NerdScholar, a website that tries to help students make the best decisions about their higher education, recently featured UMass Amherst on its site as one of the nation’s “Best Mentoring Programs for Women” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
“We were very impressed,” says Laura Pereyra, a communications analyst for San Francisco-based NerdScholar. She manages the team’s outreach and marketing efforts to students, universities and other educational organizations. She adds, “We had to include UMass Amherst. NerdScholar aims to help students maximize their higher education and featuring programs like yours is important for our female audience looking to break into the STEM field.”
“All the programs we chose had to have a dedicated program to developing women in STEM leadership. Additionally, they had to demonstrate efforts in hosting mentoring workshops or happy hours. Lastly, we felt that your program actively provided networking resources like lectures and luncheons,” Pereyra says.
The website tells readers: “Young female students at UMass Amherst can take advantage of the CNS Women in Science Initiative. Its main goal is to develop a coordinated set of resources and programs to encourage women’s success in the STEM field. UMass Amherst is already home to many mentoring programs but they still want to help teach their students how to take advantage of them. For example, they hold mixers with panelists talking about the pros/cons to joining a mentor group. They want to make sure that if young women decide to get mentored they know how it can benefit them and how it can help them expand their endeavors.”
NerdScholar says it uses quantitative analysis and research to identify the best scholarships, financial literacy advice and tools for student consumers. Results have appeared in the New York Times, Businessweek and Forbes. The service also won a grant from the College Knowledge Challenge funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to build a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) tool to help first-generation and low-income students.