UW News

January 31, 2008

Meeting focus is women in science

On Saturday, Feb. 2, dozens of women interested in careers in math, science and technology will gather in the HUB for the 17th annual conference by the Women in Science and Engineering office. The day-long event provides networking opportunities and career advice, as well as tips on how to balance school, work and other responsibilities.

Last year, the event outgrew its home in south campus. This year it will be held from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the HUB.

The theme is “Imagine, Invent, Innovate.” Yoky Matsuoka, associate professor in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering and recent recipient of a MacArthur “genius” Fellowship, will deliver the keynote speech. The mother of three young children will speak about how she combines her groundbreaking robotics research with raising a family. Matsuoka will describe how her love of tennis launched her career, offer advice for young women who want to succeed in science, and comment on how having more women would change the field of engineering.

Much of the day will consist of talks and skill-building sessions. Some new workshops this year include “Motivation, procrastination and inspiration,” which offers advice for getting and staying on track, and “Bio-energy systems,” an overview of new opportunities in sustainable-energy research.

This year for the first time the conference includes a special all-day track for high school girls, aimed at recruiting more young women to technical fields.

The program also features popular repeats from past years, such as a lunchtime networking session, mentoring and tips for succeeding in academia and industry. Closing the day’s program will be a musical performance by Living Voices on the history of women’s rights in the United States.

The event typically draws undergraduates and graduate students looking for guidance, as well as high school students and their parents who may be considering a career in science and engineering. It can also help teachers or counselors of both genders.

“We have men show up too, because they’re out there working with women,” said UW academic adviser and conference organizer Cathryne Jordan. “I assume that they’re there to promote women in science and gain knowledge and information and learn how to motivate women to go into these fields.”

Participants are asked to register in advance; fees are $15, including lunch, for students. Professionals pay $40 for the day-long program or $15 for lunch only. To register and for more information, go to http://www.engr.washington.edu/wise/conference.html.