On Friday, March 24, Women in Science and Engineering at ASU hosted their second annual WISE Gala at the Polytechnic campus – a formal night filled with fun as students from all of the ASU campuses were invited to celebrate women in science, technology, math and engineering. Students filled up the SDFC as they got to enjoy food, take pictures with friends and dance the night away.
President of WISE and senior studying technological entrepreneurship and management, Aarushi Bharti, said the club is designed to support women in the engineering environment since there is a minority of women in the STEM field. The WISE Gala is one of many social events that the club hosts that aims to bring women in STEM together to bond and celebrate the significant work they are doing.
"We also do this to celebrate HERstory Month in March, so it's a way to celebrate women in science and engineering on campus at ASU," Bharti said.
At ASU, Women's HERstory Month occurs during March and showcases different women's clubs and organizations on the different campuses to highlight the issues women fa ce in various academic fields as well as to elevate their stories and voices throughout the month.
According to the program coordinator and junior studying mechanical engineering systems Leah Stewart, planning for the event started back in January. The large event took a significant amount of time to arrange, from the streamers that took about four hours to put up, to organizing the catering, photo booth and setting up different games, such as cornhole and trivia.
Stewart was the vice chair of the HERstory committee on the Polytechnic campus last year, which she said was very nonexistent – since Polytechnic is mostly STEM majors, the campus is very male-dominated. This made the event being hosted on the Polytechnic campus in particular even more special to her.
"Having something like this really brings those women out to honor them and show that they are not invisible to the student body," Stewart said. "It also gives someone the occasion to dress up and really to honor the whole meaning behind the dance."
Stewart is usually the only female in her up to 60-person STEM classes, often taught by male professors.
"We're just as much here and we're proud to be here and we're wanting to show, celebrate and congratulate that," Stewart said.
Secretary Ananyaa Mahajan, a senior studying psychology, joined during her last year and identifies WISE as a great way to meet and support women in STEM through their social events, such as the gala.
"Regardless of your gender or your major, you can just make connections and have good conversations with people," Mahajan said.
Other than social events, the club also has professional opportunities for students. Last year, WISE went to their first conference in New York to network and build professional development skills, according to Bharti.
As WISE is a safe space for women, the organization likes to focus on self care for the students in the club, hosting a "Women in Leadership" panel last month. The event generated over 100 students, who had the opportunity to talk to five women in STEM about what it is like being in the industry as a woman.
Up next for WISE are elections, volunteer opportunities and self-care bonding activities for the club to enjoy, as well as for the larger ASU community who are looking to get involved and acknowledge the work and importance of women in STEM.
Edited by Sadie Buggle, Reagan Priest and Anusha Natarajan.