Being a woman in STEM can seem scary and sometimes overwhelming. While progress has been made in knocking down the gender boundary in STEM-related fields, there is still an underrepresentation of females present. Rutgers is helping to change this by offering programs and resources for women.
One notable program, The Douglass Project for Women in STEM, is offered through the Douglass College at Rutgers University. This project helps to provide women in STEM a network and community of other females in the same fields. It also not only encourages women to pursue a major in STEM but helps them thrive and succeed. The Douglass Project offers Rutgers women the opportunity to get involved with living-learning communities, programs, and events that will help them navigate through the various STEM fields.
In my first year, I learned about the Douglass Project and I have been utilizing this resource since then. I joined the Reilly Douglass Engineering Living Learning Community
(DELLC) the fall semester of my freshman year. While this “living” learning experience had to take place virtually, the value of this program was not diminished. I was able to meet other students who were in the same situation as me and we were connected to upperclassmen who acted as our mentors.
Our DELLC mentors helped us get through a year of virtual school by being a resource to answer any and all of our many questions, hosting fun de-stress events and encouraging us to continue doing our best at times when we thought we weren't going to succeed. It was also very beneficial to hear about our mentors' different experiences and use their advice to help make the most of our first year and to be prepared for our second.
The Douglass Project offers a class called Introduction to Scientific Research (ISR). This helps introduce STEM women to research, helps them get into the research labs,
and helps teach fundamental aspects of participating in research such as how to write a research paper and create a research poster. I took this class the spring semester of my first year. As a part of this class, you also get involved with an actual research project on campus. I was involved with a project on cold chain packaging. This was an amazing experience for me as
I was able to learn what it was like to conduct research at Rutgers. Some students are able to continue their research journeys through Project Super which allows ISR students or other
Douglass students to work in a research lab throughout the summer.
At the end of the summer, the students create a research poster and present it at the research symposium held in September at Rutgers. These amazing opportunities and so many more provided at Rutgers have been helping to decrease the gender gap in STEM!