Dartmouth is one of 60 colleges and universities that have signed on to participate in WitsOn. A new pilot program, WitsOn, which stands for Women in Technology Sharing Online, provides an Internet forum for students to connect with female mentors in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
WitsOn supports the initiative Equal Futures Partnership (EFP), launched by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The United States, along with 12 other founding member nations and nine leaders from U.S. based organizations, started EFP with the goal for “women to participate fully in public life and to lead and benefit from inclusive economic growth.”
For six weeks this fall, WitsOn will contribute to EFP's mission by providing an online forum where students in the sciences can directly contact successful women in these fields. Students are encouraged to ask questions about careers, family, faith, and community. Mentors, who range in occupation from astronauts to university presidents to business executives, will be able to respond to these questions via video.
“This will be a great opportunity for Dartmouth students to get answers to their questions about balancing a career with other aspects of their lives,” says Margaret Funnell, director of the office of undergraduate research and advising.
Dartmouth’s Women in Science Project (WISP) was founded in 1990 to advocate for women and help create a learning environment in which women can thrive in science fields. Funnell says that providing mentorship has been a main goal of WISP, and that the WISP program MentorNet “connects students to mentors in engineering and the sciences and guides them through one-on-one e-mentoring relationship.”
Ten thousand students nationwide have already signed on to be a part of the WitsOn program, which will run from October 1 through November 9.