OSU Online Writing Lab

I submitted my paper to the OSU Online Writing Lab last week. It was helpful that they asked some questions about the purpose and goal of my paper, as well as my thoughts on the paper’s strength’s and weakness’s. The person who reviewed my paper, Michelle, was very thoughtful in addressing my specific concerns. I found her to be encouraging and supportive, while also willing to mention areas in which she felt my report could be improved. I generally enjoy getting feedback from others about my work (I have been asking everyone I know to read and edit my report!), so this was a service that I truly appreciated. I will definitely submit future papers to the writing lab.


Research update

I finally received the answers to my interview questions from Dr. Prakash.  She did send them last week, but they got lost in cyberspace.  I wish I could get further clarification on some of the specifics of her invention, but I can tell she is feeling a little frustrated with the back and forth process of answering my questions.  I much prefer interviewing people in person so you can ask clarifying questions right away.  Communicating solely through e-mail can be tedious.

Research frustrations

I have finished compiling all of my research and am now just waiting for Dr. Prakash to respond to my interview questions via e-mail.  I tried to call her in India one night last week (there is a 12 1/2 hour time difference), but all the lines were busy and I couldn’t get through.  She had promised to answer my questions last Friday, but as of today (Tuesday evening) she still hasn’t returned the questionnaire.   While I think I have enough information to complete my report, I am really hoping to include more about her personal life experience as a female inventor in India.  I just don’t feel my project will be complete with her insight!

On a positive note, she did send me a bunch of great photos which will really enhance the visual aspect of my report.  I was also able to interview a retired professor from OSU’s Agricultural Research department to get some clarification on the technical aspects of Dr. Prakash’s invention.  I feel I have a good grasp of Glass Bead Liquid Culture Technology.

I have been frustrated with my inability to get current statistics about women and technology in India.  I was hoping to find out how many women are graduating from college with science and technology degrees.  I wrote to over 10 Indian universities to ask for their most recent graduation statistics, but no one responded.  I was able to find a little bit of information online, but not as much as I had hoped.

Library Help

For the past week and a half, I have been communicating with Jane Nichols, the Women’s Studies librarian at the OSU Valley Library.  Jane has been a huge help!  She directed me to various search engines which helped me gather research about women and technology in India.  She has also helped me locate statistics to back up my findings and gave me suggestions for citing resources.  Not only has she been incredibly helpful, Jane has also been very pleasant to work with and genuinely friendly.  In the past, I have been reticent about asking librarians for help because I always assume they are busy and I should try to figure things out on my own.  Honestly, if it hadn’t been a requirement for this class to ask for help I don’t think I would have.  However, it has turned out to be such a good experience that I know I will feel more comfortable about asking a librarian for help in the future.

Cultural Site Topic

I have decided to do my research on Dr. Seema Prakash from India. She invented Glass Bead Liquid Culture technology. This technology uses glass beads to culture plant tissue and is more cost effective than the typical method of using Agar as a medium. It was designed to allow farmers to clone particularly high yielding or disease resistant strains of plants.

I have been doing a lot of research online and have found very little information. I think the fact that Dr. Prakash is still living and working in her field has left very little available resources. I have contacted Dr. Prakash directly and she has agreed to answer my questions about her experience as a female inventor in India. I am also researching the current cultural climate for women in India in technology fields. I am excited about the opportunity to add to the available information about female inventors.

Thinking about technology…

I am enjoying the class text and thinking more about what technology has done for all the different people in our world.  Most of the people that I know have lives pretty similar to mine, so I don’t normally think about how technology affects those who have a very different kind of life.  The textbook and related readings have forced me to consider whether or not technology has really been an agent for progress.  I think it has for some people, but certainly many people don’t have access to the technology that I use every day.  Does the newest cell phone technology help refugee mothers in Africa feed their children?

I think that the moral question about whether technology is “good” is difficult to ponder in our current culture.  It seems unpopular to speak in terms of right and wrong these days and people avoid appearing judgmental.  I don’t know how there can be an honest discussion about the benefits of technology without acknowledging that not everything is morally equivalent.  However, I fear that without these types of discussions there will be an “unchecked” addition of technology to our lives and consequences to be dealt with in the future.   I believe that people will continue to invent new forms of technology that have the potential to benefit the entire world, but I think it is important to have some hard discussions about our current social dynamics so that new technology can be distributed fairly.