DDCE Launches New Women in STEM Initiative
The DDCE is pleased to announce the launch of Women in STEM (WiSTEM) —bringing a wealth of educational opportunities to thousands of students participating in K-12 outreach programs.
“We are very excited to welcome WiSTEM to the DDCE,” says Dr. LaToya Smith, vice president for diversity and community engagement. “Through fun, interactive campus events and educational activities, this initiative will inspire more girls and young women—our next generation of world changers—to pursue STEM degrees and careers that can lead to groundbreaking discoveries and innovations.”
Tricia Berry, who has served as director of the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Women in Engineering Program (WEP) for more than two decades, has moved to the DDCE to lead WiSTEM, bringing 25 years of experience and expertise to the students she serves. She will be joined by her longtime colleague Ana Dison, who will serve as student programs director.
“This move recognizes the expanding presence of women in STEM across the university,” says Berry, who worked in the WEP office as it was founded while she was a chemical engineering student at UT in the early 1990s. “It also works to fulfill the critical need to educate and expose students to transdisciplinary, holistic experiences that increase sense of belonging, STEM identity, and STEM self-efficacy.”
In collaboration with the Cockrell School of Engineering, the Jackson School of Geosciences, the College of Natural Sciences and other campus partners, WiSTEM provides hands-on, culturally relevant STEM experiences to diverse groups of students, encouraging the pursuit of STEM majors and careers. The initiative is the new home for these award-winning programs from the Cockrell School of Engineering’s Women in Engineering Program (WEP):
- Girl Day at UT Austin, a large-scale campus event celebrated during Engineering Week that gives elementary and middle school students, families and educators a chance to explore STEM through grade-appropriate, interactive activities;
- High School STEM Summer Camps, including in-person and virtual summer camps for rising high school juniors and seniors who have an interest in STEM;
- Texas Girls Collaborative Project, a statewide network that connects organizations, schools, corporations and individuals committed to informing and motivating girls to pursue careers in STEM. This includes the annual Texas Women and Girls in STEM Summit, slated for Dec. 10, 2021.
WiSTEM will also provide undergraduates with professional development and community-building opportunities including mentoring, leadership workshops, skills-building experiences and the annual Women in STEM Conference throughout Women’s History Month in March.