There is currently a national movement to involve more women in the science and engineering fields. South Dakota School of Mines and Technology is encouraging its female students to connect with one another through the Women and Science and Engineering, or WiSE program. The school held an open house for the new WiSE Center.
The new WiSE, Women in Science and Engineering, Center is tucked into a building on the School of Mines and Technology, or SDSMT, campus. The walls are covered with images of women through history and science themed murals painted by the school’s art club.
WiSE is a peer mentoring program that encourages women to build a support system and stay enrolled at SDSMT. The center hosts group activities such as art therapy and speaker series.
Lisa Carlson is the Director of the WiSE program.
“It’s really important for women students to connect to each other and have a space where they can come and hang out and do homework together, figure out problems together, attend small events, meet and mentoring cohorts, and then hear from women speakers across the community and in STEM fields,” says Carlson.
Carlson says female students have taken ownership of the center in the few months it’s been open. She says it connects them to WiSE resources and staff members.
“It’s really important for women to connect with other women and sort of visualize real mentors in the field so they can overcome the barriers that are there form women in STEM. So this is a place where they can see that there are other women going through what they’re going through. And they can lift each other up and build each other up and then forge those connections that are going to take them through their time here at Mines,” Carlson says.
The WiSE Center has a list of events planned for the remainder of the semester including conversations on women in the media and a gingerbread construction contest. Events are open to students and faculty at SDSMT.