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

Indiana University has numerous initiatives and extracurricular activities dedicated to supporting female students and faculty in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

According to an article in IU News, the number of women enrolled in STEM programs on IU campuses increased by 35% from fall 2011 to fall 2021. According to the IU Office of Institutional Analysis, there was a 66% increase in STEM degrees , won by women in that same time period. Of these, 3,292 women graduated in biology, 2,864 in psychology and 1,147 in informatics. Other popular degrees include human biology and mathematics.

“I wouldn’t be where I am without Title IX,” Katie Sieck, the informatics chair at the Luddy School of Informatics Computing and Engineering, said in the article.

Title IX, an education amendment, was enacted in 1972 that prohibited discrimination based on sex, and therefore made higher education opportunities for women more accessible.

Siek said in the article that during her master’s and doctoral experiences, she still saw environments that didn’t always provide the same level of ease and comfort for women as they did for men.

Women in Computer Technology

She, along with organizations at IU, strives to empower female students and faculty working in STEM fields. Siek helped found the Women in Computing group along with Kay Connolly, interim associate vice president of the Office of Research Development, Beth Play, Luddy professor of computer engineering, and Suzanne Menzel, former Luddy professor of computer science.

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The group, comprised of diverse faculty, graduate and undergraduate students at IU Bloomington, works to recognize and promote women in technology. Its goal is to increase the number of women in tech fields, according to its website.

The Women in STEM Living-Learning Center

According to the article, the Center for Living and Learning Women in STEM, another additional resource, hosts about fifty students in the Wells Quad. Any female student is welcome to apply to the center, regardless of major, as long as she meets two requirements. The student must 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 must also enroll in a one-credit seminar course in the fall semester of her freshman year to familiarize herself with STEM career choices and important professional development skills.

“The best part of life on the floor is the sense of community that is easily created between the girls. It’s a very comfortable living situation,” Rebecca Fish, a computer science major and treasurer of Women in STEM LLC, told the website. “I also appreciate that everyone understands the job search for STEM majors, so learning and working on the floor is easy.”

Center of Excellence for Women and Technology

The Center of Excellence for Women and Technology is another program that works to help women learn more about technology and ways to apply related skills in careers, research and various collaborations. There are events every week, month and year, like the First Thursday booths, open talks and the Women in Tech Summit. The center also provides women with career and academic mentors, internships and community outreach opportunities.

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“It’s about building tech skills, getting women comfortable with them, giving them opportunities to try them out, and making it clear that technology touches every major and discipline,” Michelle Bartley-Taylor, the center’s director, said in the article.

Bartley-Taylor also talks about the Advocates and Allies for Equity program in the article. Through this initiative, male faculty explore and discuss academic cultures to promote women’s work and more effectively advocate for an inclusive environment.

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