elimination of sex discrimination from all facets of American life. She focuses her practice on gender equity in education, including the advancement of women and girls in fields that are nontraditional for their gender, affirmative action, sexual harassment and athletics. She uses a number of advocacy strategies in her work on these issues, including litigation, legislative policy and public education. Prior to joining the Center, she worked as an appellate and trial litigator in private practice. She began her career as a law clerk for the Honorable Diane P. Wood of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Ms. Goss Graves has a law degree from the Yale Law School and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Los Angeles.

Lauren Kamnik

Lauren Kamnik, the Director of the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund, was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and received her bachelor’s degree from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. After graduating from Tulane, Lauren attended law school at American University's Washington College of Law in Washington D.C. Throughout law school, she focused her studies on civil rights discrimination. Specifically, she interned at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and clerked at a civil rights law firm that specialized in race and sex discrimination. Following law school, Lauren continued to focus on civil rights discrimination by working for several years in the Disability Rights Section of the Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. While she loved her work in the Disability Rights Section, she made the decision to return to school to focus on policy and management issues. As a result, in May 2007, Lauren completed her Masters in Social Work from George Mason University in a program that concentrates on organizational leadership and social change. Lauren began working at AAUW in July 2007 and has enjoyed focusing on eliminating sex discrimination on campuses.

Debra Rolison

Dr. Debra Rolison received a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1980 and immediately joined the Naval Research Laboratory as a staff scientist; she currently heads the Advanced Electrochemical Materials section and is also an Adjunct Full Professor of Chemistry at the University of Utah. Her research at the NRL focuses on multifunctional nanoarchitectures for catalytic chemistries, energy storage and conversion, biomolecular composites, porous magnets, and sensors. She is a Fellow of the AAAS (2001) and of AWIS (2006), and has served on numerous editorial advisory boards in chemistry and nanoscience. She lectures on the impact of nano(bio)technology on society and the ethical obligations of scientists who perform research in nanoscale science and technology. Rolison also writes and lectures widely on issues affecting women in science. In 2000, she proposed using Title IX, which prohibits discrimination in any educational “program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance,” to evaluate academic Science & Engineering departments. Her strategy was echoed in the 2004 General Accountability Office report Women's Participation in the Sciences Has Increased, but Agencies Need to Do More to Ensure Compliance with Title IX. The primary recommendation in this report to the U.S. Congress directs the agencies that fund scientific research to “take actions to ensure compliance reviews of grantees are conducted as required by Title IX.”

Kelly Belanger

Dr. Kelly Belanger is an associate professor of English at Virginia Tech. Her research interests span several areas within composition and rhetoric studies. She's used historical and qualitative methods to study worker-education programs and undertaken pedagogical studies focusing on critical literacy, collaboration, business communication, basic writing, writing program development, and learning communities. Most recently, her research focuses on the literacy practices and persuasive strategies of female athletes, a group whose contributions to the rhetorical tradition and feminist rhetorics are relatively recent and underrepresented in rhetorical studies. This work, particularly as it relates to the discourse surrounding Title IX, has focused her attention on the rhetoric of social movements, civic discourse, and organizational change as represented in a variety of genres from government documents to online discussions. While much writing within a social movement or organization necessarily aims at building and sustaining support among like-minded people, she's especially interested in how existing theories of audience can be adapted to facilitate and more effectively account for successful communication across social, cultural, political, and philosophical differences.

Sarah Warbelow

Sarah Warbelow manages the AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund Case Support Program, which provides selected plaintiffs with funding, publicity, and technical assistance in sex discrimination suits against universities. She also engages in campus outreach, presenting programs on sex discrimination to students and faculty nationwide. She earned a law degree and a master’s degree in public policy from the University of Michigan.

*Rolison, D. (2004). Title IX as a change stragegy for women in science and engineering...and what comes next. New York: Columbia University, Advance.