WiPS hopes to uplift women in STEM at UH
With women making up only 28 percent in STEM jobs, UH organization Women in Physics Society hopes to foster an environment to support and uplift women in the field.
WiPS-UH holds events, seminars, luncheons and networking sessions to help women in STEM have a heavier presence in academics as well as the workforce.
“The motto of our organization is MC^2, or Motivate, Connect and Construct,” said WiPS-UH president Ananya Mondal. “We serve as a central organization where women in physics and related areas from all career levels come together to discuss topics in the field and uplift each other in their career trajectories.”
Members of the organization conduct studies that could potentially have day-to-day impacts. For instance, some members are working with faculty members, looking at the origins of the universe.
“In my research, I study the phases of matter at extremely high temperatures and densities, which existed in the early universe a few microseconds after the Big Bang,” said faculty advisor for WiPS-UH Claudia Ratti.
Outside of working on studies and projects, WiPS-UH works to empower women in STEM for the future.
“In the past, we’ve visited high schools both virtually and in person to make kids excited about physics and aware of the opportunities that a physics degree can give them,” Mondal said. “We also are regularly organizing meetings, like lunches, to get together and touch base. And, we organize meetings with the incoming graduate students to introduce them to our department and answer any questions they might have.”
For this year, WiPS-UH is planning different networking events to talk through things like being a woman in STEM and how to make their workplaces more equitable.
“The number of women in STEM (grows) as we go higher and higher in career ranks. By starting out early, we want more women in physics at UH to have a community to fall back on and discuss any career issues, or doubts or share their achievements,” Mondal said. “We want to involve more people, irrespective of gender, to motivate more women in STEM and work towards a common goal of recruitment and retention.”
Students looking to get involved with the organization can find WiPS-UH on Twitter, via email or on their website.
“Any STEM women or men enrolled (at) UH can participate in our panels, outreach and workshops to help build this community,” Mondal said. “We encourage women who are seeking a physics community to reach out to us. We are always happy to speak to younger women about science and pursuing graduate studies.”