It was the mid-1960s and Nicholas “Nick” Donofrio G’71, H’11 described it as a “great time” for electrical engineers. They were in huge demand and the young graduate from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute took a job at IBM in Poughkeepsie, New…
Celebrating 20 Years of Women in Science and Engineering
Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE) is proudly celebrating more than 20 years of successfully serving female students and faculty in STEM at Syracuse University. Since its inception in 1999, the program was created with the vision of building a strong community of women in STEM and standing up for equity and inclusion.
WiSE has grown and evolved to meet participant needs, remaining a strong, interdisciplinary community–led and driven by faculty. The diverse programming and events offer women in STEM a variety of networking and learning opportunities, as well as support, encouragement and inspiration.
“WiSE is constantly evolving to best serve the needs of women in STEM at the University, from undergraduates to faculty,” says Katharine (Kate) Lewis, WiSE co-director and biology professor and department chair. “It is a vibrant community of scholars that helps support the STEM women on our campus to fulfill their potential and succeed in many different areas, strengthening the University’s impact on STEM fields and the world in the process.”
WiSE now serves a total of 19 STEM departments. In 2020, WiSE organized 70 programs and meetings for undergraduate and graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty. Sharon Alestalo, program director, says that “WiSE sustains a strong community of talented women in STEM where they have access to the knowledge, resources and mentoring they need to thrive professionally.”
In honor of the 20-year anniversary, WiSE staff sought to document the history and accomplishments of the program over the past decades. During 2020, Morgan Foss ’20 (Newhouse), joined the WiSE team as a student intern to work on the historical project. Foss researched and interviewed current and previous program participants and WiSE leadership and designed a booklet on the program’s achievements [PDF].
The booklet tracks the growth of WiSE programming and support, including the initial mission and WiSE founding members: professors Shobha Bhatia, Cathryn Newton, Eleanor Maine, Marina Artuso, M. Cristina Marchetti, Norma Slepecky and Karen Hiiemae. The booklet also includes information about WiSE faculty networks, postdoc opportunities, the WiSE Future Professionals Program, the WiSE Women of Color in STEM initiative and the Norma Slepecky Undergraduate Research Prize and Memorial Lecture.
“It has been an extraordinary journey for me to start and grow the WiSE program in the last 20 years with my amazing WiSE colleagues and supportive Syracuse University leaders,” says Bhatia, WiSE co-director and engineering professor. “No other university has a program like WiSE—bringing undergraduate, graduate, postdoctoral fellows and faculty together under the WiSE umbrella.”
To learn more about WiSE programming, events and news, please visit suwise.syr.edu.