University sees significant growth in women in EMS
PLATTEVILLE, Wis – The University of Wisconsin-Platteville has seen an explosion of growth in women in the fields of engineering, mathematics, and science. In just the past five years, the number of women enrolled in the College of EMS has increased by 72 percent, and overall college enrollment has increased by 34 percent.
This growth can be attributed, in part, to programs like the Women in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science. With a goal to create a more diverse, competitive, and balanced workforce, the Women in EMS program has established a community within UW-Platteville to educate and engage students, parents, and all educators on gender diversity in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.
Kim Sargent, special programs manager for the Women in EMS program, attributes the growth to a combination of the many programs and events that are offered for both pre-college and college women.
“One of the focal points of the Women in EMS program is outreach for young women,” she said. “It is important that the young women are able to connect with other women in science, technology, mathematics, and engineering fields—including professors and college students,” said Sargent. “Women currently enrolled in the College of EMS will give tours to young women, and then they all have lunch together.”
“Engineers create, organize, and develop things for all of society, and we need different perspectives in a field that affects everything in life.”
–Kim Sargent, special programs manager for the Women in EMS program
Additionally, outreach programs such as Pioneering Your Future in STEM and Thermo Fisher Women in Engineering Career Day, allow female students at UW-Platteville to mentor middle school and high school women, while also teaching them about STEM careers. Over 265 women in grades 5th-12th have participated in these programs in the past year.
The Women in EMS Program also focuses on providing opportunities and support for current college students. For example, the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Living and Learning Community is a group of students that share a common interest in STEM and live together in an on-campus residence hall. Dedicated to helping women develop meaningful friendships and aid with the transition to college life, the WiSTEM LLC organizes networking events and social activities throughout the year. “This year we have 52 women in the LLC,” said Sargent. “We are starting to get a waiting list to get into the LLC.”
According to Sargent, the Women in EMS Mentor Program has also seen significant growth. In 2014, 64 students participated, but this year the number has risen to 106. The program matches freshmen and sophomore women with upper-class women in small peer mentor groups. The groups meet multiple times throughout the year and plan activities, attend campus events and programs together, and set professional development goals. "It's a great opportunity to network, get to know other people, and build confidence," noted Sargent.
“I want to make sure young women know about engineering, that’s one of the reasons I love my job,” said Sargent. “Engineers create, organize, and develop things for all of society, and we need different perspectives in a field that affects everything in life.”
Written by: Laura Janisch, University Information and Communications, 608-342-1194, firstname.lastname@example.org