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Online Mentoring Program for STEM Fields

WitsOn, where students can connect with mentors online to ask questions related to the challenges of pursuing a professional career in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM fields).

WitsOn (Women in Technology Sharing Online) is a pilot program sponsored by Piazza and Harvey Mudd College that will run for six weeks starting October 1. It's main objective is to connect undergraduate students pursuing STEM degrees with female mentors from industry and academia who can speak from personal experience about issues of particular concern to young women. Although originally conceived to help undergraduate female students, we anticipate that the discussion will be useful for all students regardless of their level or gender. Therefore graduate students and male students are also welcome to participate in this program.

WitsOn will connect students and mentors using the Piazza portal, which is accessible at https://piazza.com/witson. Thus far, the program has enrolled over 6,000 students and 300 mentors covering a variety of STEM disciplines. Therefore, this program, which has been recently highlighted in the New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/17/education/online-mentoring-program-to-encourage-women-in-sciences.htmlpromises tons of interesting debates, covering important topics both common and specific to the different STEM disciplines. More information about the program and mentors is available through the Piazza site (https://piazza.com/witson).

Students can participate in WitsOn either by posting questions to specific mentors, by participating in open discussions or by just simply reading questions/answers posted by others on the site. The program is free, but requires students to enroll. Students currently enrolled into Piazza (for other courses) can sign up for WitsOn directly through their website. Other students need to be nominated by a mentor. Dr. Maria Garcia-Garcia will be serving as a mentor on this site and can enroll students interested in this initiative. If you are interested in enrolling WitsOn, please send an e-mail to garciamj@cornell.edu indicating WitnOn in the subject (you will receive further instructions about how to enroll in your e-mail).