STEM is one of the fastest growing sectors in the country.
According to the American Association of University Women (AAUW), in less than 10 years, the United States will need 1.7 million more engineers and computer scientists. Though engineering and computing are two of today’s most in-demand and highest-paying fields, women make up only 12 percent and 26 percent of the workforce, respectively, AAUW research shows. Barriers to women in the field include a lack of representation and encouragement and noted bias toward the hiring of men for these positions.
UB’s Women in Sciences and Engineering (WiSE) program is combatting this issue by providing a community for women studying STEM fields. Launched in 2014 through a grant from the President’s Circle Fund, WiSE offers a number of initiatives to connect female STEM students with the peers, faculty and resources they need to ensure their success, both as students and later in their careers. For example, first-year, female STEM majors have an opportunity to move in early to start building their network; students are invited to events featuring women faculty in STEM fields; and financial support through scholarships is available.
Lin is grateful to be the recipient of the Gersky Family Fund for WiSE, as it relieves some of the financial burden of attending school and enables her to get experience working in the lab.
“I have two children and a family to support—this scholarship helps me attend school and work in the lab instead of another job not related to my field.”
Zuiru Lin has found a community at UB through WiSE. Lin was in 10th grade when her family emigrated to the United States from China. Despite having been a strong student, she did not enroll in school in the U.S., and instead worked to help support her family. After getting married and having children, she decided to recommit to her education, first earning her GED and taking classes at Erie Community College before transferring to UB, where she is majoring in medicinal chemistry.
Lin is the recipient of the Gersky Family Fund for WiSE, which supports female students who attend UB and participate in the program. She works in the lab of UB Distinguished Professor Janet Morrow, and finds inspiration in her female mentor, particularly after having grown up in a family with very traditional expectations for women. “Dr. Morrow treats everyone with equal respect and provides countless opportunities to grow.”