Focus Is on Empowering Educators to Recruit and Retain Women in Free, Online Conference

SAN FRANCISCO, April 2, 2015 — Community College educators will learn how to recruit and retain more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) when they attend “The STEM Success for Women Telesummit.” The virtual event will be held online April 13-16. The entire conference is free thanks to support from the National Science Foundation.

“The telesummit will help educators – particularly those in community colleges – close the gender gap for women and girls in technology,” said Donna Milgram, Executive Director of The Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS). “This is a can’t-miss event for educators who are serious about enrolling up to 25-50% female students in their STEM programs and ensuring high retention rates for their female and male students.”

The material is geared primarily toward community college educators from STEM programs. The information will be beneficial to administrators, instructors, professors, counselors, advisors, curriculum developers and outreach staff.

The conference will also appeal to STEM educators from all other grade levels (from secondary to four-year universities) as well as women and STEM groups.

“It’s time to increase the number of women in STEM through data-driven strategies with demonstrated outcomes that actually work,” said Milgram — a nationally-recognized expert on women and STEM — who is currently Principal Investigator (PI) of two National Science Foundation (NSF) projects working to assist STEM educators in broadening participation of women. “Our speakers will share case studies and best practices to boost recruitment efforts and help female students succeed.”

STEM educators will benefit from the telesummit if they:

– Have tried to recruit female students and found their efforts haven’t worked.
– Have limited time and want to ensure their recruitment efforts are effective and efficient.
– Finally recruited one or two female students – only to have them drop out.
– The male retention rate also needs improvement.

The telesummit features 11 experts who will speak for an hour apiece. Some of the key speakers and their topics are:

Chandra Brown, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing from the U.S. Department of Commerce, will discuss how the gender gap for women in manufacturing is hurting innovation in the U.S. and what can be done to close that gap. Ms. Brown will share up-and-coming career options in the manufacturing sector and spell out why it’s so important to have women working at all levels in the industry. She’ll also draw on her own years of private sector manufacturing experience to explain why manufacturing is such a great career option for women.

Dr. Elizabeth J. Orwin, Professor of Engineering and Department Chair at Harvey Mudd College will show how her school graduated an engineering class of 56% female students. Participants will learn what changes her engineering program made to the curriculum of introductory courses to increase the number of female students getting engineering degrees. They’ll also find out how her department used female role models and increased confidence levels of female engineering students.

STEM Education expert Professor Mary R. Anderson-Rowland of Arizona State University will show the strategies she used to achieve an average of 40% female enrollment and a 90% graduation rate for two STEM Academic Scholarship Programs she directs. Her programs have an emphasis on under-represented minority students with unmet financial need, but still have higher completion rates than students overall.

Professor Barbara DuFrain of Del Mar College will talk about how she was able to increase female enrollment in her introduction to computer programming classes by 62%, and improve female and male retention by 45% in less than a year. Participants will learn the classroom retention strategies that worked right away.

Dr. Charlie McDowell, Professor of Computer Science at UC Santa Cruz, will explain how he has dramatically increased retention of female and male students in computer science courses. Over 46% of female students who participated in his introductory undergraduate computer science courses declared a computer science major compared to 11% of female students in a control group.

To register, go to Recordings will be available for people who miss a live session.

About The Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS)

Since 1994, The Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS) has helped educators nationwide close the gender gap for women and girls in technology. IWITTS is the only national organization whose sole mission is to provide educators and employers with the tools they need to encourage women to enter and succeed in careers where they are under-represented. IWITTS’s solutions include research, professional development, publications, technical assistance, and outreach and marketing products.