Even though women get more college degrees than men and are successful in all kinds of careers, there are still certain fields and majors that are considered “boys’ clubs.” Few women choose and graduate in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
There have been many attempts (some more questionable than others) to get women excited and interested in careers in STEM fields, but a new project called “Women in Technology Sharing Online” (WitsOn) has recognized that showing girls in pink lab coats is not the way to go. The key to successfully nurturing young talent in any field is mentoring– connecting students with successful role models who can give them advice, answer questions that go beyond the curriculum, and guide them throughout their career.
WitsOn created an online community mentorship program that supports female students who pursue undergrad degrees in STEM fields. The program is a collaboration between Harvey Mudd College and the social learning platform Piazza and aims to bring together female mentors and young women. The goal is to create an environment in which the students can get a clearer picture of what it means to have a successful career in STEM fields. Most of all, it will help young women network and build a community in a field still dominated by men.
Over five hundred women from 36 universities and over 60 different companies are going to act as mentors and give advice, answers, and support. So far more than 10,000 undergrad students have already signed up or were enrolled by their teachers. The program starts on October 1 and will be online for six weeks, until November 9.
WitsOn has no curriculum and there are neither exams nor credit points. It will be the perfect environment to connect and interact. The organizers have no doubt that the program will be a success and could potentially expand to graduate or post-graduate students in STEM fields.
Photo courtesy of Phoenix College