Grad Student Group Awarded AAUW Grant

Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Front row, L to R: Katherine Quinn, Gwendolyn Beacham, Jocienne Nelson, Lorien Hayden, Michelle Kelley; Back row, L to R: Natalie Hofmeister, Aubrie James, Lauren McLeod.

The Cornell chapter of Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) has received a $5,000 grant from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) for its project Empowering Women in STEM to Lead Through Inclusive Practice and Community Building.

GWIS was first formed at Cornell in 1921 but had been largely inactive until a team of Cornell graduate students re-established the chapter last summer with the key goal of empowering undergraduate and graduate women to advocate for greater inclusion in the sciences. Group members include Katherine Quinn (president), Lauren McLeod (vice president), Lorien Hayden (treasurer), Gwendolyn Beacham (secretary), Jocienne Nelson (national liaison), Michelle Kelley (webmaster), Natalie Hofmeister (fundraising chair), and Aubrie James (communications officer).

The group's project, for which Sara Xayarath Hernández, associate dean for inclusion and student engagement is co-PI, aims to provide women with the tools to promote inclusion among scientists and increase the visibility of female mentors in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields through three key activities:

  • Facilitated, social justice in STEM-focused Intergroup Dialogue Project (IDP) workshops during which, through discussion and activities, participants learn to acknowledge their individual experiences, privileges, and biases, and address and confront issues that women and other marginalized groups in science often confront.
  • A mentoring program that pairs graduate and undergraduate women in STEM fields to form supportive relationships, staying in frequent contact through email and meeting in person at least twice each semester.
  • A series of bimonthly informal receptions for women in STEM fields across campus to build a sense of belonging and community.

The first IDP workshop will be held March 11-12, while the first mentoring session took place on March 1.