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Mentoring Women Students in STEM Disciplines at the Two-Year College Arminda Wey Mathematics Department Brookdale Community College Lincroft, New Jersey League of Innovations March 16, 2009 STEM : Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics Request for Mentors Math - Physics

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Mentoring Women Students in STEM Disciplines at the Two-Year College Arminda Wey Mathematics Department Brookdale Commu

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Mentoring Women Students in STEM Disciplines at the

Two-Year College

Arminda Wey

Mathematics Department

Brookdale Community College

Lincroft, New Jersey

League of Innovations

March 16, 2009

STEM: Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics
  • Request for Mentors
    • Math - Physics
    • Biology - Chemistry
    • Engineering
Teen Talk Barbie doll was introduced by Mattel in 1992 and came programmed with certain sayings, including "Math class is tough" and "Want to go shopping?
http www ericdigests org 2003 2 women html

Mentoring programs that help socialize students to SME fields are another form of support for women and minorities. The presence and guidance of peer or faculty mentors have been shown to positively affect retention (NSF, 1996). For women in the sciences, mentors help provide a support network that increases students' self-confidence and feeling of worth to the field (Goodman Research Group, 2002). 

Female students in STEM at Brookdale
  • Sciences: 54% of 519 students
  • Engineering: 8% of 191 students
  • Computer Science: 23% of 265 students
  • Mathematics: 15% of 34 students
  • Total enrollment: 14,642 students, 54.9% female
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doctorates http scienceblogs com cognitivedaily 2007 09 why arent there more women in php
w omen in e ngineering s cience and t echnology w e s t
Women in Engineering, Science and TechnologyW. E. S. T.
  • Initiated in 1994 through an NSF grant
  • Purpose:
    • Support and encourage women taking math, engineering, science and technology courses
    • Organize peer study groups
    • Provide mentoring of women students by appropriate faculty
    • Expose students to women working in exciting STEM fields
    • Provide information on careers, scholarships, grants, 4-year institutions, transfer, etc.
In Spring 2007, we received a Brookdale Innovation Grant.
  • To expand activities of the existing Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WEST) club at Brookdale, and
  • To establish mentoring relationships between female STEM faculty and members of WEST.
    • Found no similar programs
    • Sought guidance for our mentors
    • Input from the Douglass Project

at Rutgers University

      • Setting objectives and goals
      • Maintaining a paper trail

Sally Ride is important to me because she encouraged women to love science. She showed that women can do whatever men can do. She made a difference in my life since I’m a girl and women can do just as much as boys and men do. Also, Sally Ride is a great role model for people who have big dreams. I’m glad women like Sally Ride encourage girls like me to be whatever we want to. She is my hero! Written by Sofia from USA

June 18, 1983: First American Woman in Space

Astrophysicist Sally K. Ride becomes America's first woman astronaut,... She is active in mentoring women in science and technology.

Goals of the W.E.S.T. Math Mentoring Program
  • Establish 5 student – faculty mentoring partnerships
  • Engage students in college and professional related activities
  • Retain female students in chosen discipline
Goals continued…
  • Support programs and initiatives in STEM disciplines
  • Increase interest in STEM programs via student leadership and influence
Goals continued…
  • To provide students with a structured approach to develop meaningful relationships with College faculty and other program students
  • To assist students in forming a more positiveidentification within the College Community
Goals continued…
  • To motivate and inspire students through moral, intellectual, academic, and social contact that will contribute to their success through graduation and professional development
  • To promote student leadership development in the College Community.

Outcomes of first year:

    • 11 students had mentoring relationships first semester, 6 of those continued second semester, demand continued
    • 6 Faculty mentors from Brookdale Community College, 2 working professionals from outside the college as mentors
    • Membership in W.E.S.T. grew from 15 members to 43 members
    • Significantly stronger bonding between student members, Increased presence of students in faculty office areas and labs, Increased student involvement in College activities
    • ALL students in the program were retained in their discipline. Three transferred to four year schools.
Q: How were students chosen to participate?

A: The program was presented to the students in W.E.S.T. and interested students requested to participate.

Q: How were faculty chosen as mentors?

A: Faculty were individually approached by the program director based on individual strengths and commitment.

W.E.S.T. originator at Brookdale,

Elaine Klett, with her mentee

Sally Boyer, and

guest speaker,

Architect Kathleen Buchanan

Q: How were partnership assignments made?

A: Arranged by the program director who was familiar with the faculty and students. Consideration of faculty background and student goals as well a personality characteristics.

W.E.S.T. Math-Mentor Program Process Evaluation


  • Objectives and guidelines
  • Successful communication with student
  • Successful communication with counseling
  • Complementary personalities
      • Relationship with mentee
      • Understanding of what to do
      • Progress of mentee
      • Use of resources
      • Making improvements
      • Meeting goals
      • Appreciation

Evaluation form was used

w e s t activities october and november 2008
W.E.S.T. Activities October and November 2008

For information contact: Faculty Advisors Arminda Wey

Cathy Holl-Cross

Club President Jamie Ganley


W. E. S. T.

Women in Engineering, Science and Technology

The purpose of W.E.S.T. is to support and encourage women taking math, engineering, science and technology courses by providing mentoring of women students by appropriate faculty, exposure to successful women in these fields, and providing opportunities to obtain information on careers, scholarships, grants, etc.

Membership in W.E.S.T. is open and free to women students and faculty.

SPRING SEMESTER 2009 Tentative Schedule


February 5, 2009 General Meeting; January 29, 2009

Featured Speaker: Susan Boyce Mentoring Program Meeting

March 6, 2009 College Visit to NJIT (Friday)

March 26, 2009 General Meeting May Mentoring Program Meeting

Feature: Engineering Panel

March 27, 2009 College Visit to Rutgers

March 29, 2009 Open House (Sunday)

April 16, 2009 General Meeting

Evaluation results from the

January 17th

Let’s Get Acquainted Dinner

1. Usefulness of the Networking Session

100% responded with the highest rating of 5.

2. Usefulness of the Panel Discussion

92.3% responded the highest rating of 5.

3. Interest in the Mentoring Program

84.6% responded the highest rating of 5.

4. Overall Conference Experience

92.3% responded with highest rating of excellent.

students faculty and learning assistants a subset of w e s t and members of the mentoring program
Students, Faculty and Learning Assistantsa subset of W.E.S.T. and members of the Mentoring Program
Changes to the 2008-09 Mentoring Program
  • Training for mentors
  • 3 mandatory large group meetings
  • Group mentoring
Advancements 2008-09
  • 16 students are assigned to mentors, fall2008
  • 15 faculty are involved, one professional
  • Student membership continues to increase, Demand for mentors grows
  • Increased student involvement, increased organization activities
Comments from mentors on mentoring experience :
    • Very different than professor/student relationship
    • Needs differ
    • Time constraints are a challenge
October 10, 2008
  • Math Skills Suffer in U.S., Study Finds
  • The United States is failing to develop the math skills of both girls and boys, especially among those who could excel at the highest levels, a new study asserts, and girls who do succeed in the field are almost all immigrants or the daughters of immigrants from countries where mathematics is more highly valued.
  • The study suggests that while many girls have exceptional talent in math — the talent to become top math researchers, scientists and engineers — they are rarely identified in the United States. A major reason, according to the study, is that American culture does not highly value talent in math, and so discourages girls — and boys, for that matter — from excelling in the field. The study will be published Friday in Notices of the American Mathematical Society.
  • “We’re living in a culture that is telling girls you can’t do math — that’s telling everybody that only Asians and nerds do math,” said the study’s lead author, Janet E. Mertz, an oncology professor at the University of Wisconsin, whose son is a winner of what is viewed as the world’s most-demanding math competitions. “Kids in high school, where social interactions are really important, think, ‘If I’m not an Asian or a nerd, I’d better not be on the math team.’ Kids are self selecting. For social reasons they’re not even trying.”
American Geological Institute, Government Affairs Program

Women in Math and Science

The National Center for Education Statistics recently released a report entitled "Women in Mathematics and Science." The report found that women have made "tremendous progress" in education over the last few decades, but discrepancies in education between men and women still exist. Boys and girls have similar levels of interest and proficiency in math and science until age 13, when boys begin to perform better in science. As students progress through high school, the gap widens to include math; men score better on the SAT math and science achievement tests as well as AP Exams. The difference between the sexes has shrunk over time but still exists. The math and science courses taken by men and women are similar, except men are more likely to take physics and women are more likely to take chemistry. Women who do not take math or science their senior year of high school are more likely than men to have been advised that they did not need the material or stated that they disliked the subject.

government accountability office report may 2006 http www gao gov new items d06702t pdf
Government Accountability Office Report, May 2006

While postsecondary enrollment has increased over the past decade, the proportion of students obtaining degrees in STEM fields has fallen. ..1994–1995 about 32 percent obtained STEM degrees. …about 27 percent in 2003-04. Despite increases in enrollment and degree attainment by women and minorities at the graduate level, the number of graduate degrees conferred fell in several STEM-related fields from 1994–95 to 2003-04. College and university officials and students most often cited subpar teacher quality and poor high school preparation as factors that discouraged the pursuit of STEM degrees. Suggestions to encourage more enrollment in STEM fields include increased outreach and mentoring.

From 1994 to 2003, employment in STEM fields increased by an estimated 23 percent, compared to 17 percent in non-STEM fields. Mathematics and computer science showed the highest increase in STEM-related employment, and employment in science-related fields increased as well. However, in certain STEM fields, including engineering, the number of employees did not increase significantly. Further, while the estimated number of women, African-Americans, and Hispanic-Americans employed in STEM fields increased, women and minorities remained underrepresented relative to their numbers in the civilian labor force. Key factors affecting STEM employment decisions include mentoring for women and minorities…

Thank You for joining ME today!


Arminda Wey


Brookdale Community College, Mathematics Department

765 Newman Springs Road

Lincroft, NJ 07738