Greater openness and a growing acceptance that sexual harassment is a problem at universities is helping more victims than ever before to come forward. But there are still obstacles to overcome when reporting harassment and not all institutes are facing up to the problem. At the American Chemical Society’s spring meeting in New Orleans two chemists, including Stanford's Dr. Maria Dulay, shared their experiences that almost led them to abandon the field that they love.
Sanda Sun, a food chemist at Irvine Valley College in California, told the audience that her dream of becoming a chemistry professor almost ended while earning her PhD because of severe sexual harassment by her research adviser. ‘At the beginning of my PhD programme, I thought I was well on my way to achieving my goal of becoming a chemistry professor at a local college,’ Sun said. Her research adviser initially seemed to be caring and supportive, but over time Sun became uncomfortable.