Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
March 7, 1997

10 years of turning girls on to science

by Skip Derra
It has been 10 years since Mary Ann Evans finished her master's thesis and turned those words into action as she set up the Program for Women in Science and Engineering (PWSE). In that time, thousands of female Iowa students have come to ISU to learn about careers in science. They've interned in labs on campus and many have benefited from PWSE scholarships.

The program must be working. Today there are considerably more women enrolled in undergraduate (+50 percent) and graduate (+38 percent) technical curricula at Iowa State than when the program began in 1986. The program reaches female Iowa students from elementary school through college and through a wide range of organizations, like Girl Scouts and Brownies.

On March 21, friends and "alums" of PWSE will gather at Scheman to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the program.

"It will be sort of a reunion," Evans said. "We're expecting a number of our graduates to come back and share their experiences and we expect to have the friends of the organization come and see just how many lives they've touched through PWSE."

Helen Lane, a scientist with NASA's Johnson Space Flight Center, Houston, will be the dinner speaker that evening. Lane studies how an astronaut's diet affects physiology during long-term space flights.

On Saturday, PWSE will hold its annual career conference for sixth through 12th graders. The conference shows female students the benefits of careers in science and provides tours of ISU labs.

PWSE also will hold seminars in conjunction with the Iowa State Science and Technology Fair on Saturday, March 22. The seminars will be at 10:15 and 11:15 a.m. and include alumni speaking about their ISU experiences, and help on building a student's scholarship resume.

For more information on the dinner and PWSE activities, contact Beth Cross, 4-5278.

Iowa State homepage

Inside Iowa State,, University Relations
Copyright © 1997, Iowa State University, all rights reserved
Revised 3/5/97