WESiT Scholars Committee brings together Ph.D. students

By Sophie Babcock

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Women Empowering Success in Technology (WESiT), the student alliance of CEWiT, is promoting initiatives for Ph.D. students with a newly formed Scholars Committee. The committee works to plan events that cater to the needs of Ph.D. students in WESiT, and bring together Ph.D. students across disciplines to discuss research and network.

Fourth year Ph.D. student in Public Policy and Political Science and Scholars Committee Member NaLette Brodnax says getting a Ph.D. can be an isolating process, especially for women who are outnumbered in their departments. “I’m really proud to be a part of something that supports Ph.D. women as individuals and also provides them with a place to meet other Ph.D. women from all over campus,” said Brodnax.

Led by Christine Hsieh, a third year Ph.D. student in Information Systems at the Kelley School of Business, the Scholars Committee feels its purpose is to break students out of the bubble that often forms in their own departments. Like all of WESiT’s initiatives, the committee also exists to empower women Ph.D. students to see themselves as competent in technology.

The Scholars Committee has seen success in its past two events. Early in the semester, the Ph.D. Luncheon included 70 women from all over campus who gave feedback on their needs and interests related to technology. In November, the Academic Website workshop series focused on designing academic websites using Weebly, and 80 percent of attendees were women.

The Scholars Committee is now starting to brainstorm ideas for CEWiT’s “Techie Women Have More…” conference on February 26 and 27, as well as panel sessions and research presentations. Committee member Josey Topolski believes events like these offer Ph.D. students with resources essential to success. “I believe our events not only provide skills but enable networking between fields,” she said. “This networking can lead to vast collaborations within the university – this alone is something to be proud of.”