Elon Women in STEM professional development program kicks off on Sept. 7

A pilot program in partnership with Accelerate Success supports female-identifying students in STEM majors through networking, mentorship and professional skills.

Female-identifying employees are underrepresented in many STEM disciplines — including computer science, mathematical and engineering fields. A new pilot program at Elon aims to correct this trend.

Women accounted for only one in four people working in computer science and mathematical occupations, according to a 2018 report by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. That same report found that only one in six working in architecture and engineering were women.

Two female students building a small, solar-powered electronic device and holding a large lamp over its sensor.
Students in EGR 1230 Grand Challenges in Engineering 2 test their prototype solar-powered water distiller using a lamp inside the Duke Robotics Lab.

Elon College, The College of Arts and Sciences is collaborating with the Student Professional Development Center and Accelerate Success to pilot peer-mentoring networks for female-identifying students in STEM disciplines: Elon Women in STEM.

The program is designed to develop mentoring relationships among first-year and sophomore students with junior and senior STEM mentors as well as professionals in the field. In addition to training and professional networking, students will engage in activities designed to assist them in preparing successfully for the job market and navigating early career transitions.

The program will kick off with an informational event on Wednesday, Sept. 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in Lakeside 212. Anyone interested in attending should register at this link.

Accelerate Success was created to recruit and retain women and female-identifying students in STEM and enable their potential after graduation. Its objectives are to build community, connect students with mentors and role models, and teach skills for professional success.

Terri Mitchell founded Accelerate Success after more than 30 years in the technology industry, retiring from IBM in 2018 as a vice president and integration executive. The decline in the number of women earning computer science degrees — from 37 percent in the mid-’80s to 18 percent today — spurred her to action. Mitchell is also a founding member of Triangle Women in STEM, which supports professionals in North Carolina’s Research Triangle Park, and a member of Elon’s Engineering Advisory Board.

Those with questions about the program can reach Mitchell at wins.accelerate.success@gmail.com.

Professional development programming opportunities also exist for students who are not female-identifying. To be connected with those options, contact Laurie Judge, senior associate director of career services, at ljudge2@elon.edu, or Gabie Smith, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences, at gsmith@elon.edu.