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Timken Library seeks to celebrate underrepresented figures in science

Ryan Secard
Contributing Writer

In a stride toward upholding one of the College’s core values of diversity and inclusivity, the Timken science library is currently seeking nominations for four new displays honoring engineers, scientists or inventors from historically underrepresented groups. The displays are set to be dedicated during the spring 2018 semester and placed throughout Timken, joining the library’s existing monuments to famous intellectuals.

In order to choose who specifically would be honored by the displays, the Timken library staff decided to turn to the student body. Nominations will be accepted through Friday, Oct. 6. On Oct. 16, eight or 10 finalists will be added to the contest website for students to vote on. Voting will end in time for Thanksgiving break on Nov. 21.

According to Zach Sharrow, a science librarian who works in Timken, the specific kind of displays have not been determined yet, but “portraits, photographs or busts” may be among them.

Each display will “likely also include a short biographical note summarizing the subject’s accomplishments,” said Sharrow. For examples of what the new displays might look like, Sharrow mentioned the portrait of Annie B. Irish and the bust of Arthur Holly Compton already in the library.

This initiative is an important development not just for the building but for students as well, many of whom represent identities which are not currently celebrated in the building’s design.

“Sitting in Timken Library and having all of those great scholars and scientists peering at you from around the ceiling is an awesome component of the interior of [Timken] library,” said Laura Leventhal ’18, a senior biology major, “but it is kind of discouraging when a lot of the people studying in that library are not being represented.”

Leventhal added that the need for this renovation speaks to a greater issue to be addressed in S.T.E.M.

“I have gone through a plethora of introductory science classes that talk about all of these awesome advancements in science … but the people who are in the textbooks and who come up in class discussions are almost exclusively men and seldom are people of color. Only learning about mostly white men makes it feel like women and people of color have never done anything for science, which they have,” said Leventhal.

A few under-recognized figures whom Leventhal would like to see honored are chemist Marie Curie, chemist Marie Maynard Daly, physicist Chien-Chung Wu and geneticist and Wooster alum Martha Chase. “Not only do these people deserve to be recognized for their significant contributions to science, but the students on our campus deserve direct representation in their textbooks, classes and even their library” said Leventhal.

If you would like to nominate a contributor to science from an historically underrepresented group to be honored in Timken Library, visit libguides.wooster.edu/science-superstars before Oct. 6 to submit a nomination. Don’t forget to check the website to vote for the finalists.

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