A Lab of One's Own: One Woman's Personal Journey Through Sexism in Science

S. & S.. Aug. 2020. 288p. ISBN 9781501181276. $27. SCI
Colwell (b. 1934) is an internationally recognized microbiologist, marine expert, and authority on cholera and infectious diseases. In her scientific career, Colwell has held many positions including director of the National Science Foundation and president and chairman of CosmosID, as well as holding professorships at the University of Maryland, College Park and Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health. In this compelling memoir, Colwell describes her sinuous path to the top, which included some detours to avoid entrenched sexism. She ultimately ended up implementing multidisciplinary and technology-enhanced science long before this approach was popular. Along the way, she met others who also encountered sexism within science; she shares her own personal experiences, along with ones that other women have faced throughout their careers. Colwell recounts her efforts to expand opportunities for women who were once in her position. She shares ideas on what remains to be done to open opportunities, and credits coauthor McGrayne (The Theory That Would Not Die) for her ongoing guidance.
VERDICT Colwell's forthright memoir is an inspiring read for women embarking on a career or experiencing career challenges. The book is also a must-read for those in higher education seeking to support women in S.T.E.M.

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