A news item posted yesterday to the New York Times online and ran in the New York print edition today that has us really excited as we are constantly talking about the lack of women in tech/sciences and asking, “why, why, why?”. It centers on the October 1st launch of WitsOn (Women in Technology Sharing Online), a 6 week pilot program sponsored by Piazza and Harvey Mudd College that connects undergraduate students pursuing STEM degrees with prominent female mentors from industry and academia.
Hundreds of prominent women working in science, technology, engineering and math will become online mentors for college students next month, part of a six-week program to encourage young women to pursue careers in STEM fields.
“I think of this as a MOOC — a massive open online course — and a big mentor-fest,” said Maria Klawe, the president of Harvey Mudd College and a sponsor of the project. “Getting more women into STEM is my passion in life, and every institution that’s set up mentorship programs for young women has been successful at increasing their numbers, so I think this can make a real difference.”
The program has no curriculum, no exam, no grades and no credit — just a goal of connecting young students with accomplished women working in STEM fields. Prominent universities — including the California Institute of Technology, Cornell, the Georgia Institute of Technology, Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Princeton, Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley — have been quick to sign on, contributing mentors and publicizing the program to students.