Women in Chemistry (WIC) is a group of graduate students dedicated to making the Chemistry Graduate Program at MIT more fun and fulfilling for female graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
Achievements of the 2016-2017 Academic Year
In 2017, Women in Chemistry (WIC) has been found success expanding existing programs and continuing to serve women in the department. WIC hosted a variety of events furthering their stated goals of mentorship, outreach, professional development, and community building. Additionally, WIC was honored at the 2017 Graduate Women of Excellence ceremony.
Mentorship is important to limit the attrition of women within Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields, therefore WIC has a mentorship program where all incoming female graduate students are paired with an older graduate student in their division. In 2016, the program was extended to support and prepare students for their second-year oral exams. 2017 Mentorship events included a writing workshop before second-year oral presentations and care package delivery to orals candidates. Additionally, WIC continues to hold quarterly mentorship socials and an annual mentor/mentee dinner.
WIC’s mission is to foster equality and embolden women in our department, at MIT, and in our community. This years’ outreach events included preparing multiple meals for On the Rise, a women’s shelter in Cambridge. On the Rise relies on donations for the women’s’ lunches and WIC was able to contribute by cooking and delivering fresh food. Additionally, a group from WIC helped sort food for the Greater Boston Food Bank. WIC also ran a booth at the MIT Museum and Akami’s Chemistry Science on Saturday which drew over 1,000 attendees! WIC also hosted their 2nd annual “Scientist for a Day” day camp for middle school girls, expanding attendance by 30%. Due to the continued success of the middle school day camp, WIC plans to expand the event further in order to accommodate the growing wait list and are developing a program for high school student outreach.
WIC also has a strong focus on the professional development of the women in the department. The group supports leadership and scientific conference participation with their Women’s Professional Development Grant. WIC continues to hold monthly professional development lunches. Invited guests for the lunches include female faculty members from MIT, liberal arts colleges, and community colleges to help members understand academic career options. Additionally, lunches with MIT administrators help members navigate MIT and provide feedback on their lived experiences. WIC and WiXII also teamed up to host a career panel discussion and networking event. In the fall, WIC hosted their first alumnae networking event for current members to form connections with local MIT Chemistry alumnae. They plan to continue working with the local alumnae community and have appointed a new board position for alumnae relationships.
In 2017, WIC hosted several social events to help build ties between women in the department. They invited all female staff members in the department to a lunch with WIC members in appreciation for their work. Additionally, WIC hosted several outings including their annual apple-picking trip and a New Year social at the start of the spring semester for all graduate students and post-docs in the department.