Smith-Doerr to Speak about ‘The Marie Curie Effect’ at CPPA Colloquium

Laurel Smith-Doerr
Laurel Smith-Doerr

Laurel Smith-Doerr, professor of sociology and director of the UMass Amherst Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR), will speak on “The Marie Curie Effect: When Women in U.S. Science Policy Agencies Earn More than Men” on Monday, March 7 from 12:15-1:15 p.m. in 620 Thompson.

The talk is part of the annual faculty colloquium at the Center for Public Policy and Administration (CPPA).

Smith-Doerr investigates the intersections among science, gender and organizational structures, and this talk will draw on her research as part of an NSF-funded project, “Women in Science Policy (WiSP).” While many studies examine the presence and influence of women in the natural sciences and engineering, none has considered the role of women in positions that influence science policy and funding directives. WiSP derives data on gender disparities from the population of federal employees in major U.S. science policy agencies.

Smith-Doerr came to UMass Amherst in 2013 as the inaugural director of ISSR and a full professor in the department of sociology. She was previously a tenured faculty member at Boston University, and from 2007-2009, was a visiting scientist and program director in Science, Technology and Society at the National Science Foundation (NSF). She is a recipient of the NSF Director’s Award for Collaborative Integration and a council member of the American Sociology Association (ASA).

Her book, “Women’s Work: Gender Equality vs. Hierarchy in the Life Sciences,” was an important contribution to our understanding of how organizational size and structure influences opportunities for female scientists.

Jane Fountain, Distinguished Professor of Political Science and Public Policy, and director of the National Center for Digital Government, will introduce Smith-Doerr.

CPPA’s colloquia are generally held monthly each semester and feature UMass faculty discussing ongoing research that has significant policy implications. All talks are free and open to the public. Brownbag lunches are welcome.

For additional information, visit or email Susan Newton at