How IU is encouraging more women to participate in STEM on campus

Indiana University has a number of initiatives and extracurricular activities dedicated to supporting female students and faculty in science, technology, engineering, and math subjects.

According to an IU News article, from fall 2011 to fall 2021, the number of women enrolled in STEM classes on IU campuses increased by 35 percent. According to IU’s Office of Institutional Analysis, STEM programs increased the degrees earned by women over the same time period by 66 percent. Of these women, 3,292 earned degrees in biology, 2,864 in psychology and 1,147 in informatics. Other popular degrees include human biology and mathematics.

“I wouldn’t be who I am without Title IX,” Katie Siek, chair of informatics in Luddy’s School of Information Computing and Engineering, said in the article.

Title IX is an education amendment, enacted in 1972, that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, thereby making higher education more accessible to women.

Siek said in the article that during her master’s and doctoral studies, she still saw that the environment did not always provide women with the same ease and comfort as men.

women in computing

Along with IU’s organization, she is working to empower female students and teachers working in STEM fields. Siek helped create the Women in Computing group with Kay Connelly, interim vice president of the Office of Research Development, Beth Plale, Luddy’s computer engineering professor, and Suzanne Menzel, Luddy’s former computer science professor.

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Made up of a variety of IU Bloomington faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, the group is dedicated to recognizing and advancing women in technology. The goal, according to its website, is to increase the number of women in technology.

Women in STEM Living Learning Centers

According to the article, the Women in STEM Living Learning Center is another complementary resource, hosting approximately 50 students at the Wells Quad. Regardless of major, any female student can apply to the center as long as they meet two requirements. Students should be interested and willing to learn more in a variety of STEM-related fields, such as engineering, computer science, informatics, and/or cognitive science. She should also take a single-credit seminar course in the fall semester of her first year to gain exposure to STEM career options and important professional development skills.

“The best part about living on the floor is the sense of community that is easy to build among the girls. It’s a very comfortable living environment,” computer science major Rebecca Fisch and female treasurer at STEM LLC says on the website. “I also appreciate that everyone understands the job demands of STEM majors, so it’s easy to learn and work on the floor.”

Center of Excellence for Women and Technology

The Center of Excellence for Women and Technology is another program that helps women learn more about technology and ways to apply related skills in careers, research and collaborations of all kinds. There are weekly, monthly and yearly events such as the First Thursday Booth, Candid Conversations and the Women and Technology Summit. The center also provides career and academic mentorship, internships, and community outreach opportunities for women.

related: [National diversity magazine recognizes IU’s work in increasing diversity on campus]

“It’s about developing technical skills, making women comfortable with them, giving opportunities to experiment, and explicitly acknowledging that technology touches every profession and discipline,” Michelle Bartley-Taylor, director of the center, said in the article.

Bartley-Taylor also talks about advocacy and ally programs in the article. Through this initiative, male faculty explore and discuss academic culture to promote women’s work and more effectively advocate for an inclusive environment.

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