WISM to encourage women in fields of science, mathematics

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

Women in Science and Mathematics and Mentoring for Minorities in Mathematics and Sciences will be sponsoring an event to empower minorities and women in the various fields of science 6 p.m. Wednesday at 7th Street Underground.

Anabela Maia, an anatomy and physiology professor, said every spring they provide a new topic and subject to discuss; this year’s topic centers on how to mentor women in these fields to make them successful in a career they may feel underrepresented in.

Maia said this year’s presentation is by Beate Averhoff, who is a professor at the University of Frankfurt in Germany who has a degree in microbiology.

Maia said women in fields of science typically have challenges related to a lack of representation. She said some women may not feel as if they can pursue a career in those fields because of a psychological barrier they may have. She said the same could be said about minorities in the science fields.

Women make up 19 percent of undergraduate students in engineering fields, according to the National Science Foundation 2011 data.

Maia said the barrier tells the women that they cannot do jobs in science, engineering and other related fields.

One of the stereotypes is that women are bad at math, which forces them to stress into becoming good at the subject and that can actually prove to be more harmful on their results, Maia said.

“It’s a misconception,” Maia said “We will do everything we can to empower the next generation.”

She said knowing the opportunities they have available are some of the ways they can overcome and be more marketable.

Maia said the goal for the event is to expose minority students and women to their opportunities and get insight on a possible career as well as educating more girls into the fields of science.

“We’re trying to get those girls and tell them that it’s OK to learn those jobs,” Maia said.

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].