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Residential Learning Community for women in STEM programs at IU

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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 a strong second among Big Ten universities for women enrolled in the so-called hard sciences, or STEM programs. The Bloomington campus has ninety STEM programs, with one thousand two hundred and eighty-eight women enrolled, or fifty-one 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 even 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.

According to Ms. Martin, a big reason that they want to start the Residential Learning Community for women in STEM field is because it is helpful for them to retention, so they have the ability to be surrounded by peers. That solves effectively for supporting women in those fields.

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. Julianne Martin says the old stereotype of science and math being male-only fields is gradually going away.

Ms. Martin explains that some fields such as biology and Chemistry at IU has a little bit more women enrolled.  But the female enrollment number for Computer Science, Physics and Astronomy are much lower. For the graduate level,  the number of women student and faculty is getting much smaller. Ms. Martin hopes that the program could helps women not only stay in these major for undergraduate, but continual on graduate program and careers in these fields.

Sarah Durkin of The College Database says 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.

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