Whenever we bring up the lack of representation of women in STEM careers were are often asked:
“Why should I care?”
The under-representation of women in STEM is a detriment to everyone in STEM fields and our nation as a whole. The United States' global industrial advantage is based on the technological innovation and creativity of its population. Institutional bias in STEM fields reduces the size of the nations innovative workforce and limits its intellectual diversity. To remain competitive as a country we will need to address the gender gap in science, and find ways to counteract it.
The absence of women in STEM careers is not due to a lack of interest or participation. Women are pursing STEM graduate degrees at record rates. Fifty-six percent of all biological science Ph.D.s and postdoctoral fellowships are awarded to women. However, subtle gender bias, and accumulated instances of discrimination at each step of training and professional development can set women back relative to their male colleagues.
PGWISE aims to correct this disparity by through a combination of community outreach and career development training. Recruiting and retaining women in STEM is a tangible way that we as graduate students can change the culture of science and education at the University of Pennsylvania and beyond. We use our passion for research to help foster an interest in science among girls early in their educational careers, while cultivating a community at Penn dedicated to facilitating the advancement of female graduate and post-doctoral trainees.
Ultimately we hope to create an environment at Penn and nationally where women are given the opportunities to be successful in their chosen fields, facilitating the growth an innovation of our country as a whole.
PGWISE Executive Board
Alex is a third year graduate student in the Cell and Molecular Biology program at Penn. She is interested in addressing the under representation of women in STEM careers, as well as using domestic and international policy to perpetuate science funding for future research.
"I have been fortunate enough to interact with a multitude of amazing female scientists throughout the course of my career. Each mentor took the time to foster my development as a scientist. The least I can do is repay that kindness by helping to encourage the next generation of female scientists to pursue their goals."
Contact her - firstname.lastname@example.org
Sydney is a third year graduate student within the Cell and Molecular Biology program at Penn. She is passionate about improving equality of opportunity in education, and through PGWISE aims to help young women gain confidence in themselves to think big and work fearlessly toward whatever goal they choose.
"As I've continued in my education, I've realized how lucky I was to be surrounded by people who never let me get intimidated by a challenge and instead told me 'Yes, you can.' I don't think any young person should question whether or not they are good enough to pursue their goals; through scientific outreach, I want to be that vote of confidence and support for anyone who needs one."
Contact her - email@example.com
Co-Chair of Academic Affairs
Ruby is a fifth year graduate student in the Biology department at Penn. She studies how environmental stresses regulate cell-cell signaling in plants. Her scientific interests involve learning how plants adapt to challenges in natural soils, in order to learn more about the cell biology of plant signaling and the agricultural implications of stress-resistant crops.
Her interest in PGWISE stems from a desire to see the retention of confident female scientists, and a greater representation of Latina scientists. She wants to provide female graduate students with the resources and environment to achieve whatever careers they dream of pursuing.
Co-Chair of Academic Affairs
Rochelle is a third year graduate student in the Cell and Molecular Biology program at Penn. Her research focuses on the downstream signaling events that regulate cell polarity, polarized cell movement, and metastasis.
She is passionate about promoting women in science, building confidence in women, and mentoring young girls who are interested in STEM careers.
Chair of Finance
Elisabet is a third year graduate student within the Cell and Molecular Biology program at Penn. She is interested in combining her work with bacteriology and public health to combat antibiotic resistance in the developing and developed worlds. She is drawn to PGWISE because of her strong belief in mentoring and the advancement of women in STEM.
Chair of Operations
Stephen is a fourth year student in the Cell and Molecular Biology graduate group at Penn. He studies basic coronavirus biology and virus-host interactions. He has an educational background in international affairs so he is also interested in the global public health burden of infectious disease, and exploring interdisciplinary interventions to controlling the spread of viruses. He is passionate about ensuring the current generation of female trainees does not face the same obstacles as previous generations, and strongly believes that the paucity of women in STEM is a detriment to science, scientists, and society.
"I have worked both for and with too many brilliant women to think that the lack of women in upper levels of science is a benefit to anyone. I believe that PGWISE can start to build an infrastructure at Penn that will empower women to advance their careers and overcome entrenched, institutionalized obstacles along the way."
Sarah is a fourth year student in the Immunology Graduate Group at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on host-pathogen interactions with an emphasis on innate immunity. In her free time, she enjoys writing and producing multi-media that uses humor and topical references to facilitate and promote public engagement with science. Her interest in PGWISE stems from a desire to help women develop a confident voice with which to express themselves, promote themselves, and tell their stories.
Chair of Social Affairs
Jessica is a second year graduate student in the Bioengineering program at Penn. Her research interests include retinal imaging and the development of nanoparticles as contrast agents for cancer imaging. She aims to play an active role in creating and expanding networks and leadership opportunities for women in STEM through interpersonal interactions and social experiences. She looks forward to many happy hours with PGWISE!