UMKC’s Her Campus chapter, a publication focused on empowering college women, hosted a panel titled “Women in Academia” on March 24 to raise awareness and advocate for female representation in the academic world.
The panel included UMKC professors Lyn Elliot, Donna Davis, Lena Hoober-Burkhardt and Crystal Doss. Her Campus correspondents Haley Sakuma and Krithika Sevarajoo moderated the event.
Sevarajoo says that the panel helped her feel empowered as a woman, and a student.
“Listening to all the female professors talk about the field they were passionate about was very inspiring,” Selvarajoo said. “It was very refreshing to see women from all different fields gather in one space and advocate and talk about the importance of female representation in academia.”
The women discussed the benefits of having a career in academia, such as a flexible schedule, interactions with students and a love for their field of study. One major theme continued to emerge throughout the panel: mentorship.
The professors credited women who inspired and influenced them to pursue higher education and a career in academia. Soon the women took the role of mentor themselves, describing how a love of research evolved into a love of teaching.
Samiya Azim, the events director for Her Campus at UMKC, found inspiration from the discussion of mentorship and women representation.
“The part that resonated most with me was when Dr. Donna Davis was talking about the importance of representation of women in academia,” Azim said. “I found it very motivational to see a group of women who found fulfillment in their careers and strive to share their experience with others.”
The four professors encouraged students to take finances into consideration. They also recommended that taking a break from academics to gain work experience is important in pursuing higher education degrees.
Sevarajoo agreed with the advice.
“We’ve been conditioned as college students to think that there is only one path towards success, but it is not true at all. Like what some of the panelists said, I think success is what you define it as,” Selvarajoo said. “Only you can determine if you are meeting your expectations, and you are ultimately living your life just for yourself.”