UMA Women in Science Coalition

Federal guidelines on non-discrimination prohibit restricting programs to one gender, so programs need to be inclusive.  Since "a rising tide lifts all boats," programs that benefit women benefit the campus more generally. This webpage provides background and information to keep informed about activities and resources for advancing women in science and to encourage participation and leadership in those activities. In January 2014, the AWIS-Amherst Coalition was formed in conjunction with the STEM Diversity Institute to enhance communication between the various women-in-science initiatives across the campus, make their activities more visible to the campus and other stakeholders in the region, and link their efforts to national initiatives.  Check out the common calendar; consult the resources listed in the references; and support activities organized by the member groups in the coalition, listed below. 
For more information, contact coalition coordinator Barbara Pearson, Office of Research Development (

AWIS-Amherst Common Calendar  |  References and Webinars | Events |Members

Member Group Representatives

*STEM Diversity Institute Sandy Petersen, (Barbara Pearson)
*College of Natural Sciences Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta, Wendy Varner
*College of Engineering
See also the Engineering Women's Faculty Forum (e-WFF, below)
Paula Rees

*College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and the *Institute for Social Science Research (ISSR)

John Hird, Laurel Smith-Doerr
*School of Public Health and Health Sciences Marjorie Aelion
*Commonwealth Honors College Dan Gordon
Isenberg School of Management Anna Nagurney, Shivani Shukla
*Graduate School Susan Roberts, Rachel Koh
Undergraduate Women in STEM  Martha Baker, Meaghan Molloy,Charlana Simmons
UMA Post-doc Association Lynn Richardson, Kara Powder, Leah Campbell
Research Faculty Ana Maria Salicioni
Women's Studies Banu Subramaniam, Alexandra Conrad
*Center for Teaching and Faculty Development Jung Yun
Four-College Group of Five Colleges, Inc. Jane Couperus (Hampshire College)
* = AWIS Partnership sponsor (coalition representative has email link)
AWIS Worcester MA Affiliate Group Natalie Farny (WPI)


Resources at UMASS Amherst  (or jump to "Resources in the Community")


STEM Diversity Institute (SDI)  

In many STEM fields, especially the physical sciences, math, and computer sciences, women at all levels add diversity.  The SDI runs a Forum series, where they discuss and develop solutions to problems that affect everyone on campus, but are most difficult for women and minorities (and even more, minority women).  One project of several projects for 2013, for example, was investigating the potential gender inequities in promotion to full professor. The SDI is the organizational home for the AWIS-Amherst coalition of groups working for women in science.   For more information, contact Director Sandy Petersen (


Association for Women in Science (AWIS) AWIS-Amherst Coalition.

UMass has an institutional partnership with the national organization--made possible by a coalition of the colleges of Natural Sciences, Engineering, Social and Behavioral Studies, Public Health and Health Sciences, and Commonwealth College, the Graduate School, the STEM Diversity Institute, and the Center for Teaching and Faculty Development.  Students (graduate and undergraduate) who are interested in issues of equity and full participation across all disciplines can sign up for a free annual membership on the AWIS site. Click this link and choose "collegiate representative."   A flyer describing the benefit can be found here.  

Check out the Massachusetts AWIS chapter, active in the eastern part of the state.  They are tied for the most active local chapter in the country.  They run numbers of activities, some of which you may find worth driving to join in.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW)
is a leading voice in the nation promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since its founding in 1881, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Check out its website for a timely blog and extensive funding opportunities for university women at all levels.

For more information about UMass Amherst's institutional membership, contact Associate Dean of the Graduate School, Susan Roberts.


The CNS Women in Science Initiative (WISI) focuses on increasing the success of women scientists at all stages of their academic careers.  WISI offers special programs and events and connects women scientists through campus organizations and community outreach and provides helpful off-campus resources for women scientists. As of 2014, Social Psychologist Nilanjana (Buju) Dasgupta is the CNS Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion.  For more information, contact Sally Powers, Associate Dean for Faculty and Research or Wendy Varner, AWIS-Amherst representative from CNS.


The UMass Amherst Graduate Women In STEM (GWIS) organization is committed to the professional and personal advancement of women pursuing careers in STEM and related fields. GWIS seeks to advance the standing of women in the science and engineering fields through outreach, mentoring and professional development initiatives. If you are interested in joining GWIS or asking general questions, email

Check out the excellent GWIS blog --which includes events, activities of interest, and summaries of GWIS initiatives.  You can also join GWIS on Facebook


In the College of Engineering, the Women in Engineering Programs were started in 1983 with a gift from GTE.  They include the Microsoft Center for Women in Engineering and Science and the student chapter of the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). In addition to a full calendar of events each Spring, SWE organizes an active mentor program that pairs freshmen and transfer students with juniors and seniors.  
     Engineering female faculty have formed the Engineering-Women's Faculty Forum, e-WFF, a mutual mentoring group. As of April 2015, they have a website and an email address.  Check out the news of these amazing women. (Contact M. Park if you have difficulty connecting).


The School of Computer Science participates in local and national women's initiatives. Women in Computer Research (CRA-W), spearheaded by Chair Lori Clarke, represents an alliance between CRA-A and the Coalition to Diversify Computing which implement and evaluate programs to increase female participation in computing research. CS Women at UMass Amherst, sponsored in large part by Yahoo, organizes events and mentoring initiatives, along with other professional development activities. 
      Other programs for broadening participation in computing and information technology, also housed in the School of Computer Science, are the NSF-funded Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE) at the state level and its follow-on project, Expanding Computing Education Pathways Alliance (ECEP) at the national level.
     The School of Computer Science is also a member of the National Center for Women and Information Technology (NCWIT), which works to correct the imbalance of gender diversity in technology and computing by creating resources, programs, and campaigns.  


STEM Family Travel Initiative (SFTI) Funded by the Elsevier Foundation New Scholars program, SFTI provides funding for the incremental cost of dependent care (child or eldercare) during professional travel.  Includes networking, education, and advocacy components to change reimbursement policies around these issues. SFTI is open to junior and senior women and men, but junior women are a priority category.  Between 2010 and 2013, the program facilitated 87 trips for 53 individuals: 1/4 of its beneficiaries were men--and their families. For more information, contact Coordinator Barbara Pearson, Office of Research Development ( Also, PI Maria Santore (PSE) and co-PI Bekki Spencer (psychology).


Science & Technology in Society (STS) Women and Information Technology projects involve cooperation with "pipeline" activities like CAITE as well as research initiatives, like sociologist Hannah Branch's supplement to CAITE exploring factors affecting performance in IT across gender and ethnicity, and political scientist Jane Fountain's Women in the Information Age (WITIA) explores ways women can help shape and construct the Information Age, not merely benefit as users of technology. 


Undergraduate Women in Science formed an interest group and became an Affiliate Group of AWIS in 2013.  Groups of fewer than 20 AWIS members can use the affiliate status to a create a connection to the national umbrella and use their resources and publications to promote the sharing of information, mentoring opportunities, and interaction with groups at other campuses or agencies.  Contact person is Meaghan Molloy of the iCons program.  

The UMass Amherst Post-doctoral fellows organized themselves into an informal organization for social and professional interactions.  One can follow their Facebook group or email them at

 The Four-Colleges Women in Science is a network of "point-persons" from each campus: Jane Couperus and Chris Cianfrani at Hampshire, Ashley Carter and Daryl Haggard at Amherst, Courtney Lannert at Smith, and Kathy Aidala and Renae Brodie at Mount Holyoke.  In Spring 2015, Smith College is organizing a speaker series, "She's a Scientist" with speakers (London, Dasgupta, and Hopkins in February, April, and May, respectively).  Their poster is at "Events".  The 4-colleges made a Five Colleges Women in Science facebook page, which invites members and posts from UMass as well.  Join it now.  (Contact Jane Couperus if you have difficulty finding it.)  


RSOs: Women and Minorities in Physics/ Ladies of Stockbridge/

Resources in the Community (local and national)

(Please send more information for us to add here to webmaster, BPearson.

TOOLS FOR CHANGE IN STEM --toolkits, references, presentations, etc. for advancing women in science.  If you only visit one website, let it be this one.  They have slide shows and videos that represent the latest data on women in STEM and can be used freely (with proper attribution) for your own programs and reports. A new feature is the "simulator" that estimates the cost of family friendly policies as well as the cost of not having such policies.  Major contributors are Mary Ann Mason, Head of the Graduate Division at UC Berkeley and the founder of their Family Friendly Edge Project and Joan Williams, Founding Director of the Center for WorkLife Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law. 

Girls Inc. is a national non-profit with programs for girls "Inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold." In 2013, and CNS Women in Science Initiative (WISI, above) created EUREKA!, an unusual collaboration to inspire and train girls 12-18, from underserved neighborhoods in Holyoke in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM).  Find out about its background and progress--and to see their video (!) at the WISI outreach webpage , or contact advisors Assoc. Dean Martha Baker, Outreach manager Jane Markarian, or faculty volunteer coordinator, Simi Hoque.

Dot Diva offers resources for high school girls, educators, and parents to create a new image of computing.

National Girls Collaborative Project (NGCP) brings together organizations throughout the U.S. that are committed ot informing and encouraging girls to pursue careers in STEM.

Girl Scouts



The NIH Working Group on Women in Biomedical Careers is a trans-NIH effort working to overcome barriers for women in science.  Its goal is to develop innovative strategies to promote entry, recruitment, retention, and sustained advancement of women in biomedical and research careers. The Working Group has sponsored national workshops on mentoring women in biomedical careers and best practices for sustaining career success.  It has a website with lots of helpful links and a place to sign up for their LISTSERV.
         Leaders are NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins and Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH) Director Dr. Janine Clayton.  The Working Group collaborates with all the NIH Institutes and Centers, recognizing that promoting and sustaining advancement of women in biomedical careers will require persistent attention.  (Amen)

MENTORNET is an e-mentoring program.  Since its inception in 1997, it has paired 32,000+ mentor-protege pairs.  Signing up for an e-mentor is open and easy, and as you will see from the website, it is an effective addition to every STEM student's mentor constellation.  It doesn't make sense not to join. Major sponsors are Google, ACM, and NSF.  (Find mentoring information and resources at the Office for Teaching and Faculty Development, mentoring resources website.)  

Check out the cool info-mercial that I first saw on the Mentornet site--on persistence in STEM.  Title is "The Power of Two" (i.e. mentor and mentee).   It's from a very talented animator at this website.  (midway down the page "Experience a Better Future" Mentornet). I've captured it in an mp4, but haven't figured out how to post it yet!! Email me for it.