WISDM, the Women in Innovation and STEM Database at MIT, celebrates the first anniversary of its digital launch on Monday, March 8—International Women’s Day. In celebration of the occasion, and of the tremendous growth of the WISDM Community, MIT Innovation Initiative (MITii), which manages the platform/community, is pleased to announce the WISDM Fellowship Program.
WISDM promotes the visibility of women in our academic community, increases gender diversity in innovation and entrepreneurship, and makes it easier to find talented and diverse speakers for various events. MIT Postdoc, AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassador, and WISDM Founder Ritu Raman, in partnership with MITii, applied for and was awarded a $10,000 AAAS IF/THEN® Ambassadors Grant for public engagement with science activities that teach, inspire, and promote the next generation of women in STEM. With this funding, WISDM launched a fellowship program for scientists interested in improving their public speaking capabilities.
“When I had the opportunity to apply for the grant, I immediately thought of WISDM as a great community of women who could benefit from professional development resources supported by this funding,” states Raman. “We all know from experience that the most impactful role models are often highly effective communicators. The WISDM Fellowship program will help women leverage their scientific expertise by combining it with a formalized speaker training program with The Story Collider, and will also financially reward women for speaking engagements via honorariums. This new program is important to me because it reiterates the core philosophy of WISDM: women’s expertise and time are valuable assets, and we need to make diverse voices a part of every conversation in STEM.”
Through the WISDM Fellows application and review process, 20 exceptional women were selected to participate in the program.
“In my family, storytelling has always been important,” says WISDM Fellow/Dept. of Nuclear Science & Engineering grad student, Erica Salazar. “Every holiday season, my family gathersat our annual tamalada (where we make tamales) to tell stories. It has the powerful ability to bring us closer together when we are apart most of the year. Storytelling is another medium to engage an audience to absorb abstract or difficult concepts in a personal way. I am honored, through this fellowship, to learn how to harness storytelling methods to create a personal bond with others—and particularly, to engage young girls and kids in STEM.”
Since its digital launch last March, the community has grown to 135 members, and the platform has received over 16,000 pageviews from more than 9,000 unique users in 83 countries. current MIT graduate students, postdocs, technical associates, or research staff members who identify as a woman are eligible to join. Learn more about WISDM at https://innovation.mit.edu/wisdm/
The 2021 WISDM Fellows: