Barry McNamara  |   Published April 30, 2020

Talking about Women in Science

NEA Big Read discussion about women in the sciences inspired by the critically acclaimed book Lab Girl.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – This year’s National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read program at Monmouth College will focus on a subject near and dear to many Monmouth students and faculty – a career in the sciences, especially for women who want to break into the field.

Monmouth chemistry professors Audra Goach and Laura Moore and professor emeritus Marta Tucker, who taught mathematics and computer science at the College for 35 years, will be the panelists for a discussion inspired by the critically acclaimed book Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.

WOMEN IN SCIENCE: Hewes Library Director Sarah Henderson is leading a discussion about the critic... WOMEN IN SCIENCE: Hewes Library Director Sarah Henderson is leading a discussion about the critically acclaimed book Lab Girl by Hope Jahren.The discussion – which will feature the three professors discussing how they fell in love with science, critical moments in their career and advice they have for others – will be held through the online platform Zoom at 7 p.m. Monday, May 4.

Reading the book in advance is not required to join the discussion. For instructions on how to join the discussion or to receive a book, email Hewes Library Director Sarah Henderson at Books have been supplied through the Galesburg Public Library, which was the recipient of a 2020 NEA Big Read grant.

An American geochemist, geobiologist and professor, Jahren has spent her life studying trees, flowers, seeds and soil. Lab Girl is her revelatory treatise on plant life, but it is also a celebration of the lifelong curiosity, humility and passion that drive every scientist. Jahren writes of her Minnesota childhood, where she spent hours in unfettered play in her father’s college laboratory. She tells readers how she found a sanctuary in science, learning to perform lab work “with both the heart and the hands.”

The 2016 book was the winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography and was named a New York Times Notable Book.

A discussion based on Lab Girl appealed to Henderson for a number of reasons.

“I like the way that she wove her career life and her personal life together in the book,” she said. “The working relationship that she has with one of her colleagues, her lab assistant, was very interesting. For any young woman who is interested in working in the sciences, it provides an interesting picture of it.”

Henderson is excited about the “all-star” cast that will drive the discussion.

“I’ve had chances to work with all three of the ladies on various levels,” she said of Goach, Moore and Tucker. “All of them are very kind, just wonderful with students. To have an opportunity to work with them on a project like this, I just thought was fantastic. I hope that it’s a stepping stone and we can work with them in the future on projects.”

More information on the Monmouth event is available at

Galesburg Public Library events have been postponed, but stay tuned to their page.

Back to News & Events

Did you know?

  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is the birthplace of the women’s fraternity movement. Kappa Kappa Gamma and Pi Beta Phi, two of the oldest sororities, were founded at Monmouth in the 1860’s. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/student-life/sororities-fraternities/" target="_blank">Sororities & Fraternities</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College covers the cost for all current students to get a U.S. passport. Unlock access to over 198 different countries! We’ll even help with the paperwork :)</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/study-abroad/" target="_blank">Study Abroad</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers several international trips each year during 2-week Scots Terms in January and May. Recently students have traveled to Botswana, Greece, Scotland, Japan, and more. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Scots Term</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College is proudly test optional. Applicants may choose whether or to submit SAT or ACT scores for admission and scholarship consideration. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/admission/apply/test-optional/" target="_blank">Test Optional</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 99% of Monmouth students received some type of scholarship or financial assistance.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/types-of-aid/scholarships/" target="_blank">Scholarships</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We’re no stranger to winning. Last year the Fighting Scots won Midwest Conference championships in Football, Women’s Soccer, Women’s Basketball and Men’s Track and Field. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Fighting Scots</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> 98% of Monmouth graduates were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/wackerle-center/career-services/" target="_blank">Career Services</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an educational garden and 6.7 acre farm. Students grow and harvest fruits and vegetables to sell at the local farmer’s market. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_urls"><a href="" target="_blank">Garden & Farm</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College offers unique academic minors in Global Public Health and Global Food Security for students who want to use their education to address global challenges. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-public-health/" target="_blank">Global Public Health</a></li><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/global-food-security/" target="_blank">Global Food Security</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> While we have the Wells Theater on campus, the Theatre department also uses the block-box auditorium Fusion Theatre downtown Monmouth.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/theatre/" target="_blank">Theatre</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> We offer a certified Peace Corps Preparation program that gives Peace Corps bound graduates a leg up in the application process.</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/peace-corps-prep/" target="_blank">Peace Corps Prep</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Textbooks are included in the cost of tuition at Monmouth College. No need to try to plan for an additional expense, and our students start each semester fully prepared for classes. </p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/offices/student-financial-planning/tuition-fees/" target="_blank">Tuition & Fees</a></li></ul></div></aside>
  • <aside class="factoid-item"><div class="factoid-item-text"><p> Monmouth College has an active Pipe & Drum Band. Each year on Scholar’s Day in April the bagpipers wake students up at 6:00 a.m. by playing in the residence halls!</p></div><div class="factoid-item-links"><ul><li class="lw_related_page"><a href="/academics/music/pipe-band/" target="_blank">Pipe Band</a></li></ul></div></aside>