Student club supports women in STEM

Scientista provides women at WSU with professional advice and bonding experiences

Lydia+Weddle%2C+junior+chemistry+major+and+PR+Chair+of+Scientista%2C+discusses+the+club%27s+history%2C+the+challenges+women+face+in+STEM%2C+and+the+resources+Scientista+can+provide+for+STEM+students%2C+on+Thursday+at+The+Chinook.

GRACE JOO

Lydia Weddle, junior chemistry major and PR Chair of Scientista, discusses the club's history, the challenges women face in STEM, and the resources Scientista can provide for STEM students, on Thursday at The Chinook.

RACHEL KOCH, Evergreen reporter

Every week, a group of women at WSU bond over shared experiences and academic pursuits in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

The club, Scientista, is part of a national organization with chapters across the country, said Lydia Weddle, public relations chair.

“It’s a community,” Weddle said. “[It is] like a group for women in STEM to sort of level the playing field.”

Weddle, who is in her third year as a member of the club, has learned professional skills such as how to become involved in research and build a scientific resume, she said.

The club hosts guest speakers and other events every other week, Weddle said. Last semester, they held a guest discussion panel featuring female WSU professors, grad students and advisers.

“A lot of women will come [to our meetings] and share their experience of how they’ve been discriminated against,” she said. “They say how they’ve dealt with that.”

Her freshman year, most of Weddle’s classmates were men in all of her courses, she said.

“It’s difficult to find a group of people that you can identify with,” Weddle said.

However, conditions have improved for women working in STEM over the years, she said.

“When we bring our professors in and they talk about their experiences, they’re always talking about things that happened at the beginning of their careers years and years ago,” Weddle said. “It’s nowhere near what it used to be at all.”

Scientista has served as an academic support system for Weddle, she said.

“It’s a good community to continue that growth [of support for women in STEM],” she said.

Scientista club meetings are held every Thursday from 4:10-5 p.m. in Avery Hall Room 110.