Patricia M. LowrieMarch 04, 2009
When deciding which woman in academia to highlight in this blog, I decided not to focus on a well-known woman academic leader, such as a woman university president or a distinguished female professor. Instead, I did a Google search to find a woman who has not necessarily been in the public spotlight, but who has nonetheless worked to make education a reality for many young, diverse women across the country. In my search, I discovered Patricia M. Lowrie. It is women like Lowrie who have provided the support that the more well-known women leaders needed to get where they are today.
Lowrie is the director of the Women’s Resource Center and assistant to the dean in the College of Veterinary Medicine at Michigan State University. Lowrie works to bring issues of inequality, social injustice, and discrimination to the table in order to address the disproportionate representation of women in various academic fields and in high-level academic positions. With high-reaching dreams of my own, women like Lowrie are paving the way for my dreams to become more and more of a reality. We cannot forget that there were days in which women were not allowed to attend university, not allowed to hold higher education positions, or even to study particular academic fields, and unfortunately our fight is not over. Discrimination in education and academia is still very much alive, but with leadership from women like Lowrie, hindrances to women’s advancement are pushed aside to allow more and more goal-driven women to succeed. Women like Lowrie, whose work focuses on implementing education, leadership, social justice, and advocacy programs, further empower women to make long strides in academia.
As detailed in an Association of American Colleges and Universities article, Lowrie has put a great deal of enthusiastic effort into further equalizing opportunities for women in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) and ensuring that culturally diverse classrooms encourage students from all backgrounds to realize an equal chance to reach their dreams and live up to their full potential. Lowrie has worked at a grassroots level not only at Michigan State University, but also by serving on the governing board of the Council on Education for Public Health under the American Public Health Association and Association of Schools of Public Health. Lowrie is working to change statutes to make education more widely available to students, particularly women, of minority cultures. Diversity is absolutely an aspect of education that, as I sit in my own classes, I do not see enough of. Most classes continue to be dominated by students from distinct socio-economic backgrounds that do not represent the populous of the country. I applaud Lowrie’s work and the achievements that she has already made, in addition to those she continues to work toward. Lowrie has had many great achievements in ensuring that all women can break through barriers to become leaders in their field.