Kathleen Mailer says that she has been in some ludicrous predicaments. The worst, says the professor of chemistry and dean of science at Athabasca University in Alberta, Canada, is when she has attended meetings with the Canadian deans of science--and found she was the only woman. "I would think to myself, `This is a really stupid situation.' To be the only woman in science is simply not normal." The incident, she says, is representative of the ongoing problem of underrepresentation of women in science.

As the newly appointed dean of science and engineering at Seattle University (SU), Mailer hopes that in some way she can alter this trend and become an additional role model for aspiring women scientists.

"Science is really fun. Maybe not enough women out there are telling girls to think about science as a career," she says. "And also, to explain that you can be a normal...

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