Pipeline: Vols for Women in STEM is an organization of students, post-docs, faculty, and staff dedicated to advising the Commission for Women* at the University of Tennessee on important issues relating specifically to the recruitment, status, representation, and retainment of women in the sciences, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields at the undergraduate, graduate, and faculty/staff levels at UTK.
By bringing together people from STEM fields where women are typically significantly underrepresented (i.e. engineering, physics, computer science) with those fields where they generally have more equitable numbers (i.e. ecology, nursing, psychology), Pipeline strives to foster an all-inclusive and diverse community that will allow for new, interdisciplinary relationships to form, promoting the free exchange of ideas from differing perspectives to expand the conversation and initiatives surrounding these issues on campus.
Women in the U.S. currently earn, on average, 41% of the doctoral degrees in STEM but only account for 28% of the tenure-track faculty positions and 23% of industry professional positions. Additionally, these women hold fewer leadership positions and are paid less in salary than their male counterparts for doing the same work. And these numbers are significantly worse for other minorities in STEM. Studies have shown that these discrepancies are not due to girls not being as interested in STEM as boys are, or that they don't have the same spatial skills or willingness to work hard, but instead it's due to outdated cultural norms, gender stereotyping, and fewer necessary support mechanisms.
*The Commission for Women (CFW) is a body appointed by the Chancellor of the university to advise on the planning, implementation, and evaluation of university programs, policies, and services designed to improve the status of women on the Knoxville campus of the University of Tennessee. Current initiatives, goals for this year, and more information about the Commission can be found here.
- Create a line of communication between undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and campus leadership to address women in STEM issues on campus
- Promote the recruitment and retainment of women in STEM fields at every level
- Bring recognition to the diverse research being performed by women at all levels in STEM here at UT
- Lead a positive discussion on campus and make a sustained effort to include a diverse audience to help raise awareness about the issues women face when pursuing careers in STEM and communicate how everyone can take action
- Offer a system of support and mentorship to women in STEM fields across campus
- Support and partner with existing STEM student organizations on campus to foster collaboration and sustainable programming
- Provide a forum for individuals from different scientific backgrounds to ally with one another for community engagement, academic support, and social activities while accumulating professional leadership experience
Goals for AY 2017-2018
- Create a community and conversation to disseminate information about topical areas listed below at monthly meetings, events, and socials
- Expand our Mentoring Program to include meetings with post-docs and faculty to encourage communication and provide a supportive community across campus and career levels
- Host the 4th Annual Women in STEM Research Symposium to highlight the breadth and caliber of research being conducted by women researchers here in Knoxville
- Establish a new Intersectionality Committee to encourage dialogue on campus that explicitly acknowledges the unique experiences of all underrepresented groups in STEM including but not limited to, women of color, different ability, socioeconomic status, gender identity, sexual orientation, political perspective, nationality, and/or religion
- Continue to collect data within our Data & Statistics Committee across all STEM departments including those often left out of the conversation like nursing, psychology, kinesiology, etc. to better understand what the distributions and conditions are like here at UT
- Support the graduate women in STEM community by connecting them with post-docs and faculty mentors and by hosting monthly social and professional development events organized by our WiSTAR3 Committee
Focus Areas for Group Discussions