The WE-STEM (Women at EWU STEM) Symposium took place at Eastern Washington University earlier this spring, prior to the COVID-19 restrictions. The purpose was to celebrate Women’s History Month by bringing together women and girls who are interested in STEM fields, and discuss the difficulties women face in the sciences but also empower them. The event was open to everyone, so that all voices could be heard.

The planning committee included faculty and staff members of the various departments of the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM) at Eastern, and the WiSE club.

WE-STEM Symposium, March 6-7, 2020.

The event started with David Bowman, dean of CSTEM, who welcomed the participants. The keynote speaker and EWU alumna, Rebecca Long, gave an inspirational speech describing her journey in the sciences and presenting the lives of women in the sciences who inspired her. The first day closed with a networking session.

The second day started with a poster session, where students, faculty and community members had the opportunity to present their work and learn from the work of others. Concurrent sessions of oral presentations of students, faculty and community members on research in various fields of science or about women in the sciences followed. Andrea Castillo, Zoë Romero Becker, Taryn Wilson and Alison Walker were the panelists for two, back-to-back panels on the problems women face in the sciences and career advice.

After lunch, different groups led breakout activities. Participants were able to walk around eat liquid nitrogen ice cream, take an implicit bias test, create jewelry and solve riddles in an escape room. The event closed with the educational matinee of Silent Sky, a production of the School of Theater at EWU based on the story of Henrietta Leavitt, a female astronomer.

Overall, the event was a success and the planning committee would like to thank all the volunteers, participants, donors and EWU for the monetary support, as well as the College of STEM and all of the university departments and offices that helped make the event a reality.

Planning Committee:

  • Margaret Cox (Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics)
  • Janelle Jenkins (Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics)
  • Amber McConnel (Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics)
  • Ashley Lamm (Chemistry, Biochemistry and Physics)
  • Emma Oaks (WiSE Club)
  • Christi Oliveri (CSTEM Dean’s Office)
  • Viktoria Taroudaki (Mathematics)
  • Jenifer Walke (Biology)