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Best-selling author to speak on poverty, motherhood at materials science and engineering seminar

Stephanie Land

As part of the Micron School of Materials Science and Engineering seminar series, Stephanie Land, the New York Times best-selling author of “Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive,” will be speaking on campus at 10:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, in the Simplot Ballroom of the Student Union Building.

The title of Land’s talk is “Unflinching Writing About Poverty and Motherhood.” The presentation may seem like an unexpected departure for an engineering seminar series with other topics ranging from nanoscale technology to battery durability. But Will Hughes, director of the Micron school, explained that “because engineers are trained to solve problems, we have an opportunity – a responsibility – to address significant challenges that are locally relevant and globally significant. In order to do this responsibly, we must see beyond ourselves to see the world.”

This mission extends beyond the classroom for Hughes and many other engineering faculty. In fact, the American Society for Engineering Education recently awarded Boise State’s College of Engineering the bronze award for its 2019 Diversity Recognition Program. The bronze award was the highest level that was conferred during 2019 and distinguishes colleges who are among the nation’s leaders in inclusive excellence.

“Engineering has a historical tendency to be designed by, and for, dominate groups. This dated design reinforces an insidious pattern of being exclusionary – not by intent but by neglect – of women, underrepresented groups and the poor,” said Hughes. “Our hope is that our invited speaker, Stephanie Land, will help challenge our assumptions by giving a voice to a socioeconomic group we conveniently don’t see or understand.”

The College of Engineering’s dedication to diversity and inclusion empowers all of its students and faculty to break down the historical barriers that divide while creating the solutions for the world’s critical challenges.

“My hope, is that if we do our part, and follow the lead of experts on our campus and in our community, others will follow,” Hughes said. “Only then will our narrative about inclusion and diversity on campus, and specifically in engineering, transition from words we share to actions we live by.”

Stephanie Land, penned her memoir “Maid” after escaping an abusive relationship and working as a maid and single mother support herself and her daughter. It chronicles her time as a domestic, making only minimum wage, living in a homeless shelter, and fighting to pull herself and her daughter from poverty.

Land describes her book, saying “Even though MAID is just my story, I hope that readers will start seeing the millions of single parents, domestic workers, and those who are working so hard to make ends meet in spite of people calling them lazy or even thieves. I hope that changing those stigmas is part of my story, the part of our story, that lasts.” To learn more about Land, and “Maid” visit her website:

To read an interview in NPR about her experience, use the following link; 

Admission to Land’s talk is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a book signing. Tickets can either be picked up at Materials Science and Mechanical Office in the Ruch Engineering Building, Room 338, or tickets can be requested by emailing