Women in STEM (WiSTEM) was founded in March 2017 to combat the systemic gender disparity within science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and has become a powerhouse since then. As an entirely student-run organization, WiSTEM simultaneously empowers girls to pursue STEM and teaches them the leadership skills necessary to succeed. WiSTEM spans three countries, forty-four chapters, and over one thousand members, creating a strong coalition of girls who together help tackle the gap between the disparate number of feminine presenting individuals and men in STEM.
“By providing a platform for women around the world to share a passion, WiSTEM transcends stereotypes and opens doors filled with opportunities for girls like me.”- Kelly Wu, Prior Lake High School Ambassador
WiSTEM targets, mobilizes and activates high school students to pursue their passions in the field and works to pave an accessible pathway to a career in STEM. WiSTEM’s core initiatives include mentorship, networking, outreach, and worldwide collaboration. The mentorship initiative pairs our members with undergraduate and graduate women based on their STEM interests to offer them unparalleled first-hand guidance, from picking high school classes to overcoming setbacks. As part of our outreach initiative, chapters lead creative-based workshops and labs for elementary school-aged kids to spark their interest in STEM, regardless of their background. Additionally, WiSTEM has generated an established networking system, linking professionals and professors (from places like 500 Women Scientists, AmazonLab, Harvard, and Yale) and students to give feminine presenting people a tangible idea of what it means to be a woman in STEM. Their initiatives combined with the coordination between chapters and regions has produced an efficient and broad-band networking system that connects like-minded young women all across the world.
Through entrepreneurship, WiSTEM translates theory and discussion and into concrete action and quantifiable success. For instance, WiSTEM was the first-ever high school led team in the University of Chicago’s College New Venture Challenge. Founder and Executive Director Ananya Asthana worked with UChicago undergraduates to build WiSTEM’s business model. Out of the twenty teams selected to participate in the class, Women in STEM came in third place and received a $10,000 prize. WiSTEM will use the grant to provide more resources to their chapter, particularly those with less school support, and reinforce their leadership and networking platforms.
“The girls and mentors in WiSTEM inspire me because of the different ways they engage with STEM and help others. Thanks to WiSTEM, I know I have the collaboration and leadership skills necessary, as well as the confidence, to follow my passions wherever they take me.” – Hannah Davis, Director of Digital Media + Latin School of Chicago Ambassador
Change for girls from around the world is well overdue. Join WiSTEM in order to join the fight against gender disparity and give girls the support systems and resources they need to reach their full potential.