Recorded: 04 Aug 2003
Luckily there’s been a real change because starting in about 1970 when I was first offered an assistant professorship other women began joining faculties and since then there’s been not enough growth, women are still vastly underrepresented, but there’s been a lot of encouraging things have happened. Which isn’t to say that there aren’t still problems that need to be overcome. It’s a quite different scene. And you know it’s really wonderful to know that you have colleagues not only at your own university, but at other universities in this country and around the world who are women. Quite a different situation. Very nice.
The trajectory is in the right direction, but one always fears that it’s just going to plateau and not keep going in the right direction.
Joan Steitz is a prominent molecular biologist who earned her Ph.D. under Jim Watson at Harvard University in 1967. She joined the faculty at Yale University in 1970 and is currently the Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and the Director of the Molecular Genetics Program at the Boyer Center for Molecular Medicine at Yale. She is also an Investigator for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Steitz’s research involves determining the structure and function of small RNA-protein complexes.
She has received numerous awards including the National Medal of Science (1986), the Weizmann Women and Science Award (1994), the Novartis Drew Award in Biomedical Research (1999), the UNESCO-L'Oréal Women in Science Award (2001), and the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award for Distinguished Work in Basic Medical Research (2002).