Hanson Expansion: Why It Matters to You

By now, all of us students have been made aware of the Hansen Hall of Science expansion. We hear the drilling and we see the construction every single time we walk to class, and let’s be real, it gets awfully annoying. It’s especially annoying when you’re not a science major and you wish that millions of dollars was being put into your field of study instead. While that can be frustrating, even for me, there are quite a few reasons why I am so happy that this project is being done.

On the website, President Bahls mentioned two reasons as to why this project has taken top priority. One reason is to keep up with the changes in science teaching methods, and the other is due mainly to the increased enrollment of women in science-related fields of study. Let’s take a closer look at that second reason, and really focus on why it matters. Increased enrollment means that more women at Augustana are deciding that they want to pursue science majors, which is amazing because statistically more men than women pursue science related majors.

Now, I probably don’t need to convince you that women in science are outnumbered. But just incase I do, here’s some background information taken from the National Science Foundation, a government agency that supports the research and education of science majors, which sheds light on some alarming disparities. According to their research, the rates of science and engineering course taking for women shift at the undergraduate level and gender disparities begin to emerge, especially for minority women (NSF, Science & Engineering Indicators, 2016). So....what exactly does this mean? It means that boys and girls tend to take equal numbers of science related classes up until college, then during undergraduate studies we see less science courses taken by women, especially minority women.

This is very problematic, so what should be done about it? That brings us to the benefits of this building. For one, this building will provide more space. More space for more students, specifically those female students contributing to the increased enrollment. It will give them the space to learn, research, and pursue their dreams. It will also provide those female students with the resources they need to succeed in whatever field they are pursuing. Plus, they will be more motivated, knowing that this renovation was made largely for them!

To take this full circle, I know it is unfair that certain majors are better funded than others, that so much money is being pumped into a building that probably won’t even benefit you: but it WILL benefit you. It will benefit you when those disparities are non-existent and equal numbers of men and women in science related fields are entering the workforce. It will benefit you when your girlfriend who thought that she wasn’t capable of medical school now has the space and the tools to know she can succeed. It will benefit you when the world in a more fair place. It may be a small step, but Augustana it doing its part.

 

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