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WPSU series showcases women working in science

Michelle Orner, the quality manager at Penn State’s Berkey Creamery, is featured in WPSU’s “Women in Science” profiles.
Michelle Orner, the quality manager at Penn State’s Berkey Creamery, is featured in WPSU’s “Women in Science” profiles. adrey@centredaily.com

Cheraine Stanford is a big science fan.

This was the case long before she became a producer and director at WPSU and will probably continue long after people finish watching her latest effort behind the camera, “Women in Science.”

The series consists of five short profiles available on WPSU’s website that peek inside the diverse careers of women working locally in the sciences.

When I was younger, I think I had a limited view of what scientists did.

Cheraine Stanford

“When I was younger, I think I had a limited view of what scientists did,” Stanford said.

Her work on the project not only broadened that perception but also helped it become embedded in the heart of the series. Anyone is welcome to watch, but Stanford knew from the beginning that her target demographic would be the one who needed to hear her message most.

“About middle school is when girls start getting signals from other people that science is too hard,” Stanford said.

The director and her team searched far and wide to find the right subjects to round out the program’s five episodes. Penn State was a given — that’s where she found Michelle Orner, Elena Zavala, Felecia Davis and Erica Smithwick.

I wanted to include things I didn’t even know were a thing.

Cheraine Stanford

Orner is the quality manager at the Berkey Creamery, Zavala is a graduate student studying forensic science, Davis is an assistant professor of architecture and Smithwick is an associate professor of geography.

It was also important to Stanford to explore the scientific careers beckoning off campus. Carolina Pulido, a quality engineer at the statistical software company Minitab, fit the bill.

“I wanted to include things I didn’t even know were a thing,” Stanford said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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