November 29, 2022
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How IU is encouraging more women to be involved in STEM on campus

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Indiana University has multiple initiatives and extracurricular activities dedicated to supporting female students and faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematic subject areas.  

According to an IU News article, the number of women enrolled in STEM programs across IU campuses increased by 35% from the fall of 2011 to the fall of 2021. According to the IU Office of Institutional Analytics, there was a 66% increase in STEM degrees earned by women in this same time frame. Of these women, 3,292 of them graduated with a degree in biology, 2,864 in psychology and 1,147 in informatics. Other popular degrees include human biology and mathematics.  

“I wouldn’t be where I am without Title IX,” Katie Siek, the informatic chair at the Luddy School of Informatics Computing and Engineering, said in the article.  

Title IX, an educational amendment, was established in 1972 which banned discrimination based on sex and therefore made higher educational opportunities for women more accessible. 

Siek said in the article, during her master’s and doctoral school experience, she still saw environments that didn’t always provide the same level of ease and comfort for women as they did for men.  

Women in Computing 

She along with organizations at IU, are trying to empower female students and faculty working in STEM fields. Siek helped found the Women in Computing group alongside Kay Connelly, the interim associate vice president for the Office of Research Development, Beth Plale, a computer engineering professor at Luddy and Suzanne Menzel, a former computer science professor at Luddy. 

Related: [IU seniors’ HotDrop app chosen for Techstars 13-week acceleration program

The group, consisting of various faculty, graduates and undergraduates at IU Bloomington, works to recognize and promote women in technology. Its goal is to increase the number of women in technology fields, according to its website.   

Women in STEM Living-Learning Center 

According to the article, the Women in STEM Living-Learning Center, another supplementary resource, hosts about fifty students in the Wells Quad. Any female student is welcome to apply to the center regardless of major as long as they follow two requirements. The student should be interested and willing to learn more in various STEM-related fields such as engineering, computer science, informatics and or cognitive science. She should also enroll in a one-credit seminar course during the fall semester of her first year in order to get exposure to STEM career choices and important professional development skills. 

“The best part of living on the floor is the sense of the community that is easily created between the girls. It is a very comfortable living situation,” Rebecca Fisch, a computer science major and the Women in STEM LLC Treasurer said on the website. “I also appreciate that everyone understands the work demand for STEM majors so studying and working on the floor is easy.” 

Center of Excellence in for Women & Technology 

The Center of Excellence for Women & Technology is another program working to help women learn more about technology and ways to apply related skills in careers, research and various collaborations. There are events every week, month and year, such as the First Thursday booths, Candid Conversations and the Summit on Women and Technology. The center also provides women with career and academic mentors, internships and community outreach opportunities.

Related: [National diversity magazine recognizes IU’s work in increasing diversity on campus

“It’s about building technology skills, making women feel comfortable with them, giving opportunities to try it and clear acknowledgment that technology touches every major and discipline,” Michelle Bartley-Taylor, the center’s director said in the article. 

Bartley-Taylor also spoke about the Advocates and Allies for Equity program in the article. Through this initiative, male faculty explore and discuss academic cultures to promote women’s work and more effectively advocate for an inclusive environment. 





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