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ASU's WiSTEM Club: Empowering women in science and beyond

The Women in STEM (WiSTEM) club champions the careers of underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, offering support, networking and leadership opportunities


"One of the most impactful and fulfilling events was when our club had the opportunity to present science experiments such as elephant’s toothpaste at Geneva Epps Mosley Middle School, a school located within 5 minutes of ASU."

The Women in STEM (WiSTEM) club at ASU is pioneering essential initiatives for women and other underrepresented minorities in the realms of science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Their dynamic platform propels its members toward innovation and leadership in STEM fields, supporting a transformative community and forward-looking aspirations.

Core mission and evolution

Myka Williams is a junior studying biomedical sciences and the treasurer of the WiSTEM club.

"The Women in STEM club at ASU aims to provide members with resources and service opportunities to succeed in various fields encompassing science, technology, engineering and mathematics," Williams said in an email. "Its core mission is to uplift women and other underrepresented minorities throughout their academic and professional endeavors."

The club's efforts enhance students' educational journeys and prepare them for impactful careers in their respective fields. By fostering an inclusive environment, WiSTEM empowers its members to break barriers and achieve excellence in STEM areas traditionally dominated by other demographics.

"WiSTEM supports women, those who identify themselves as women and any underrepresented individuals by providing them with professional development events where they can learn to write and finesse their resumes and CVs," Williams said. "We also host speakers from various STEM disciplines to provide our club networking opportunities."

Ritisha Das is a senior studying mechanical engineering and the President of the WiSTEM club at ASU. She joined the club virtually in 2020 as a freshman.

"I ... wanted to create an organization that provided a safe space for the underrepresented gender minorities of STEM," Das said in an email. "Very often, there are a number of societies that are dedicated to specific STEM disciplines, but there are few organizations that encourage cross-disciplinary discourse. This was our solution to instill both friendship and collaboration between women and gender minorities of all STEM disciplines."

Das's efforts highlight a pivotal shift towards inclusivity and multidisciplinary collaboration within the STEM community at ASU, emphasizing the club's commitment to creating a network and a supportive and diverse community.

Support for aspiring STEM professionals

Ulia Lopatin is a senior studying biological sciences and neuroscience, as well as the Outreach Director of the WiSTEM club. According to her, the club's approach to supporting its members is multifaceted. 

"WiSTEM provides professional development opportunities for its members, such as resume workshops, volunteering events and networking with STEM professionals to help members reach their academic and professional goals," Lopatin said in an email.

This underscores the club's dedication to academic achievement and personal growth. To aid women's journeys in STEM fields, WiSTEM employs supportive networks.

"WiSTEM works to address and overcome challenges by encouraging an open dialogue among our members," Williams said. "One of our future plans is to host round-tables, where we are able to facilitate thoughtful conversations centered around hot topics in STEM."

Conversations and dialogue may help to facilitate change and identify gaps in current knowledge.

Membership and inclusion

"Be an ASU student, and that is all we require," Das said. "We know how busy students/women in STEM are!"

This highlights WiSTEM's broad and inclusive approach, emphasizing that the club welcomes all who share its values.

"Our mission focuses on empowering women and other underrepresented minorities at ASU, and we welcome anyone with whom our mission resonates," Lopatin said.

Impactful opportunities and programs

The club is also dedicated to extending its influence and resources beyond the campus. It aims to inspire the next generation of STEM enthusiasts and ensure that opportunities in these fields are accessible to all.

"We offer a variety of events focused on preparing members to pursue professional opportunities (internships, research, graduate school and medical school), on volunteering and collaborating with local community partners, and on bringing together members of the community at ASU to foster life-long connections," Lopatin said.

This comprehensive approach enhances both professional and personal growth.

"I am starting InnovatHERS … an outreach program, leveraging the resources of ASU's Women in STEM to reach middle and high school students at under-funded schools," Das said. "I am facilitating school visits with talks meant to demystify college for girls / non-binary youth, emphasize accessibility and feasibility of STEM for all children and engage their interest through live demonstrations of science experiments."

"One of the most impactful and fulfilling events was when our club had the opportunity to present science experiments such as elephant's toothpaste at Geneva Epps Mosley Middle School, a school located within 5 minutes of ASU," Williams said. "Watching these children be so captivated by a science experiment was something that I will never forget. As someone who did not have much exposure to STEM when I was their age, I would have loved to have done this."

This experience highlights the joy and excitement of sharing knowledge and underscores the profound impact that early exposure to STEM can have on young minds.

Future directions and long-term goals

Looking forward, WiSTEM has no plans to slow down. 

"Some of the long-term goals for the WiSTEM club would be to continue our EmpowHER Summit, which provides our members with various panels, networking opportunities and the ability to present their own research," Williams said.

"We are excited to continue hosting the EmpowHER Summit annually," Das said. "It's a comprehensive event that allows women and gender minorities of all STEM backgrounds at ASU to share their work in a professional cross-disciplinary setting."

Clubs like WiSTEM are instrumental in challenging the existing biases in STEM fields. Through their initiatives and consistent support, WiSTEM at ASU is a vital source of empowerment, education and support for women and minorities, fostering a community that transcends academic disciplines.

Edited by River Graziano, Walker Smith and Grace Copperthite.

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