WISE: A Support Group for Graduate and Post-Graduate Women in STEM

Jessica A. Gold, Lena Jia, Jessica P. Bentzley, Kacy A. Bonnet, Amanda M. Franciscus, Meenakshi S. Denduluri, Laraine T. Zappert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Women remain underrepresented in many science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) support groups were developed in 2001 as an intervention to foster community in graduate and postgraduate women in STEM at a large academic research institution. Since the WISE program’s inception, over 1,500 women have participated. From 2011 to 2018, anonymous, voluntary surveys were distributed at the end of every academic year to WISE group members. Surveys consisted of quantitative and qualitative data regarding participants’ perceptions of and experiences in the WISE groups. From 2011 to 2018, 76.4% of survey respondents (n = 416) reported that WISE groups were an excellent experience overall. Thematic analysis of the qualitative data demonstrated four major benefits of WISE group participation: creation of community, having a safe space, emotional support, and peer mentorship. Suggestions for improvement included increasing access to groups. The WISE group program was a well-liked intervention that may support graduate and postgraduate women in STEM. Study limitations, as well as implications for future research, practice, and advocacy are noted.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)81-115
Number of pages35
JournalInternational Journal of Group Psychotherapy
Volume71
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

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