Society of Women in Science at Duke

Overview of SWS

Society of Women in Science (SWS) is a group organized around the realization that the Natural Science departments in Duke's School of Arts & Sciences lag significantly behind the Humanities and Social Sciences in achieving parity for women. This is not unique to Duke, as nationwide the number of female professors in the sciences is low. The SWS was established in the Fall of 2004. Its members include full and associate female professors who are regular faculty in the Natural Sciences. The ultimate goal of the SWS is to improve the climate for all women scientists at Duke, including undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs, staff and faculty.

Launch of the inaugural Society of Women in Science (SWS, Natural Sciences) Lunch Series.

For Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 the SWS lunches will be held the third Tuesday of every month from from 12:30 to 1:20pm in 330 Gross Hall (the Ahmadieh Family Grand Hall). Lunch will be available 11:45-12:30.

We invite women STEM faculty, researchers, and postdocs to join us for science and community building; each invited speaker will name a senior mentor who inspired her. The talk will be named for that mentor and the mentor will receive momentos of the event.


The lunch series was cancelled starting in March of 2020 due to Covid-related restrictions. Because an important part of this series is the in-person connections, networking, support, and collaboration opportunities we wish to establish, we do not intend to resume the series via virtual presentations. Once in-person meetings can resume, we will schedule the SWS lunch talks again.

The SWS thanks Kathy Peterson, the Rhodes Information Initiative at Duke, and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Sciences for their support.


With lunch at 11:45am and talk at 12:30pm.

Co-conveners 2018-20

Roxanne Springer Lillian Pierce
Physics Mathematics

If you have concerns, questions, comments, or suggestions about issues surrounding equity for women scientists at Duke, please email one of us: at or

Please keep safe and remember to practice self-care.

SWS Advisory Committee 2019-21

Christine Drea (Evolutionary Anthropology), Marcy Uyenoyama (Biology), Louise Roth (Biology), Christina Williams (Psychology & Neuroscience), Kate Scholberg (Physics), Roxanne Springer (Physics), Ingrid Daubechies (Mathematics), Lillian Pierce (Mathematics), Kathy Franz (Chemistry), Susan Rodger (Computer Science), Xiaobai Sun (Computer Science), Merlise Clyde (Statistics).