There are obstacles to being a woman in the field of science. Pregnancy is an exciting and emotional time in a woman’s life. For the precious 9 months that a woman carries her baby, it is important for her to maintain her health and avoid anything that might be dangerous to the development of her child. After the birth, the World Health Organization recommends a minimum of 2 years of breastfeeding for the optimal health of the infant (1). Many chemical toxins can accumulate in the mother’s milk (2). Although, the laboratory setting at CSUCI is relatively safe, the risk of chemical exposure can cause concern to pregnant and nursing mothers.
Many pregnant and nursing women opt to wait 2-3 years before taking the required lab course work to complete their degrees. Other pregnant or nursing women may switch majors or never complete the required coursework.
To alleviate this obstacle, I have developed alternative labs for pregnant and nursing mothers at CSUCI. Specifically, I have developed alternative labs for Organic Chemistry I & II and General Chemistry I & II. These labs implement virtual laboratory software and laboratory technique videos. These labs enable women to complete their degrees.
Professor Phil Hampton at CSUCI provided valuable advice and guidance in completing the organic labs. Without the support and vision of Professor Simone Aloisio at CSUCI these labs would not have been created.
1. WHO. Breastfeeding. http://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/exclusive_breastfeeding/en/ (accessed 11/22/16).
2. Landrigan PJ, Sonawane B, Mattison D, McCally M, Garg A. Chemical contaminants in breast milk and their impacts on children’s health: an overview. Environmental Health Perspectives. 2002;110(6):A313-A315.