By Martha Irvine | October 22, 2011 | Huffington Post
— For many of the women, the chemistry lab was a home away from home – a sorority for nerds, of sorts, that hints at the slow but steady shift in technical fields that have been traditionally filled with men.
Rebecca Allred has fond memories of that lab at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. She and her peers spent hours there. They worked into the night for their professor, Elizabeth Harbron, because they wanted to, blowing off steam by dancing to the soundtrack of “Mamma Mia” or taking a break on Fridays to play Putt-Putt golf together.
Harbron was not only their mentor, but often a confidante. They shared their frustrations. They celebrated their successes. Several published their findings with Harbron’s guidance, a rarity for undergraduates.
“That lab was a refuge between classes. I loved being there,” says Allred, now a second-year doctoral student in the Yale University chemistry department and one of a new generation of young women who are helping change the face of the so-called STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math.
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