The Association of American Universities (AAU) has selected Stony Brook University to receive an AAU mini-grant that will advance its newly designed Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) honors curriculum, which has been created for undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
The WISE program in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences offers educational and professional STEM opportunities for female students at all levels, as well as partnerships with academic and industry professionals by facilitating individual, institutional, and social change. The new undergraduate WISE curriculum requires coursework in society and gender, research, service learning, and leadership, as well as credit-bearing practicum in teaching, mentoring, research, and internship. It provides rigorous preparation for young women to pursue STEM careers, and it is the first of its kind in a research university in the United States. WISE Honors is the Flagship Program of SBU to promote women power in STEM and aims at becoming a national model that can be replicated at other institutions worldwide.
“Our students and faculty are engaged in comprehensive diversity and outreach programs designed to engage our students and the surrounding community and foster a life-long passion for STEM education and careers,” said Mónica Bugallo, Faculty Director of WISE Honors and Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “In fact, close to 200 middle and high school students participate in WISE initiatives each year and almost 400 students are enrolled in the WISE undergraduate program. Thanks to programs like WISE Honors, enrollment of women undergraduate students in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences alone has risen to 25 percent, the highest it has ever been and well above the national average.”
Made possible by a five-year, $1 million grant from the Northrop Grumman Foundation, the AAU mini-grants will help to create learning communities for STEM faculty members involved in reform efforts, to establish programs for training graduate students and undergraduate teaching assistants or peer advisors in active learning practices, to renovate classrooms into collaborative learning spaces, and to create inclusive and welcoming learning environments for all students. Funds will support curriculum implementation such as Research and Discovery in STEM laboratory rotations and Service-learning in STEM projects, as well as guest speakers for Society and Gender in STEM and Opportunities in STEM and Beyond courses.
“The programs we have in place targeting K-12 students, as well as undergraduate and graduate students at Stony Brook, are key building blocks in constructing a diversity pathway in STEM,” said Fotis Sotiropoulos, Dean, College of Engineering and Applied Sciences. “Embracing a variety of backgrounds, ideas, and perspectives makes our College stronger and fuels the innovation pipeline in today’s science- and technology-driven economy.”