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Women in STEM

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By Katie Hulce

Are you a female biology, chemistry, physics, computer science, or math major? Consider joining Women in STEM! I was able to chat with the club president Cassie Nooyen ’22 about the club and its goals.

Women in STEM is a group for females on the STEM track here at SNC. The goal of the group is to get to know each other and create a collaborative and dynamic environment in order to build friendships. The group also emphasizes mentorship; faculty members like Dr. Kissman, Dr. McVey-Pankratz, and Dr. Ochsner are a few of the group’s engaged mentors.

Women in STEM was created around two and a half years ago but unfortunately was put on pause when the pandemic hit and everything shut down. Ellie Welsch ’22 and Emily Johnson ’22 were the minds behind the idea to revive the initiative with a renewed emphasis on mentorship. The two approached Cassie and Leah Zimmer ’22 to keep the momentum going while both Ellie and Olivia studied abroad.  The group was able to meet with a variety of female faculty members last spring to strategize restarting the club and pinpointing ideas they had in mind. Now the club is back up in full swing!

The club will try to hold one event per month to keep the members connected. Last month’s event was an informational faculty panel discussion which was the perfect opportunity for students, particularly underclassmen, to get a bit more familiar with the faculty members faces on campus. Not only that, but it gave everyone the opportunity to ask questions about anything regarding classes and future experiences and opportunities. 

Mark your calendars! The next Women in STEM event is October 19th at 5:30pm at the SNC docks. where the group is planning a get to-know the upperclassmen picnic! The last event of the semester will be a relaxing movie night. It’s the perfect organization for even the busiest students!

I asked Cassie about what it’s like being president of this club alongside her other commitments which includes involvement in Chiara and the Computer Science Club. She stated, “It’s humbling.  Coming in freshman year I met my best friend in my computer science class, and without meeting her I probably would have dropped out of the major so I want to help provide other women in my program and other programs mentors to help them succeed. It’s an honor to be able to have underclassmen look up to me and feel like they can come to me for advice”. Cassie also told me that while being president is fun, being president of a club is mostly logistics; it’s being an active member that makes an impact on her.

Her favorite part about women in STEM as a whole is the amount of women there is at this school. She noted a mentor for her throughout her time at SNC has been Dr. Bonnie McVey-Pankratz. She has provided Cassie with an incredible example and has supported her when times are tough. This support mixed with additional support from the other females within her major plus from her roommate Katie, Cassie feels she has an amazing support system very near and dear to her heart.

Anyone and everyone is welcome in the club! Whether a woman in STEM or not, feel free to come and enjoy any activities they offer. The point of the organization is to raise awareness of the problems and hurdles women in STEM face. The mentorship bonds lean toward women in those majors but anyone, regardless of major or gender, is welcome!

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