WISER, The Women in Science and Engineering Roundtable, is an all-female group on campus that strives to create a learning community for women pursuing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medicine) majors and careers. SLJC recognizes and awards the members of WISER for their success in building a strong community of women scholars and their outreach programs, as well as promoting leadership and confidence within members.
SLJC asked WISER president Ashley Han some questions to learn more about the organization.
Q: How many students are in WISER? What types of majors do they have?
A: “[Currently], 1,104 users subscribe our student listserve. This year we have had 295 students of all years sign-up, including approximately 220 first year students… WISER students all have majors in STEM disciplines. Many of our students are double majors and also have minors. Majors include: [fields of engineering, natural sciences, mathematics, accounting and many other fields that are very science-based]. Second majors and minors include [a variety of interests, such as music, foreign languages, humanities, theater, science-based fields and more]. WISER students are also pre-professional for dental, medical and pharmaceutical studies.”
Q: Please share some information about the Peer Mentoring Program and the Professional Mentoring Program.
A: “The WISER Peer Mentoring Program pairs first- or second-year WISER students with WISER upperclassmen or graduate students in a similar major or field of study. Mentors or mentees will get to know a student with similar interests and offer support or learn from their experience. It is a great way to ease the transition to college, help solidify future career and educational goals and make new friends. The WISER Professional Mentoring Program pairs WISER upperclassmen with a professional in their field of interest. This provides our students with a head start in their professional networking experience and the professionals offer them support and advice in a mentoring role. We are currently in the process of transitioning the Professional Mentoring Program into a Professional Externship Program to provide our upperclassmen with a firsthand experience in a professional setting.”
Q: How does WISER promote leadership in its members?
A: “We foster leadership by hosting workshops such as Professionally Polished and Etiquette dinners. In addition, we encourage the participation of WISER students by inviting them to executive board meetings and supporting them in their running for a leadership position. Our outreach programs in working with middle school students and in the community encourages them to be a good role model and play a leadership role as they help groups of students in their experiments or design.”
Q: What outreach activities/programs does WISER hold for CWRU and the community?
A: “WISER was awarded a grant by the COSI [Center of Science and Industry] in Columbus to partner with the Cleveland Botanical Garden to introduce sixth grade girls from underserved communities to the fundamentals of engineering and design disciplines through the Geo-Bread House Program. This past semester, we have volunteered at the Global Cardboard Challenge at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, Spooky Science Night at the Great Lakes Science Center and will be continuing our outreach at Girls Go Science at the Great Lakes Science Center. WISER’s international outreach program, SEVA, serves to support an underprivileged public school in Bangalore, India through a non-profit organization called Sounjanya Sevashrama (SEVA). WISER also participates in Relay for Life. In the past WISER has held After School Girl’s Science and Engineering Club at local underserved middle schools. In addition, WISER has annually hosted Introduce a Girl to Science and Engineering Day. Due to challenges, we will not be hosting these outreach activities and events this year.”
Q: How can students become involved with WISER?
A: “During orientation week, WISER attends various events such as the [Undergraduate Student Government] students’ activity fair, international student orientation, and the resource fair to promote WISER. At the beginning of the year, WISER hosts an annual kick-off meeting for new members of all years. All of our events are open to WISER students, including [the] general body meeting, professional panel discussions, info sessions hosted by the Career Center or companies such as Swagelock, study sessions at the Coffee House, outreach activities, Chocolate Chats and other special events that vary by semester. We advertise these through weekly newsletters sent to our listserve, announcements in the Flora Stone Mather Newsletter, WISER Facebook page, The Daily, TV screens in various buildings and our webpage. New students are always welcome and our organization continues to expand as our members bring friends and new students to these events.”
Part of our mission in SLJC is to recognize those student leaders and groups that use their talents to promote growth in our community. The Student Leaders of the Month and Student Organization of the Month Awards are our way of celebrating the wonderful people and groups at CWRU. Keep an eye out for future awards. Know someone or a group that deserves to be awarded? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
SLJC is a group dedicated to creating a community among student organizations and student leaders. We work with the Office of Student Activities and Leadership to provide resources, support and recognition so that our community will grow.