Women @ Tandon: Propelling Women in STEM Forward

This initiative aims to increase inclusivity and change the culture of STEM industries

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Students attending an engineering event.

 

At NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, the community of faculty, staff, and administrators strive to create a supportive environment for women in STEM. That is where Women at Tandon (W@T) comes into play. This initiative, spearheaded by Assistant Dean for Opportunity Programs Nicole Johnson, constitutes one of Tandon’s largest efforts to promote gender inclusivity among engineering students.

Every year, W@T members identify new ways they can help recruit and retain female students interested in STEM careers. And with nearly two dozen programs, services, and activities designed exclusively for women in STEM—ranging from precollege educational sessions to summer research opportunities—the W@T committee has been hard at work cultivating the next generation of engineers.

A female student working in a communal workspace at NYU.
A prototyping boarding sitting on a table with many wires connected to it.

So What Kind of Programs Does W@T Offer?

W@T equips women STEM students with the resources they need to succeed both in the classroom and in the world. For current students, some of their programs and initiatives include:

WoMentorship Program

Through the WoMentorship Program, first-year and sophomore engineering women are assigned a junior or senior mentor. Together, they grow both socially and academically as Tandon students. Mentors and mentees meet one-on-one during the semester to talk about school or whatever is on their minds. They also attend social activities, academic programming, and professional development events together.

“I love having a mentor,” says Francesca Pellerito. She is currently a Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering major at NYU. “My mentor is an amazing human being who is always guiding me in the right direction. She’s introduced me to some amazing opportunities at NYU so that I could become more involved in the community. I’m very grateful to be a part of the WoMentorship Program. I’ve developed so many new life skills because of it.”

Male Allies

Discussion-based workshops. Male ally panels. And the “We for She” checklist—a document detailing principles of male allyship. These are some of the initiatives of the Male Allies subcommittee of W@T, which develops programs for male-identified students. Their goal: teach them how to support women in STEM and, ultimately, show them how they can help transform the culture in their industry.

Society of Women Engineers

The Society of Women Engineers (SWE) at NYU is part of a larger global network. Their top priority? To advocate for women pursuing careers in engineering and technology. According to NYU’s SWE copresident, Shahrin Haque, SWE hosts not only networking events with industry representatives and résumé-building workshops but also professional events to help members prepare for jobs, internships, and engineering conferences. In addition to the professional events they host, SWE also holds more casual events to help students relax from their studies. “Going to an engineering school can get overwhelming very quickly,” says Shahrin. “So we try to give our members the opportunity to de-stress and paint or munch on baked goods whenever possible.”

A group of students wearing shirts that represent the STEMinist club.

Closing the Gender Gap in Engineering

These programs and organizations only encapsulate a small portion of W@T’s efforts to support women in STEM. They also host a Women’s Summit. They award research fellowships. And encourage the creation of student clubs like STEMinist, Women in Business and Entrepreneurship, and the Association for Computing Machinery-Women.

By developing initiatives to welcome and support women in the classroom, the W@T committee helps close the STEM gender gap one day at a time.

“As a minority woman in engineering, it was easy for me to fall into the trap of imposter syndrome because a lot of my professors and peers were male,” says Shahrin. “Since Dean Jelena Kovačević joined Tandon in 2018, I feel like there’s been a greater push for supporting women in STEM and teaching everyone what it means to be an ally. Through the support and exposure NYU has given to women in STEM, we’ve made a huge step in the right direction.”