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Calendar

9/27/2016
“Wonders of the Living World," Leeds, UK

9/30/2016
“Computers and Life,” Bristol, UK

10/11/2016
ASA 75th Anniversary Dinner Event

10/13/2016 » 10/15/2016
National Conference on Christian Apologetics, Charlotte, NC

10/16/2016
“From What Has Been Made,” Columbia, SC

CWIS: Christian Women in Science
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Welcome Deb Shepherd

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Friday, September 23, 2016

 

From Lynn Billman

You know the story of why geese fly in a “V” shape?  As it’s been told to me over the years, the birds take advantage of the aerodynamics of flight and get a benefit in that formation from the slipstream of the bird ahead of them.  However, the lead goose has no such advantage.  And periodically, when it gets tired, the lead goose will move back from the lead, and another goose will take its place.

That is a good story to remember whenever you are overwhelmed with life. This past year, that has been true for me.  The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) duties as president of the Executive Council have been more time-consuming than normal, with the changes inherent in seeing Randy off to retirement, hiring Leslie, expanding duties for Vicki, and dealing with the resignation and replacement of one of our Council members.  Before these changes, I agreed to be program chair for ASA 2017, the annual conference being held in Colorado, which requires a lot of early planning to select the best venue, the theme, and the plenary speakers.  As you can imagine, I have not had as much time for CWIS as I did the first three years.  Faith pitched in at a critical moment and organized our great panel at ASA 2016, and Pat and others helped at that conference too, for which I am very grateful.  But for me, the next year does not look much better -- I’m on Council for another 18 months and much has yet to be done for next summer’s conference.  As a result, I have had much angst over the fact that I haven’t been able to make much time for progress recently on new actions or activities.

But, God has His ways!  I first was introduced to Deb Shepherd when the CWIS concept was first in development, and while she was very interested, she quite honestly explained that she was just at the pivot point from a very successful career in engineering, astrophysics, and astronomy, to enter Fuller Seminary, and would not have any spare time.  At the ASA conference in Azusa this summer, Deb and I found each other again.  She graduated in June from Fuller, and is ready to reach out for new God-given adventures.  I was thrilled!  It seemed / seems like an answer to my prayers.

Deb has a lot of energy and enthusiasm for lighting a fire under CWIS and making a difference in the lives of Christian women in the sciences, students and beyond.  Just as importantly, she is at a position in life to make some time for this important organization. After a discussion with the other CWIS Board members, we decided to invite Deb to take over leadership of CWIS, effective immediately.

I won’t go into the interesting details of Deb’s career here, but you can find that at the CWIS blog.  Deb and the CWIS Board are currently considering new actions and activities that would be beneficial to our mission to help Christian women in the sciences and related areas.  Shortly she will take over this periodic communication with you all, and invite you into the conversation as we develop new ideas and actions together!  You can reach her any time at dshepher@gmail.com . 

I will still be on the Board, to help out and support.  I think / hope that will be doable for me, because I remain as dedicated as ever to the real issues faced by women in the sciences and our unique challenges as Christians. So this isn’t good-bye, just the time for me to slide back into the slipstream. Please send an email of welcome to Deb, our lead goose now, whenever you can!

 

Tags:  CWIS  Debra Shepherd  Lynn Billman 

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Technology Preserving Dying Languages

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Wednesday, September 21, 2016

 

There are many endangered languages in our collective linguistic radar. Some of them have been covered here before and some haven’t. In 2007, Joshua Hinson of Chickasaw heritage, identified that his language was one the brink of extinction. Rather than blaming technology as contributing source to language loss, Hinson embraced the opportunity to use technology to help save his language.

 

When Hinson saw that his ancestral Chickasaw language was disappearing, he decided to help build an online presence and create a smartphone app to make the language accessible.

 

Hinson used the internet to build an online presence for his tribe. This has been done before, as recently as in 2012 when Google embraced theEndangered Languages Project. Hinson almost a poured a decade into theChickasaw Language Revitalization Program, and by now knows enough Chickasaw to hold conversations as well as to read and write. As I understand it, at 32 years old, he is youngest member of the language to speak fluently, the next youngest member is 62.

 

Read the full article here.

Tags:  Linguistics 

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CWIS Welcomes Deb Shepherd

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Tuesday, September 06, 2016

 

Image result for Photo of Debra Shepherd Astronomer

The American Scientific Affiliation (ASA) and Christian Women in Science (CWIS) are pleased to announce that the leadership of CWIS has passed from our first President and Founder Lynn Billman to Dr. Debra Shepherd. Deb began her career as a research engineer and spent 10 years working on space-based sensors and training NASA astronauts for Space Lab shuttle missions while getting a Masters degree in astrophysics. She earned a Doctorate in Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin.

For 17 years Deb worked as an astronomer and project manager at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), researching star and planet formation and helping to build and commission radio telescopes in the USA, Chile and South Africa.

Deb recently completed a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and serves as a science and English teacher at the Learning Works Charter School in Pasadena, California.

She also serves as a deacon in the United Methodist Church. Last summer she worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help Katanga Methodist University develop a strategic plan and help build a high school in the village of Muleji.

Dr. Shepherd has a great vision for the future of CWIS and she will share some of her thoughts in a post scheduled to appear next week.


The American Scientific Affiliation and Christian Women in Science are please to announce that the leadership of CWIS has passed from Lynn Billman to Deb Shepherd. Deb holds degrees in physics and earned a Doctorate in Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin. She began her career as a research engineer and spent 10 years working on space-based sensors and training NASA astronauts for Space Lab shuttle missions while getting a Masters degree in astrophysics.

 

For 17 years she worked as an astronomer and project manager at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), researching star and planet formation and helping to build and commission radio telescopes in the USA, Chile and South Africa.

 

Deb recently completed a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and serves as a science and English teacher at the Learning Works Charter School in Pasadena, California. She is a deacon in the United Methodist Church. Last summer she worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help Katanga Methodist University develop a strategic plan and help build a high school in the village of Muleji.

The American Scientific Affiliation and Christian Women in Science are please to announce that the leadership of CWIS has passed from Lynn Billman to Deb Shepherd. Deb holds degrees in physics and earned a Doctorate in Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin. She began her career as a research engineer and spent 10 years working on space-based sensors and training NASA astronauts for Space Lab shuttle missions while getting a Masters degree in astrophysics.

 

For 17 years she worked as an astronomer and project manager at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), researching star and planet formation and helping to build and commission radio telescopes in the USA, Chile and South Africa.

 

Deb recently completed a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and serves as a science and English teacher at the Learning Works Charter School in Pasadena, California. She is a deacon in the United Methodist Church. Last summer she worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help Katanga Methodist University develop a strategic plan and help build a high school in the village of Muleji.

The American Scientific Affiliation and Christian Women in Science are please to announce that the leadership of CWIS has passed from Lynn Billman to Deb Shepherd. Deb holds degrees in physics and earned a Doctorate in Astronomy at the University of Wisconsin. She began her career as a research engineer and spent 10 years working on space-based sensors and training NASA astronauts for Space Lab shuttle missions while getting a Masters degree in astrophysics.

 

For 17 years she worked as an astronomer and project manager at the California Institute of Technology (CalTech) and the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), researching star and planet formation and helping to build and commission radio telescopes in the USA, Chile and South Africa.

 

Deb recently completed a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller Theological Seminary and serves as a science and English teacher at the Learning Works Charter School in Pasadena, California. She is a deacon in the United Methodist Church. Last summer she worked in the Democratic Republic of Congo to help Katanga Methodist University develop a strategic plan and help build a high school in the village of Muleji.

Tags:  CWIS  Debra Shepherd 

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New Ways to Look at Science and Religion

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Monday, August 29, 2016

  

At her blog Science and Belief, Dr, Ruth Bancewicz reports on the Faraday Summer Lecture on Human Origins with Mark Harris, Senior Lecturer in Science and Religion at Edinburgh University. He started by showing a picture of his two favourite workplaces. At the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire he focused in on nature in its finest details, and at the Edinburgh Divinity School he’s now involved in looking up to the heavens and asking very broad questions. Harris spoke about the relationship between science and religion, asking whether there is a clash of worldviews between the two. 

Science may have changed the way we read the opening chapters of Genesis, but we still need to respect the historical integrity of the text. This was Mark Harris’s reflection as he opened his lecture on The Bible and Human Origins  at the Faraday summer course last month. When it comes to questions of human identity and where we came from, the focus for most Christians is on the first three chapters of Genesis. Harris spent his talk looking at different interpretations of this text – especially the story of the fall – and the questions those interpretations raise for both science and faith. 

Harris started out by saying that both science and religion are almost impossible to define in general terms. Dictionary definitions of religion never seem to capture the experiences of ‘the other’, of community, or dealing with the hard facts of life that are so important for him in Christianity. Definitions of science are also slippery because there are so many different methodologies to include that it becomes difficult to summarise them in a meaningful way. This is reflected in his own view of science and faith, which he gave at the end of the lecture.

The most common models for the relationship between science and religion are conflict, independence, dialogue and integration. These were the four categories used by Ian Barbour, who was one of the founders of the field of science and religion. Conflict tends to be promoted by those who shout the loudest – the people whose agenda is to diminish the importance of the other side – whether it is science against religion, or religion against science. Independence was promoted by the late palaeontologist Stephen Jay Gould, who wanted a clear separation between science and religion. Is this what is being embraced by some Christians when they say that science and religion are different sides of reality, or ask different types of question? Perhaps not, but this is one place where we need to be careful about the words and definitions we use.

Dialogue suggests that science and religion can learn from each other, as they did in the past when an education in natural philosophy (as science was called back then) was a step on the way to a career in theology. We still assume that there are laws in nature and that the world can be understood in a logical way, even though the theological arguments behind those things have been forgotten. So can dialogue still happen, building on this heritage?

The idea of integration probably sounds wacky to most natural scientists, but there are other ways of viewing science and religion besides these four. Perhaps a more helpful way of seeing the two might be complexity, which is based on the work of the historian John Hedley Brooke. In his book, Science and Religion: Some Historical Perspectives, he pointed out that science and religion are “social activities involving different expressions of human concern, the same individuals often participating in both”.

One of Harris’s favourite models for relating science and religion is what he has calledprophetic conflict, based on the work of the philosopher Willem B. Drees. In Religion and Science in Context, Drees writes that the academic field of science and religion is a product of secularisation, and is driven by conflict – but conflict can sometimes be a good thing. He says that religion should have a ‘prophetic’ dimension, pointing to a better world and offering a critical perspective. If religion holds science to account in a healthy way, conflict is inevitable from time to time.

For Harris, science and religion cannot be neatly pigeonholed into a single model. Our views may change many times over the course of our lives (Darwin’s certainly did!), and different aspects of science and religion may also relate in different ways. He started his lecture by talking about worldview, or a personal philosophy of life. For him, the doctrine of creation makes sense of both science and religion. If the world had a beginning, if it was made from nothing, and if it relies on God for its continued existence, then all the sciences have the same starting point. So although our views about the relationship between science and religion may be constantly changing as we go through life, this may be a way of bringing them all together and making sense of them.

Reprinted with permission.

Tags:  Mark Harris  Ruth Bancewicz 

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Christians in Science and Math

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Sunday, July 31, 2016

 



Erasmus 1466-1536
Nicholas Copernicus 1473-1543
Francis Bacon 1561-1627
Galileo Galilei 1564-1642
Johannes Kepler 1571-1630
George Washington Carver 1864-1943

Roger John Williams (1893–1988) was Christian and a biochemist who named folic acid and discovered pantothenic acid (Vitamin B5). He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and President of the American Chemical Society. He founded and directed the Clayton Foundation Biochemical Institute at the University of Texas (now called the Biochemical Institute). In 1972, he served as a member of President Nixon's Advisory Panel on Heart Disease.

Roger's older brother, Robert Runnels Williams (1886–1965), also was a Christian and a chemist who discovered the cure for Beriberi. In 1936 Williams made the correct structural determination of vitamin B1 and designed a synthesis for it. Williams named vitamin B1 “thiamin” and submitted it for addition to the American Medical Association’s publication New and Non-Official Remedies. The American Chemical Society added an e to the end of the name to reflect the amine nature of the vitamin. Thiamine is found in whole-grain cereals, meats, yeast, and nuts and acts as a cofactor in the enzymatic reaction that breaks down carbohydrates, alcohol, and some proteins.

Robert and Roger were the sons of pioneer missionaries to India. Their only sister, Alice Williams Linsley, was a Professor of Philosophy at Redlands University in California.

Women should be portrayed equally in images such as the one above. Women scientists of the Christian Faith include:

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)
Maria Gaetana Agnesi (1718-1799)
Mary Anning (1799-1847)
Agnes Giberne (1845-1939)
Sister Mary Celine Fasenmyer (1906-1996)
Rhoda Hawkins (living)
Anne Marie Thro (living)
Leslie Wickman (living)
Jennifer Wiseman (living)

Today there are more opportunities for women to receive the education and training necessary to advance in the many fields of science. It has been claimed, however, that in the past women played a minimal role in Science and the contribution of Christian women is even more minimal due to male dominance in the Church. While science has certainly been dominated by men, there is no doctrine or tradition in Christianity that inhibits women from being involved in science. If men have dominated, it is because in centuries past they were the ones who received the more advanced education.

It is also likely that the contributions of women in science and technology have been overlooked rather consistently by both secular historians and Christian historians. If the historian is looking for inventions and discoveries that bring about paradigm shifts, they will miss the contributions of many women. For centuries, women were discovering the healing properties of plants (phytomedicine), experimenting in chemistry to create dyes (remember Biblical Lydia?), and exploring methods for creating fibers and developing textile technologies. They invented things like buttons and butter churns, but these do not lead to paradigm shifts, only to an improved quality of life.

 

 

 

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Live Streaming: Catch the Plenary Talks

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Saturday, July 16, 2016

         

 

 

The plenary talks will be live-streaming for those who are not able to attend the Annual Meeting at Azusa Pacific University. ASA Fellow Terry Gray will record and live-stream all the plenary talks. Join us virtually online at this link:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/asa-tv

 

Tags:  annual meeting 

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Dorothy Boorse Joins the ASA Executive Council

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Wednesday, July 13, 2016

 

 Dorothy Boorse

Dear Ladies of CWIS,

The ASA Executive Council is very, very happy to announce that Dorothy Boorse has been invited, and has graciously accepted, to serve on the Council to fill the vacancy left by a recent resignation. Dorothy is Professor of Biology at Gordon College. She is a wetland ecologist, with an interest in salt marshes, vernal pools, and invasive species. She is also passionate about connecting science and faith communities, increasing the success of women and minorities in science, and supporting science literacy. She teaches, mentors students, communicates with Christians interested in environmental issues, does research with students, and has co-authored an environmental science textbook for undergraduates. She is contributing author in two recent publications of the National Association of Evangelicals: "Loving the Least of These—Addressing a Changing Environment” (2011) and “When God and Science Meet—Surprising Discoveries of Agreement” (2015) and  I’m sure I’ve missed some of her other accolades!

Dorothy has also been very active in ASA, contributing to God and Nature, attending and presenting at national ASA conferences, writing for the PSCF journal, serving on our development/membership committee and more. We are honored to have her serve with us. Please welcome her yourself by email to Dorothy.boorse@gordon.edu, and/or see her at the annual meeting at Azusa Pacific University next week!


Sincerely in Christ,

Lynn Billman
ASA Executive Council President

 

Tags:  Dorothy Boorse 

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Prayer for the 2016 Annual Meeting at APU

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Tuesday, June 21, 2016

 

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth; we seek your blessing on the 2016 annual meeting of the ASA and CSCA.

May the organizers see You working on their behalf and rejoice.

May those who attend travel to and from the meeting in safety.

May all gathered there enjoy loving and respectful fellowship, remembering that their first loyalty is to You, Lord Jesus, and to the building up of your Kingdom.

May all the presenters be inspired by the Holy Spirit, ever mindful of the ministry of reconciliation to which they have been called.

May those who attend desire to know You and to communicate your holiness and your love in their homes and in their workplaces.

Grant that this time may be refreshing and encouraging to all who attend.

Lord, in your mercy, hear our prayer.

Amen.

 

 

Tags:  annual meeting  prayer 

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STEM Education in Christian Schools

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Thursday, June 09, 2016

 

Girls from Wheaton Christian Grammar School in Winfield, Illinois have been attending STEM events at Argonne National Laboratory. This was organized in cooperation with the DuPage Regional Office of Education STEM Team. The girls and their mothers listened to presentations by women involved in STEM professions, participated in an interactive design activity, and observed a science demonstration. 

A successful STEM education provides students with science, math, and engineering/technology in sequences that build upon each other and can be used with real-world applications. STEM education creates critical thinkers, increases science literacy, and enables the next generation of innovators to create new products and processes that sustain our economy.

Most jobs of the future will require math and science and the fastest growing occupations require significant mathematics or science preparation.

Wheaton Christian Grammar School is committed to providing learning experiences that integrate science, technology, engineering, and math so that the students can serve the world for God’s glory. WCGS in Illinois and King's Ridge in Georgia are among a growing number of Christian schools committed to STEM education.

  


Tags:  Christian Schools  STEM 

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Azusa Conference and Women ASA Leaders

Posted By Alice C. Linsley, Thursday, May 12, 2016

 

Dear Christian Women in Science,

2016 ASA Conference at Azusa Pacific University – Save $100 before May 31! 

Register before May 31 and get a $375 registration (regular member) for only $275!  Early Bird rates end May 31. This conference, celebrating ASA’s 75th year, features great field trips, excellent plenary speakers, a full plate of interesting talks, and two half-day workshops, one on genomic bioethics and one on practical Sunday School lessons on science.  Registration is open now here

Are you going to be at APU?  If so, please email Lynn at lynn.l.billman@gmail.com or cwis.asa@gmail.com and let her know so we can look for you. 

Faith Tucker, from the CWIS Board, is organizing a dynamite panel of discussion topics for the Azusa conference:

·       Oh! I Feel Like a Woman [Scientist] - Shania Twain might know what it's like to feel like a woman, but do you know what it's like to feel like a woman scientist? Women make up only one quarter of those working in the sciences, and their experiences in the laboratory, classroom and industry are unique and varied. Join the Christian Women in Science (CWIS) for a diverse panel of women discussing their experiences, joys and challenges of being a Christian woman working in the sciences.

·       Calling All Men! - There is more and more discussion about the lack of women working in the sciences, but is this issue only relevant to women? No! Come hear from both men and women about why increasing the number of women working in science is just as much of a men's issue and learn about how you can support your female colleagues, students, wives and daughters as they pursue their careers in science.

·       Ask Not What Your Students Can Do For You... -  But what you can do for your students. Today's students will be tomorrow's PIs, professors and project managers. But it is a long road from the undergraduate classroom to an established career in the sciences. In this session we will hear from current students and early career scientists about the challenges and questions they face and consider how ASA as an organization and we as individuals in our unique professional roles can support and encourage the next generation of Christians in the sciences.

In addition, ASA women will have a quick lunchtime together, a naturalist-led walk around the beautiful Azusa campus with its exotic flowers and foliage (open to all), a booth in the exhibitor area, and a State of CWIS meeting.  Hope to see you at Azusa!

Why is 2016 a Phenomenal Year for Women in Leadership in ASA!?  Do you realize what 2016 represents?  This year the three top leadership positions in ASA are being filled by women.  As of April 1, 2016:

·       Leslie Wickman became the ASA Executive Director

·       Vicki Best became the Director of Operations and Development, and

·       Lynn Billman became the President of the ASA Executive Council

While women have held the position of ASA Council President several times over ASA’s 75-yr history, Leslie’s appointment as Executive Director is an absolute first.  Leslie brings to us a wealth of experience as a researcher, teacher, and administrator, both in academia and in industry. She received her PhD in human factors and biomechanics from Stanford University and most recently was Program Director of Engineering and Director of the Center for Research in Science, both at Azusa Pacific University.

Her industry experience includes work at the Aerospace Corporation, the RAND Corporation, and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space. Her work centered on the U.S. human spaceflight program, and she is a trained EVA/IVA test astronaut with over 100 hours of test time in a NASA spacesuit and an FAA private pilot's license. Last, but certainly not least, Leslie has a passion for reaching the church and our culture at large with the message that faith and science, rather than being in conflict with one another, instead complement one another.

Along with the appointment of Leslie as Executive Director, Vicki Best was appointed ASA's Director of Operations and Development. Vicki is already well known to the ASA family as Director of Business Development, where she has played a pivotal role in helping to manage the ASA's finances and to lead the ASA's development efforts.  Vicki brings to us a wealth of experience as an accountant, financial manager and business professional, both in the corporate world and the not-for-profit sector. She received her Bachelors in Arts in business administration with a concentration in accounting and mathematics from Gordon College. She most recently was Business/Property Manager  for Covenant Christian Academy (CCA), a PreK - Grade 12 classical, Christian school in the Boston area. She continues to work as Property Manager at CCA where she has served for 18 years and as Treasurer at First Congregational Church of Hamilton, her home church, where she has served for 20 years.

Vicki's additional not-for-profit experience includes accounting, development, tax and audit consulting for several faith-based organizations. Her corporate experience includes work at Putnam Investments, Health Reinsurance Management Partnership, and McNiff Real Estate Companies, LLC. She also serves as Treasurer of the Wazee Foundation and has just returned from a mission trip to Kenya with the organization's board of directors. Vicki has a genuine passion for her work with the ASA and believes she is uniquely suited to partner with Leslie to bring ASA to a new level of ministry effectiveness.

Hope you are having a wonderful spring, and congratulations to all of you graduating this month or next!  Blessings to you all.

Lynn Billman

CWIS President and President of the ASA Executive Council

 

 

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