December 11, 2016
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Women's Conference Sets Attendance Record


BLOOMINGTON, IN - Indiana University scientists in training will present the fruits of their undergraduate and graduate research projects this Friday (March 4), at the 13th Women in Science Program Conference, an annual event that supports women who are considering careers in science, social science or mathematics. The posters will be on display in the Indiana Memorial Union's Alumni Hall from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. 

Women News, Minority News, Discrimination, Diversity, Female, Underrepresented, Equality, Gender Bias, Equality
Photo by IU Photographics
Eighty-five students presented their research to judges and IU community members at the Indiana Memorial Union last year

Attendance of the conference, which includes a poster and presentation competition, has grown steadily over the years. Last year's WISP conference had 85 student registrants, and organizers expect more than 100 participants this year.

"The conference has expanded to include more diversity among the presenters in terms of discipline, year of study, race, nationality and sophistication of the presentations," said Yvette Alex-Assensoh, dean of the Office for Women's Affairs.

First and second prizes, $100 and $75 respectively, will be awarded to the winning posters in each of six categories delineated by degree level (undergraduate or graduate) and subject area (natural science, social science, or mathematics and technology).

"There is a national initiative to increase the number women and underrepresented minorities in the sciences," Alex-Assensoh said. "The Women in Science Program, which has been around for over a decade, partners with other campus units to facilitate the recruitment, retention and success of female scientists and aspiring scientists on our campus. The WISP conference was developed to provide a venue for women to present their research in a supportive environment where expectations are reasonably high and judges provide one-on-one feedback that is both relevant and inspirational."

Posters are an engrained element of academic conferences, so learning how to create and present a proper poster is a useful lesson for future scientists and other scholars. Entrants in this year's conference were able to attend a how-to workshop if they had not constructed posters before, or had never before been expected to answer probing questions about their research in a public setting.

"Women who present at the conference report more confidence in presenting their own professional conferences, which is one of the goals of our program," Alex-Assensoh said.

What changes are in store for future conferences?

"We'd like to continue to improve both the scale and quality of the conference," Alex-Assensoh said. "In 2009, I founded ICAW, the Intercampus Coalition for the Advancement of Women. It is a network of female administrators at IU Bloomington, the other IU campuses, and Purdue. The next step is to entreat students on those campuses to participate so that women throughout the IU system have opportunities to conduct research, present it, get feedback and use those experiences as stepping stones to even greater success in science on a global stage."

The conference is sponsored by the IU Bloomington Office for Women's Affairs.


STORY TAGS: Women News, Minority News, Discrimination, Diversity, Female, Underrepresented, Equality, Gender Bias, Equality



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