NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO PROFILES
QC EDUCATION DEAN PENNY HAMMRICH
-- Her Innovative Sisters and Brothers in Science Program Uses Sports To Draw More Young Urban Women and Men into Science, Boosting Their Achievement --
FLUSHING, NY, June 4, 2008 – Science has always been important to Penny Hammrich, Dean of Education at Queens College, because it taught her how to think and how to question, she says. Little surprise that Professor Hammrich spent more than a decade researching and developing a program to attract more young women and men in urban schools to the study of science and math. Launched in 1994, Hammrich’s innovative program, first called Sisters in Science™, LLC, teaches the abstract principles of physics and the life sciences through technology and popular sports like soccer and basketball. This highly successful program originally supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has since been expanded to include boys. The program is now called Sisters in Science and Brothers of Science™, LLC (SISBOS).
This month National Public Radio will profile Hammrich and report on her trailblazing research—the longest-running in its field in the United States—in a 15-minute, magazine-style feature, part of a series called “The Sounds of Progress: The Changing Role of Girls and Women in Science and Engineering.” The NSF-funded series began airing in January as part of “The Best of Our Knowledge” programming, which covers important developments in educational research.
Hammrich was one of only eight female scientists from such institutions as Stanford University, Ohio State, and the University of Texas at Austin chosen for inclusion in “The Sounds of Progress.” The show focuses on gender-based research strategies and methods being used to increase the participation of women and men in science and math education and the workforce.
Hammrich has educated teachers and other educational professionals to become proponents of the SISBOS program by incorporating many of its activities and techniques into their classrooms and lesson plans and participating in professional development institutes. Even parents have gotten involved through customized family-oriented SISBOS-hosted events from fencing tournaments to science quiz bowls to volleyball parties.
“My ‘hands-on/minds-on’ research has shown that over time, there is a remarkable increase in the students’ ability to comprehend and retain scientific information as well as heightened feelings of confidence and self-esteem,” says Hammrich.
“Our programs put a human face on gender-based research and allow the people behind the scenes to discuss their own experiences and work in a way that will be understandable to a lay audience,” says Glenn Busby, the series producer. “Hopefully by widening the net on this research, we’ll be able to change the status quo and establish more equitable avenues for all students to pursue academic success in math and science.”
To hear Hammrich’s interview in its entirety, go to http://qcpages.qc.cuny.edu/Education/story.html To hear more stories in NPR’s series, visit www.womeninscience.org and click on the “Sounds of Progress” button.
In her role as Dean of the Division of Education, Hammrich has been successful in empowering faculty to prepare future teachers and other school professionals. The adopted mission of Queens College’s Division of Education is to prepare dedicated educational professionals for diverse urban communities by providing equitable educational opportunities, striving for excellence and focusing on social justice. The division is well positioned to accomplish these goals because of the college’s geographic location, cultural diversity, and national reputation for its liberal arts education.