In recent decades, women's overall participation in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields has steadily increased, and women play an ever-increasing role in advancing their respective fields. However, women are still underrepresented at advanced academic career stages within many STEM fields and face unique challenges as they pursue their career goals.
Pipeline: Vols for Women in STEM and WISTAR3 are initiating an informal small-group mentoring program amongst early-career women in STEM at UTK. In this program, graduate students pursuing STEM degrees (Master’s or PhD) will be matched with peers in more advanced career stages (post-docs and other early career professionals including research associates, instructors, or similar) to receive mentoring, encouragement, guidance and support.
- Expand professional networks and develop a sense of community with fellow women in STEM.
- Freedom to discuss possible topics such as but are not limited to:
- work-life balance
- overcoming implicit bias
- dealing with discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace
- general career advice
Using responses to a brief google survey, we will match graduate student mentees with an appropriate post-doc mentor, such that groups of 4-8 mentees will share 1-2 mentors.
Time commitment and structure
- Each mentor should be able to commit to serving as a mentor throughout the 2017-2018 academic year.
- While it will be up to each group to make decisions about meeting plans, we strongly encourage each group to meet at least once per month throughout the academic year.
- Groups are encouraged to meet in informal settings (i.e. courtyards, coffee houses), and can choose whether to structure their meetings around set topics or to simply pursue informal discussion of issues that face women in science and math.