You are here

Documentary about Female Ohio State Students in the Sciences Paired with Community Forums in Daylong Event

Documentary about Female Ohio State Students in the Sciences Paired with Community Forums in Daylong Event

Tue, Feb 14, 2006

The Gender Chip Project Panel Features OSU President Karen Holbrook as Part of First Director’s Dialogue on Art and Social Change

In a day of free screenings and community forums on Wednesday, March 1, the Wexner Center launches a new forum entitled Director’s Dialogue on Art and Social Change and presents the world premiere of The Gender Chip Project, a documentary film by Helen De Michiel that follows five young women majoring in math, engineering, and the sciences at The Ohio State University. Begun in 1997 as one of four films commissioned by the Wexner Center to document Ohio State’s class of 2001—and filmed over the four years of the students’ undergraduate careers—The Gender Chip Project offers a glimpse into the challenges and barriers faced by these young women Last year the film was awarded one of 12 Informal Science Grants by the National Science Foundation (for more on the film and project, visit

The March 1 event includes free morning and evening screenings introduced by filmmaker Helen De Michiel, marking the premieres of the film. Each film screening will be accompanied by a panel featuring leading thinkers on the subject of women pursuing studies and careers in traditionally male-dominated fields, including OSU President Karen A. Holbrook (herself a scientist), Battelle scientist Joyce Durnford, and Diane L. Foster, one of the OSU professors featured in the film.

The evening panel also marks the first annual Director’s Dialogue on Art and Social Change, a new initiative that explores the arts as a springboard for discourse on contemporary issues and as a catalyst for social change. Each of these forums will convene a conversation among multiple voices, drawing upon the expertise of artists, academics and opinion leaders in a variety of fields. Director’s Dialogues at the Wexner Center are made possible by a generous lead endowment gift from an anonymous donor.

Notes Wexner Center Director Sherri Geldin, “The contemporary arts reflect and refract the forces that pulse through contemporary life—triggering fresh insights, vital conversations, and unique experiences among diverse audiences. In short, the arts can and do serve as catalysts for social change, in ways both obvious and subtle. We believe that the Gender Chip screenings and panel discussions provide an exemplary program with which to launch the Director’s Dialogue.”

Says OSU President Karen Holbrook, “The world premiere of The Gender Chip Project helps put additional focus on a timely issue. As we address our nation’s competitiveness, the need to encourage and enhance STEM education—the study of science, technology, engineering, and math—has been widely recognized and is of great importance to Ohio and Ohio State. Encouraging more young women to enter these fields of study is a critical component of this task.”

The Class of 2001 project (out of which grew Gender Chip, as well as projects by three other artists) was initially conceived in the mid-’90s by Bill Horrigan, the Wexner Center’s Director of Media Arts, as an artist residency project that would turn a unique creative lens on the undergraduate experience at OSU. Horrigan, along with Associate Curator Jennifer Lange and the center’s Education staff, have followed the project to fruition over eight years, and have orchestrated a rich programmatic context in which to introduce The Gender Chip Project to the campus and the Columbus community.

The schedule of the day follows.

Wednesday, March 1

The morning event:

• Free screening of The Gender Chip Project, introduced by Helen De Michiel / 10–11 am in the Wexner Center Film/Video Theater

• Forum at 11 am (especially for students and school groups but open to the public) featuring students in the film (including Amanda Graf, molecular biology; Anna Han, mathematics/psychology; and Heather Smith, civil engineering). Moderated by Lisa Chambers, State Director of TECH CORPS Ohio and founder of the Gidget Consortium, a technology pipeline for girls and women.

The evening event:

• Public reception / 6 pm in the Wexner Center’s Mershon Auditorium lobby, with the filmmaker, film participants, and panelists

• Free screening of The Gender Chip Project, introduced by Helen De Michiel / 7 pm in Mershon Auditorium

• Community forum / 8 pm: Panelists: Karen A. Holbrook, President of The Ohio State University; filmmaker Helen De Michiel; Diane L. Foster, Assistant Professor in Ohio State’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering & Geodetic Science; Joyce M. Durnford, Research Leader, BioSystems Group, at Battelle; and Lisa M. Chambers, State Director of TECH CORPS Ohio. Moderated by Lisa S. Courtice, Ph.D.,Vice President for Community Research and Grants Management of The Columbus Foundation.

VISITOR INFORMATION: All events take place at the Wexner Center, 1871 N. High St. (at 15th Ave.) at The Ohio State University (the Film/Video Theater is inside the Wexner Center; Mershon Auditorium is adjacent to it ). The public can visit or call 614 292-3535 for more information. All events are free and open to the public. Parking is available in the Ohio Union Garage just south of the Wexner Center on High Street. Groups planning to attend either session should call the Patron Services Desk at (614) 292-3535. School groups planning to attend the morning session should call the education department at (614) 292- 6493 or e-mail


The Director’s Dialogue on Art and Social Change is made possible in part by a lead endowment gift from an anonymous donor.

Promotional support is provided by Time Warner Cable and WOSU Public Media. Special thanks to the Gidget Consortium for additional support.

The Gender Chip Project—a presentation of Media Working Group, and directed by Helen de Michiel—was commissioned as part of the Class of 2001 project by the Wexner Center and received funding from the National Science Foundation; the Wexner Center Residency Award Program; the National Endowment for the Arts; The Ohio State University Offices of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs; The Ohio State University Alumni Association, Inc.; and the Ohio Arts Council.


Major support for film/video season generously provided by Abercrombie & Fitch.

Significant contributions made by the Rohauer Collection Foundation.

Additional funding provided by the Corporate Annual Fund of the Wexner Center Foundation and Wexner Center members.


The Wexner Center for the Arts is The Ohio State University’s multidisciplinary, international laboratory for the exploration and advancement of contemporary art. Through exhibitions, screenings, performances, artist residencies, and educational programs, the Wexner Center acts as a forum where established and emerging artists can test ideas and where diverse audiences can participate in cultural experiences that enhance understanding of the art of our time. In its programs, the Wexner Center balances a commitment to experimentation with a commitment to traditions of innovation and affirms the university’s mission of education, research, and community service.

PARKING UPDATE: Construction at 15th and High. For more information click here.

Sign up to receive center event updates directly in your inbox.

Enjoy an array of benefits including free gallery admission, ticket discounts, and more.

Find us, follow us, and continue the conversation wherever you are online.