The College of Engineering hosted Women in Engineering (WIE) Week to highlight the value of female engineers and bring awareness to the extra challenges they face.
From Feb. 18-26, the College held daily events welcome to all students aimed at building community throughout engineering. These included a Green Dot training session, a panel about preparing STEM for women and a Society of Women Engineers (SWE) meeting.
Kicking off the week was the Green Dot training presented by the RSVP Center. This offered students different tactics to prevent power-based interpersonal violence (PBPV) — an issue that statistically affects women more than men. Green dots are made whenever someone does their part to proactively stop violence. The goal of the program is to spread as many green dots as possible until there are no more acts of PBPV.
Hilary Mueller, the Inclusivity Center director for the College, put on WIE Week and hoped that the sessions would resonate with students and faculty leaving them with something new to take away.
She said, “I really think that having a week like this creates visibility, and also helps show the importance of working to make STEM and the field more equitable and create greater integration and inclusion.”
On Tuesday, the Preparing STEM for Women panel was held with Engineering Dean Elizabeth Loboa, College of Education Dean Kathryn Chval and Dr. Terrell Morton. During this panel, attendees were able to discuss with professionals the struggles female engineers face and the overall diversity of STEM.
Loboa advocated for female mentoring at all levels whether that be in elementary school or in industry. Having encouragement helped her through school. Yet Loboa recognizes that the STEM world is just touching the surface of these barriers.
“We’re working on it, but we’ve got a ways to go. So while we’re on that path, are we doing everything in our power to make sure that every individual that’s here with us feels included and feels supported? That’s what is really important,” she said.
Then, coinciding with International Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day, SWE’s meeting gathered a crowd of about 25 young women engineers to discuss upcoming projects and mentoring opportunities. SWE is a campus student organization that provides a community for female engineering students to promote their successes and impact the community.
Mizzou’s chapter does outreach work at local elementary schools judging science fairs and doing STEM based projects encouraging girls to consider engineering. Vice President Elizabeth Henshaw credits SWE for why she’s so involved with the College and believes WIE Week is important so female engineers feel acknowledged.
“I think WIE Week just makes you feel appreciated. People go where they feel appreciated,” Henshaw said. “There are so many opportunities in this [organization], whether that’s getting internships or just feeling comfortable and able to follow your passion.”