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Brown To Host Wikipedia 'Edit-a-Thon' for STEM Equity

Brown University will host an "edit-a-thon" October 15 to help students and other interested individuals create or expand Wikipedia pages for women scientists.

Taking place on Ada Lovelace Day, the edit-a-thon is designed to improve the visibility of women in science.

The event's wiki page includes a list of dozens of entries in need of work or creation, as well as resources about women in science, technology, math, and engineering (STEM) and Wikipedia editing. Participants are encouraged to use the site to do a little advance research before the edit-a-thon.

"Organizing Wikipedia editing sessions as a means of social change has become a movement on college campuses, including at Brown," according to a school news release. "Wikipedia editing is part of the curriculum of the Modern Culture and Media class 'Dialogues on Feminism and Technology,' taught by visiting lecturer Megan Fernandes."

The medical school at the University of California, San Francisco also offers course credit for students who improve medical content on the online encyclopedia.

"It has a kind of guerilla warfare aspect to it that appeals to me," said Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Biology Anne Fausto-Sterling, who is also one of the event's organizers, in a prepared statement. "I go back to the '60s in terms of my activism. Anybody can do it, but in addition to having metaphoric value it has a real corrective value."

"What we lose by not having a full panoply of information about women scientists is that we continue to perpetuate this idea that this historian had that women haven't done science at the same level as men or are somehow deficient in this area," Added Fausto-Sterling, who was told by a history professor, shortly after she came to Brown in 1971, that hers was the first generation of women scientists.

More information is available at en.wikipedia.org.

About the Author

Joshua Bolkan is the multimedia editor for Campus Technology and THE Journal. He can be reached at jbolkan@1105media.com.

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