Women may make up a small percentage of students and professionals in STEM fields, but a new student organization is trying to change that – starting right here at WVU Tech.
The Association for Women Engineers, Scientists, or Mathematicians Empowerment (AWESOME), is a new student group dedicated to supporting female students in STEM programs at WVU Tech and sharing STEM science with K-12 schools to get young students interested in pursuing these important fields.
“Joining AWESOME will allow students to assist in community outreach efforts to increase awareness of STEM fields within local area schools. We’re hoping that having future AWESOME outreach activities will assist in both the recruitment and retention of future generations of females into all STEM fields,” said Dr. Stephany Coffman-Wolph, assistant professor in the WVU Tech department of Computer Science and Information Systems and AWESOME faculty advisor.
Besides opportunities to participate in outreach programs, AWESOME student members will have a chance to work with WVU Tech faculty and industry professionals in mentorships, network with other STEM students, attend conferences focused on women in STEM and hear from guest speakers.
“Most importantly, we hope students will join AWESOME to have fun and meet others with similar interests,” said Dr. Coffman-Wolph.
The group’s first guest speaker, Millie Marshall, will address AWESOME at the group’s Mix & Minglekick-off event on Thursday, October 23 from 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. in the engineering auditorium.
Marshall, President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing West Virginia, has worked for Toyota since 1991, and oversees the company’s manufacturing plant in Buffalo, West Virginia, which produces automobile engines and transmissions.
“WVU Tech has a long-running relationship with Toyota here in West Virginia. They hire many of our students and are strong advocates for women in STEM fields,” said Dr. Winnie Fu, AWESOME advisor and assistant professor in WVU Tech’s Engineering Technology department. “Ms. Marshall is a shining example, right here in our backyard, of what women in STEM fields can accomplish.”
The Mix & Mingle is the group’s first big event, but students interested in joining the organization won’t have to wait until October 23. Find out how you can be AWESOME at the group’s first meeting this Friday, October 17 at 2 p.m. in Engineering, Room 201. If you can’t make the first meeting, or if you have questions about AWESOME, contact Dr. Coffman-Wolph.