Spotlight on Kadiatou Dao: tackling biological nonproliferation in Mali

by Maryam Zaringhalam   CRDF Global Robin Copeland Memorial Fellow Kadiatou Dao shares her journey to becoming a leader in biological nonproliferation in Mali and why women are so critical to the field. Kadiatou Dao “Women are the key to peace,” Kadiatou Dao declared to an eager audience at CRDF Global headquarters in April. Founded in 1995, CRDF Global is a nonprofit organization that promotes international scientific and technical collaboration through a number of incredible programs including the Robin Copeland Memorial Fellowship. The award recognizes a woman leader working to promote nonproliferation in emerging countries. So as the 2015 fellow, Dao is uniquely qualified to make such a bold and inspiring statement. With funding through the U.S. Department of State, she has spent the last year gaining the expertise to tackle biological nonproliferation of infectious disease in her mother country of Mali. I had the great fortune of meeting Dao when Rockefeller University’s Science Diplomacy class visited CRDF Global. There, she shared her experiences — which include working in the bacterial meningitis diagnostics at Mali’s National Institute of Research in Public Health and studying malaria’s resistance to drugs at the University Pierre et Marie CURIE in Paris —

Want to promote women in STEM? Leave home life out of the discussion

written by Jeanne Garbarino At a recent NYWiSTEM meeting at the New York Academy of Sciences on promoting women in scientific careers, I was quite surprised to hear several of the panelists focus, in part, on having a supportive husband, and how that has been critical for their career success. On one hand, this is true for them and sharing this information is being honest. On the other hand, this type of thing can come across as a necessary requirement, which is both inaccurate and unfair. This was not the first time that I have seen the probing of a woman’s home life. Questions like: “How do you manage your household and your lab,” “Can you make enough time for your children without impacting the quality of your work,” or “Do you have a supportive husband?” populate many of these discussions, and I feel that this is adrift from the primary focus: increasing the number and retention of women in STEM, particularly in high-ranking positions. Don’t get me wrong. I understand the value of a household where all inhabitants pitch in equally. I absolutely believe that individuals in a 2+ body home are required to discuss any major career changes with whomever it