Brown, L’Pree receive summer funding awards

Harriet Brown and Charisse L’Pree are the inaugural recipients of summer funding awards from the Newhouse School’s Office of Research and Creative Activity.

Brown, a professor of magazine, news and digital journalism, is working on a project with photographer and Newhouse visiting professional Lynn Johnson.

“Weed Kids” takes a deep dive into the layered and challenging world of families who use cannabis to help their medically fragile children. Through photographs and longform narrative, Lynn Johnson and Harriet Brown tell the stories of children with life-altering conditions like the intractable seizures of Dravet’s syndrome, the violence of severe autism and the ravages of incurable cancers and catastrophic genetic disorders. Many of these families, watching their children suffer unimaginably, have gone to extraordinary lengths to improve the quality of their lives. They’ve risked prison and medical censure by turning to cannabis. Their stories are timely, given the rapidly changing legal status of cannabis and the exploding markets for both medical and recreational marijuana. They explore important issues: What happens when families clash with the medical mainstream? How can we navigate the contradictory and confusing network of state and federal regulations around cannabis? And, maybe most important, what is the value of a life?

L’Pree, an associate professor of communications, is exploring stereotypes and attitudes about women in STEM among media professionals.

The importance of the public discourse regarding women in STEM cannot be overstated because of the underutilization of the talent pool required for the knowledge economy workforce (Martinez, & Christnacht, 2021). The way we talk about (and think about) women in STEM impacts whether or not women seek careers in STEM fields, their treatment when working, their choices to stay or leave STEM fields and ultimately their ability to convey their stories to others, including aspiring scientists. Prior work has focused on quantifying the media representations of women in STEM in journalism (Benson-Greenwald, Joshi, & Diekman, 2022; Mitchell & McKinnon, 2019) and entertainment content including film (Chambers, 2022) and television, as well as the effects of these stereotypical representations on women pursuing careers in STEM and interventions to disrupt these patterns (Cheryan, Master, & Meltzoff, 2015; Cheryan, Plaut, Handron, & Hudson, 2013; Steinke, 2017). However, this work focuses on combatting the outcomes of media production, not the upstream phenomena that exist within media institutions, and few scholars have explored stereotypes and attitudes about women in STEM among media professionals, including those working in and training for journalism, entertainment, advertising and public relations. The current research describes attitudes about science and women in STEM by surveying media professionals and interviewing women working in STEM about their experiences engaging with media professionals.