The University Libraries are excited to recognize this spring’s Undergraduate Friends of the Libraries Fellow Aubrey Kroger.
The Friends Fellowship is aimed at introducing undergraduates to careers in academic librarianship and allowing students to work on a project in the libraries. Recipient Kroger brings her background from her major in electrical and computer engineering to her selected project, an exhibit called “Wonder Women: The Dynamic, Influential, and Innovative Scientists of CU Boulder,” now on display in Gemmill Library and sponsored by the Friends of the Libraries.
During the reception last Friday, Kroger said she was drawn to the topic of women in fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. With help from instruction and reference specialist Sean Babbs, Kroger found Ruth Rebekka Struik, a longtime mathematics professor at CU Boulder.
Struik was a firm advocate for the rights of female professors and minorities in the sciences. In Kroger’s exhibit, she points out that Struik was one of the first female professors of the CU Mathematics department. During her tenure, she developed a faculty committee that aimed to discover and prevent discrimination on the basis of sex on campus. Her mathematics research in group theory has broad impact and implications.
“Looking through her archives, I found all of this amazing activism work she did in Boulder and all these organizations she’s been a part of and clubs she’s facilitated helping to promote human rights, women in STEM, minorities in math,” said Kroger.
Kroger also wanted to include current STEM female faculty in the exhibit, and selected professors Zoya Popovic in the Electrical, Computer, and Energy engineering department and Orit Peleg in the Computer Science department, who are both currently teaching and conducting research at CU Boulder.
Professor Popovic leads the Microwave and RF Research group on campus. She demonstrates her commitment to student success by advising students from all over the world. Professor Peleg heads a lab at the BioFrontiers Institute on campus. Her Honey Bee Swarm Project examines how thousands of bees in a swarm maintain mechanical stability.
“It’s been so inspiring to see what can come from doing archival research and then hearing about these other women who started by just doing research. Now they’re so passionate about discovery and learning new things, and then inspiring other people to do the same—I just think it’s amazing,” said Kroger.
Kroger said that when presenting her research through the exhibit, it was important for her to emphasize that while there are lower numbers of women and minorities represented in STEM, we need to celebrate the women that are leaders in these fields.
“That's what inspires people to do engineering and shows female students, ‘I can do it,’ because there are women who are successful and talented and smart. They do all this research and they are respected and they can do it,” she said. “So maybe we can too!”