Background

The trends for women in the fields of science and technology have been disconcerting. Despite the fact that women make up more than 50% of the population, the number of women pursuing technical disciplines is alarmingly small. The numbers vary with discipline (e.g. fields like biology and psychology attract women in higher numbers than fields like engineering and physics), but we are seeing a drop off of women pursuing graduate degrees in all disciplines. Similar trends exist for people of the traditional affected groups (i.e., people of color and certain heritages).

TWIST was formed by a group of volunteers in 2000 to address what UMass Amherst and the Five College Community can do to reverse that trend where we can make a difference. There are a number of programs and activities already underway that TWIST is committed to complimenting. But the fact is that we can create an environment within our own community that will support and encourage women who are pursuing technical disciplines. As such, TWIST has endorsed the following vision:

To encourage women to pursue, and support women who are pursuing careers in technical disciplines

TWIST is overseen by a Steering Committee that works to:

  • Enable students to create communities by providing visibility and seed funding
  • Be the voice of technical women’s issues to the administration and faculty
  • Establish industry links to provide role models and funding
  • Provide visibility to the issues by organizing periodic high profile events
  • Monitor progress of TWIST initiative through data gathering and analysis
  • Support existing mentoring initiatives
  • Include Five College community where appropriate
  • Maintain this web site