UND Women in Science and Graduate School co-sponsor panel on graduate student experience

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News Article

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University of North Dakota


The University of North Dakota Graduate School and the recently formed campus organization UND Women in Science (UND WIS) will host a panel later this month about what it's like to be a graduate student.

The event starts with a social at 3:45 p.m.; the panel takes place 4 p.m. – 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 19, in the Red River Valley Room, UND Memorial Union. The event is free and open to the public.

"We're really excited to announce this first of three panels we're sponsoring," said UND WIS founder and President Korey Southerland, a McNair scholar who's majoring in political science and environmental geography and minoring in mathematics. "Our first panel will involve graduate student women across campus talk about their stories, struggles, and successes as women in science graduate students. However, though this event seems focused on graduate-level women, I believe it is important for all graduate level and undergraduate level students to attend."

"A part of being successful in college is knowing about what your peers are thinking about, what makes them want to be academic successes, and what they are passionate about," said Southerland, a native of the Minneapolis area and among the first in her family to go to college. "This panel will give everyone the chance to learn what graduate-level women are thinking about and the experiences they have had. As an undergraduate woman who is currently applying to graduate school, I see this as the perfect time to learn more about the experiences I may have in graduate school and what it feels like to be a woman in science seeking a graduate degree."

UND Women in Science Vice President Lisa Burnette, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, emphasized that the goal of this and future UND WIS-sponsored panels is "to showcase the incredible scientists we have all over campus and provide an opportunity for people to meet and interact with each other."

"We want to encourage everyone to reach out and make connections because it will be those types of connections that will help a scientific career blossom," Burnette said.

The panel is mainly targeted at undergraduate students who are thinking about going to graduate school and the graduate school process, according to UND WIS Secretary Victoria Maneev, a first-year master's degree student in counseling psychology.

About UND Women in Science:

UND Women in Science (UND WIS) is new this year to the campus. It kicked off its inaugural season this past April 27. UND WIS founder and President Korey Southerland, a senior majoring in environmental geography and political science and minoring in mathematics, said Women in Science at UND is first and foremost a student group. Southerland says men are welcome, too.

Dr. Gretchen Mullendore, an Atmospheric Sciences faculty member and UND WIS faculty advisor, sees UND Women in Science as a place where women can network and mentor and support each other in dealing with both general and specific issues relating to their professions, their careers, and their personal goals and objectives.

A key goal of UND Women in Science is to encourage women to mentor each other.

"Mentorships and personal connections are at the heart of what our group is trying to provide," said Lisa Burnette, UND WIS vice president and a third-year Ph.D. student in microbiology and immunology. "We want women at all stages of their scientific careers to know that they are not alone and we strive to provide them with a chance to connect with people that can provide constructive answers to problems that plague us all. Someone has survived it before and you just need to find them to get your answers."

UND Women in Science--with both student and faculty executive boards comprising women from several science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) career tracks--is open to anyone in any major, or any faculty or staff interested in this opportunity to encourage women in STEM areas.

"UND Women in Science is a great addition to our campus," said Dr. Steven Light, professor of political science and public administration and associate vice president for academic affairs. "It extends UND's mission and the Exceptional UND vision to enrich the student learning experience but also to enhance the quality of life for faculty & staff through creating networks.

UND Women in Science also "spotlights the need to support and enhance STEM disciplines, and perhaps more importantly, to support and make more intentional our pipeline for women into science," Light said.

"It's very important that our grad programs be seen as accessible and desirable for women undergrads," Light said. "It's also important to create and develop a network for women undergrads interested in connecting with women faculty and graduate students. All of this brings us into the national conversation on these types of issues."