The University of Toledo’s chief academic officer has been named to the national governing board of the Association for Women in Science.
Dr. Karen Bjorkman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, was named a director on the board of the organization that advocates for women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to achieve business growth, social change and innovation.
Bjorkman, also a Distinguished University Professor of Astronomy and the Helen Luedtke Brooks Endowed Professor of Astronomy, has been a member of the UToledo faculty since 1996 when she joined the Department of Physics and Astronomy. She previously served as the dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics from 2010 to 2019.
“I am honored by this opportunity to have a greater role in advocating for women in the sciences and technical fields,” Bjorkman said. “I look forward to working with colleagues across the country to support equity and inclusion across all scientific and technical disciplines, in both academia and industry. AWIS is an important group whose work touches on not only academia, but also industry and even society at large.”
Founded in 1971, the Association for Women in Science provides scholarships, career resources, professional development, networking, mentoring and volunteer opportunities aligned with its mission to achieve equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors.
“The board has assembled STEM leaders from academia, industry, the start-up and investment communities, and national scientific organizations with the critical thinking, business acumen and vision to further our mission of advancing women in science,” said Dr. Isabel Escobar, chair of the board and professor of chemical and materials engineering at the University of Kentucky who was previously a faculty member at UToledo. “Our priorities for the coming year will be to set the strategic direction of AWIS, serve our members and work with organization leaders to ensure equitable and inclusive workplaces.”
Bjorkman is a leader in the research field of stellar astrophysics, applying spectropolarimetry to better understand the variable gaseous disks around massive stars. Her research has focused on studying the physical characteristics of these disks and the mechanisms behind their formation and variability.
In 2017, Bjorkman was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest multidisciplinary scientific and engineering society, in recognition of her important contributions to scientific discovery.