2018 in Review: Women in Chemistry (WIC)
Women in Chemistry is dedicated to making the Chemistry Graduate Program at MIT more fun and fulfilling for female graduate students and postdocs.
In 2018, Women in Chemistry (WIC) has focused on 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.
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. 2018 Mentorship events included 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. 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 hosted their 3rd annual “Scientist for a Day” day camp for middle school girls, expanding attendance for the second year in a row. 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 is continuing t host their first alumnae networking events for current members to form connections with local MIT Chemistry alumnae.
In 2018, WIC hosted several social events to help build ties between women in the department. 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.