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Large-Scale Mentoring Program Succeeds For Women Scientists

The AWIS project's organizers say their three-year effort toward attracting more women to science has paid off When women in science talk about the problems they have overcome, they frequently mention feelings of isolation and self-doubt-- both of which, they say, are exacerbated by the underrepresentation of women in scientific careers. "These are issues all of us have experienced," says Stephanie J. Bird, special assistant to the associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of

Barbara Spector

The AWIS project's organizers say their three-year effort toward attracting more women to science has paid off


When women in science talk about the problems they have overcome, they frequently mention feelings of isolation and self-doubt-- both of which, they say, are exacerbated by the underrepresentation of women in scientific careers.

"These are issues all of us have experienced," says Stephanie J. Bird, special assistant to the associate provost at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Women scientists who look around them and see that "there aren't any other women," Bird says, may get the wrong impression that "there must be something conflicting about being a scientist and being a woman."

"Young women get so many messages that `This [science] is not for you,' " says Laurie McNeil, an associate professor of physics at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. But negative messages can be minimized through positive feedback from...

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