University of Southern Indiana

What the Next Generation of Women are Learning from their Female Mentors

Quote bubbles that say "The World According to Gap"

[Excerpted from The World According to Gap in illume Fall 2018]

“The first day of class, I introduce myself and tell them I’m from Taiwan, have a liberal arts background and came to the United States to get a computer science degree. Now, I have a doctorate in finance and am teaching it. I think telling students what we’ve been through is a good way to communicate, especially to our female students, what they can do in their futures.”

Dr. Manfen Chen, Associate Professor of Finance

“I find that when students do undergraduate research they are more likely to pursue Ph.D. programs. If we can find a way to encourage them to do research, get them paid with grants, there is a better chance they will become even more successful.”

Dr.  Priyadarshine Hewavitharanage, Associate Professor of Chemistry

 “I teach a first-year engineering section and tell those who intend to major in engineering the story of me wanting and pursuing an engineering career. How some friends and family friends told me, ‘You don’t want to be an engineer. Women can’t be good engineers. I never listened to those people, and my parents dismissed them as well.”

Dr. Amy Chan Hilton, Professor of Engineering

 “I remember interviewing for jobs at conferences and there were very few women to be found. The average economics professor [in the United States] is a middle-aged white male. How can women feel they can go into this line of work if they never see a female in that capacity? Because it’s difficult to find professionally accomplished women in economics, I actively seek role models for my students. I took a group of young ladies to the Federal Reserve in St. Louis for the Women in Economics Symposium. It was in stark contrast to what I [normally] see in my profession…all these females on the main room of the Federal Reserve Bank!”

Dr. Daria Sevastianova, Associate Professor of Economics 

“It’s important to emphasize to students that just because they study a field in college doesn’t mean that’s where they’ll end up in their career. It’s especially true to let women know that it’s okay to be well-rounded. I had a nonlinear path. First it was physics, then astronomy, then engineering. I think all that comes together to make me a more well-rounded engineer.”

Dr. Jenna Kloosterman, Assistant Professor of Engineering and Physics

The full illume article can be read in the online PDF.

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