Describe someone, friend or stranger. The very first thing you say reveals whether they are a man or a woman. Gender affects how we perceive everyone around us and how we express ourselves, often in ways we don't realize. Why do your son and daughter behave differently? Why is technology dominated by men? Why are women so often caregivers? This talk will use ideas from psychology and education, including gender schemas, identity threats, and micromessaging, to investigate how we perceive and respond to gender. It will give you some tools to understand how you think about gender, along with information that puts that in greater social context. Whether you're a hiring manager, a parent, a technologist, or just curious, you'll learn concepts and vocabulary to help understand yourself and our society.
Debbie Chachra is an Associate Professor of Materials Science at the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering, where she was one of the founding faculty (the first class graduated in 2006).
Prof. Chachra’s research interests are twofold. She researches the engineering student experience, including persistence and migration, differences by gender, and the role of self-efficacy in project-based learning. As well as her work in education, she studies biological materials, currently focusing on a polyester-silk composite synthesized by bees. She also consults, facilitates workshops, and speaks widely on curricular design for engineering education, on gender, diversity and the engineering student experience, and other subjects.
Prior to joining the Olin College faculty, Prof. Chachra was a postdoctoral researcher in materials science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She received her bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science (Physics) and her master’s and doctoral degrees in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Toronto. She was a recipient of a National Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada postdoctoral fellowship and a Medical Research Council of Canada graduate fellowship, as well as numerous other honors for her research and publications. In 2010, she received an NSF CAREER Award in support of her research on engineering education.
Prof. Chachra lives in Cambridge, MA.
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