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WiSE Launches Pilot Career Preparation Program
Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) has developed a new pilot program for women of color in STEM sophomores and juniors at the University. The Career Preparation Program (CPP) aims to provide these students with opportunities and resources for developing a roadmap for academic and career success.
Sixteen students (called CPP associates) were selected from self or faculty nominations in September for the 2020-2021 pilot. Jazmine Richardson, an associate studying biotechnology and African American studies, says, “I decided to participate in CPP because I knew this program would strengthen my professional skills and interpersonal skills while joining such a supportive group of women! Since joining this program, I have learned more about myself and my peers, and I look forward to what the next few months bring!”
CPP associates attend WiSE events that foster early career preparation and skill building, as well as networking with peers and mentoring from graduate students and faculty.
For example, multiple associates attended the WiSE Women of Color in STEM event with Professor Charisse L’Pree on Oct. 8 that included helpful strategies in how to advocate for oneself in professional and personal settings. Building community and a strong sense of belonging in STEM are also key CPP components.
Associates will receive a certificate and small stipend in late spring/summer upon completion of five credits (obtained through program attendance), and submission of an early portfolio package for faculty review.
The CPP format is based on the successful WiSE Future Professionals Program (WiSE-FPP) for women graduate students in STEM, offered since 2007. This year, WiSE-FPP has its largest cohort with 55 participants.
Dawn Johnson, chair of higher education and associate professor, serves as lead faculty advisor for CPP and WiSE Women of Color in STEM programming.
“As we enter our sixth year, we are excited to offer women of color the opportunity for deeper engagement with WiSE Women of Color in STEM, particularly as the pandemic prompts new ways of engaging with students. Research on women of color in STEM indicates that they are less likely to receive career support and mentoring, which intensifies the isolation and discrimination they often experience in their majors,” Johnson says.
“CPP creates opportunities for women of color to build community and a sense of belonging as they develop academic, professional, and interpersonal excellence. Mentoring by graduate women of color in STEM is a critical part of the program so the CPP Associates have support and encouragement from people who relate to their experiences and model how to pursue graduate study in STEM. CPP builds on long-standing WiSE partnerships with faculty and many offices on campus to retain and empower women of color in STEM majors,” she says.
For more information about CPP, WiSE Women of Color in STEM, and other WiSE initiatives, please visit suwise.syr.edu or contact Program Director Sharon Alestalo and Program Support Coordinator Amanda Latreille at firstname.lastname@example.org.