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Indiana University now ranks eleventh in the United States for female enrollment in science, technology, and math programs, according to The College Database.
IU also places second among Big Ten universities for women enrolled in the so-called hard sciences, or STEM programs.
The Bloomington campus has 90 STEM programs, with 1,288 women enrolled, or 51 percent of the total enrollment in those programs.
IU tries to help women in STEM programs succeed in teaching, research, and professional development.
In addition to the Center of Excellence for Women in Technology, IU offers the Provost’s Professional Development Awards for Women in Science, and provides a Women In Science, Technology, and Math Student Residential Community.
Julianne Martin is the Provost’s Program Coordinator for the designated living center for women in science.
“A big reason we wanted to start a residential learning community for women in STEM fields was to help provide support for women in those fields,” Martin says, “They get be surrounded by peers studying the same things, in the same classes and have the same academic goals.”
STEM programs are defined by The College Database using guidelines provided by National Science Foundation for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The Bloomington campus has no engineering school, but does have one of the nation’s largest informatics and computing schools, so it classifies its programs using the STEM acronym.
IU Provost Lauren Robel says the university has made a focused and deliberate effort to attract women to the sciences. She adds that IU is becoming a beacon for women in these fields.
Martin says the old stereotype of science and math being male-only fields is gradually fading away.
“Some fields are better than others, like biology, with female enrollment,” Martin says, “But fields like astronomy, math and physics have much lower numbers. As you go up the academic ladder even into the careers the numbers just get smaller and smaller. So hopefully with these programs we can help women stay in these majors as undergrads and go on to careers in these fields.”
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in the STEM fields will grow at twice the rate of other fields in the coming years.