WIN and WINCorps

Expanding the Impact of Women in STEM

The WPI Women’s Impact Network (WIN) continues to make a significant difference for women in STEM. Formed from a model that President Laurie Leshin encountered at Arizona State University, the group is composed of alumnae, friends, parents, faculty, and staff. WIN is determined to ensure that women and girls have opportunities to participate in STEM fields and make a positive impression in their professions, their communities, and beyond.

Since its inception in 2017, WIN’s impact has expanded far beyond the initial collaboration and community building benefits experienced by members. The 85-member organization has raised over $900,000 and funded 53 grant requests, including 20 grants to diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives and 12 grants in support of K-12 STEM pipeline programs.

A recent example of WIN’s impact is found in this year’s WINCorps Leadership Development Conference. Conference developers—dean of graduate studies Terri Camesano, WPI Forward fellow Rachel LeBlanc, and associate professor of biomedical engineering Marsha Rolle—communicated deep gratitude for their WIN grant, which (with precision-like frugality) has supported three annual conferences.

This year’s conference was attended (virtually) by 45 participants. With its mission to keep alumnae connected to WPI support systems, the program provides tools for growth and learning beyond campus. “Students feel supported at WPI; they have access to many experts and resources while on campus, especially when it’s time to secure their first job. However, as support may also be needed at future career pivot and jump points, we work to ensure that alumnae receive resources they need, beyond the campus borders,” said Rolle.

Program developers acknowledge that WPI has a wealth of knowledge and experience to share. The challenge, however, has been securing the operational capital needed for programming. LeBlanc shared, “… the conference is outside of what we’d normally be able to build into our operating budget, so the WIN grant served as a powerful motivational vehicle for our team to turn our thoughts and dreams of a leadership development conference into a reality.”

The conference featured experts in strategic planning, mindfulness, negotiating, and diversity, and included an alumnae panel featuring Joyce Kline ’87, Pamela (Glasson) Lynch ’05, and Maureen McCaffrey ’86. By all accounts the conference was a tremendous success. Grania VanHerwade ’15 noted, “I attended WINCorps virtually yesterday, and it was an incredible event!” Corinne Linderman ’07, ’08 said, “This [conference] came at the perfect time for me, as I’m needing to do some redirection at work—for my team and myself.”

Both WIN and the WINCorps Leadership Development program are multiplying impact as they help forge a path for the future of all women in STEM.

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