Ruth Mendum is the Associate Director for Gender Initiatives in the Office of International Programs, College of Agricultural Sciences at Pennsylvania State University. Ruth holds a PhD in rural sociology and women studies from the Pennsylvania State University. Ruth’s work focuses on gender integration in applied biophysical projects. In Eastern Africa, where much of her research occurs, she is interested in engaging scientists and grassroots community members to articulate and apply gender concepts that are culturally appropriate for the given context. She is a member of a team led by Mary Njenga that is working on biomass energy research in Eastern and Southern Africa as part of the Rural–Urban Linkages research theme under the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE). Ruth’s other primary interest is transdisciplinary research methods for solving complex international and local problems through understanding how outcomes produced by biophysical quantitative methods, social science mixed methods and humanities-based social theory can be combined to produce pragmatic solutions for improved agriculture and natural resource management. She has worked with plant breeders, water experts and energy specialists both in the USA and internationally.