Dr. Jue Wu came to the US from China for graduate school to work on the underrepresentation of women in sciences. Now at UC Berkeley, her research has broadened as she works towards resolving issues related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
“There are just so few women in this area, and it's really important to have a community,” Jue said.
Jue’s position as a postdoctoral scholar is affiliated with mathematical and physical sciences at Cal. However, she works with her advisor from the Psychology Department to identify psychological factors affecting the underrepresented communities in STEM fields and how individuals can overcome these biases.
Jue is also an executive board member and secretary for the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (HSSA) Association at Berkeley. Having a supportive community like this is one of the things that keeps her going in her toughest moments as a researcher. Jue started out as a member of the association’s Writing Accountability Group which meets weekly in person or via Zoom to discuss the members’ goals/progress/obstacles and co-present their writings.
“Having some kind of support and peer-to-peer together in this adventure really helps me because then I feel like I'm in here together with these folks and I feel like I have to focus on my work and keep going,” Jue added.
One of the biggest challenges in her research at Cal has been gathering institutional data within the University of California system. Surveys administered to students often contain demographic and sensitive information. And different campuses, even though within the UC system, have different policies. So Jue has to keep bouncing back between different departments at different campuses because it is hard for her to identify who is the gatekeeper or the data steward of the information she wants.
Despite the hardships, Jue can feel a sense of achievement in the progress of her journey, especially now that she sees herself having successfully transitioned from a student researcher to achieving her goal of becoming an independent researcher. She aspires to take her research to a practical approach and initiate policy changes for better representation of women and minority groups in STEM.