NSF Funds Program for WSU Women’s Studies

PULLMAN, Wash. — A Washington State University project that supports women students who major in math, science or engineering has received a $99,988 grant from the National Science Foundation. The two-year project called EFFECT, Equation For Future Equity in Curriculum and Technology, also received institutional support from WSU.
EFFECT is designed to promote recruitment, retention and success of undergraduate women in the academic and professional fields of science, engineering and mathematics. It builds on several highly successful, ongoing programs including the Math, Science and Engineering residence hall project, the Bridge Program for minority and women students in engineering and the physical sciences, a course in the Women’s Studies Program focusing on women and science, and various tutoring programs.
“EFFECT will help give students the best opportunity to succeed at this university, supply the best talent to Pacific Northwest industries and provide equitable opportunities for all students regardless of gender, race and ethnicity,” said program director Sandy Cooper. Cooper is associate professor of mathematics and coordinator of Women in Mathematics, Science and Engineering.
The EFFECT project has four primary thrusts, according to Cooper. “It will expand the current Bridge Program, which supports students in transition from high school to the university and which has proven beneficial in both recruitment and retention of underrepresented constituencies in engineering and the physical sciences.
“Through Tech Star, a series of technology seminars, EFFECT will change the computer from a barrier to a facilitator of success.
“The project also will offer a new course, “Women Scientists: Theory and Practice,” designed to empower, motivate and prepare first-year women in science, engineering and mathematics with essential skills and self-confidence.
“And finally, it will involve faculty and teaching assistants by offering innovations workshops on curricular reform in science, engineering and mathematics education. These workshops will focus on gender- and ethnic- conscious pedagogies that help to attract and retain qualified women and minority students,” said Cooper.
An advisory committee will ensure that the project will impact the students’ success both at WSU and as they enter the work force. The committee includes representatives from Andersen Consulting, Safeco, Boeing Company, Louisiana-Pacific Corp., University of Washington, PENWEST, Battelle and the Law Offices of Frank V. LaSalata.
The project directors in addition to Cooper are Marsha LoFaro, statistician for Women in Mathematics, Science and Engineering; Charlena Grimes, director of the Women in Engineering Program and Minority Engineering Program; and Judy Meuth, a wildlife biologist and faculty member from the Women’s Studies Program.