Shaping a Balanced Work Culture

OIST welcomes Dr. Machi Dilworth as the new vice president of gender equality

As part of its commitment to gender equality in the workplace, lab and classroom, the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST) has hired Dr. Machi Dilworth as the new vice president of gender equality.

Dr. Dilworth will help establish policies and procedures throughout the institute that encourage more women to pursue science careers by cultivating a culture of career-life balance.

“I am confident you don’t have to sacrifice a life to be a very productive scientist or administrator,” Dilworth said. “But you have to have the support from the employer. The institutional culture has to be there.”

Dilworth brings considerable experience in science policy and management to OIST, having worked for more than 30 years at the National Science Foundation and United States Department of Agriculture directing large competitive research grant programs.

She also has a unique perspective of academia in both Japan and the United States. She grew up in Tamano, a small port town in the Okayama Prefecture of Japan, and attended the International Christian University in Tokyo. She earned a PhD in plant biochemistry and physiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

After a several years working as a researcher in the U.S., she moved into science policy, where she found she could contribute to the advancement of science by overseeing public funding of research and research education programs.

As part of her job at NSF, Dilworth served as a science and technology attaché in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 2007 and 2010. During that time, she worked with a consortium of Japanese scientific associations that are spearheading efforts to encourage more women to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) careers. She hopes to reconnect with this grassroots effort in her new capacity at OIST.

Dilworth retired from NSF in 2012 to the Big Island of Hawaii, but couldn’t pass up the chance to contribute to a young, innovative university in her native country. She noted that her career benefited greatly from a similar women-in-science campaign in the U.S. “I feel like this is an opportunity where I can repay what I received,” she said.

By Laura Petersen

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