WiSE was a featured affiliate in the winter edition of the AWIS Magazine! Here’s the transcript from the article:
Why did you decide to start an AWIS affiliate group?
A group of women in science and engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU Boulder) connected in August 2014. The decision to join the AWIS network and become an official AWIS Affiliate Group came about a year after we formed our initial group. In that year, we had grown from 20 to 200 members, which made us realize that there was a pressing need for women at CU Boulder to connect to others in STEM fields. By becoming an AWIS Affiliate Group, we wanted to gain more exposure and recognition on the CU Boulder campus, as well as to become connected to resources and other groups across the country through the AWIS network.
What do you hope to achieve through this work?
We have multiple coals in our programming at CU Boulder. First, we hope to create a supportive community for women in STEM fields. Our organization reaches across many departments and institutes and provides a venue for women to connect with each other and share in their challenges and successes. Second, we hope to provide resources and training to increase the retention and success of female scientists throughout their careers. Many of our seminars are focused on offering career advice–topics range from how to become a better public speaker, to how to write an effective resume, to the issues surrounding starting a family in academia. We also run a coaching program that pairs female graduate students with mentors in the professional world (academia and industry). Our third goal is to increase the visibility of women in STEM and inspire younger generations to consider a career in the sciences. We help organize K-12 outreach events throughout the year, and highlight the success of our community members at a Science Communication Symposium each spring, which has broad attendance from across the university.
How do you capitalize on technology to promote your work in this space?
The CU Boulder AWIS team has an active online presence that allows us to increase our reach beyond the attendees of our events. Our website includes up-to-date information on events and opportunities, as well as blog posts spotlighting individuals’ research or work. We have vibrant social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with our networks continually growing. Our Facebook and Twitter feeds allow us to not only promote our own campus events, but to also share other groups’ related events and news items that are of interest to our community. We recently started a weekly “Scientist Selfie” series on Instagram, which allows us to increase the visibility of women scientists at work. Additionally, our primary communications (including once-a-semester newsletter) occur via our email list, which currently reaches over 400 campus members.