SWENext Clubs have become a safe and comforting space for students all over the world, and WiSTEM is no exception! WiSTEM is a student group that was founded by the Northwestern/Evanston Township High School Partnership Office, a unique partnership between a university and the community. It was created to offer a safe, supportive and encouraging environment for all students who feel like their gender identity is underrepresented in STEM. WiSTEM became a SWENext Club because of one of their students, Sarah Bloom. Sarah attended the Annual SWE conference in 2017, and she was so inspired by her experience that she decided to make WiSTEM a SWENext Club! She used her time at the conference to gather information and find the resources to help her start this process. When WiSTEM began in 2014, there were 9 members, and in just a few years, that number has grown to 140!
The leadership team from WiSTEM meets weekly to discuss ways to engage and encourage members during this year of virtual meetings. WiSTEM has collaborated with Northwestern University SWE members to host talks and demonstrations, offering WiSTEM members a chance to hear from and talk to women who are taking the STEM path, and who have faced the challenges WiSTEM members currently face. One of their recent meetings focused on mental health and self-care.
WiSTEM is a unique high school club, in that there are no rules about attending meetings or contributing to the club. Members can attend when they are able with no penalties. Each meeting is self-contained, offering an activity, discussion, video or presentation. They also tailor the meetings to what is going on in the members’ lives, such as offering a relaxing space during hectic times (finals, AP testing, etc.).
If you’d like to see more of WiSTEM SWENext’s accomplishments, follow them on Instagram @ethswistem! And if you are interested in starting a SWENext Club or just want to learn more, email firstname.lastname@example.org!
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