In fall 1996, then Earth Sciences Chair, Cathryn Newton, along with the Directors of Women’s Studies, Diane Murphy and Priti Ramamurthy, first submitted a proposal for a Women in Science and Engineering program at Syracuse University. Although the proposal was not funded, they continued to work on the program over the next year. In fall 1997, the Senate Committee on Women’s Concerns recognized the scarcity of women faculty in the sciences, mathematics and engineering. Deans Bogucz and Jensen appointed Drs. Shobha Bhatia and Cathryn Newton as co-facilitators of the WiSE project.
During the next year, the two women researched similar programs at other universities and met with several female faculty members to begin forming the program. In the end, they decided on three key elements that WiSE would focus on:
- Increased recruitment and retention of women faculty in sciences, mathematics, engineering, and computer sciences.
- A campus-wide lecture series that would bring distinguished women in these fields to Syracuse University.
- An advising and mentoring program where female faculty assist students beginning research projects in the lab or in the field.
The current WiSE Program is an outgrowth of the initiatives of these visionary women.
Key Goals of WiSE
- Positively impact persistence in STEM for undergraduate women through an emphasis on research.
- Support professional development, degree completion and/or career preparation for women graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
- Increase resilience, support advancement and improve career and personal productivity and balance for women STEM faculty.
- Build a strong community and social network for women in STEM.