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August 29, 2011
By Jason Ching
For most of us, it's not every day that we are in a room full of people who love math and science. Well, thanks to the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program, those days are becoming a little bit more common.
The WISE program Friday welcomed the class of 2015 with an intimate welcoming ceremony in the Davidson Math and Science Building foyer. WISE bears testimony to the dramatic progress that has been made from a time when women weren't even viewed as members of the workforce, not to mention in the fields of science and engineering.
Marc Johnson, president of the University, said it was his deep pleasure to witness the advancement of women in these fields.
"Society has made the progress to recognize that science is done with the brain, not the biceps," Johnson told the incoming class. "These colleges and these departments are going to be very supportive of your aspirations."
Started in the fall of 2007, WISE just graduated its first class in May and continues to grow with every year that passes.
"With 41 incoming freshmen, this is the largest WISE class we've ever had," said WISE Director Gina Tempel to the incoming class. "And I intend to see all 41 of you crossing that stage at graduation in four years."
Almost across the board, WISE students said they looked forward to the community and support network WISE provides.
"It means so much to start at the University and already be part of a group," said Hannah Polanco, a civil engineering major from Antioch, Calif. "I'm looking forward to getting to know people and being able to study with them."
WISE students live in a Living Learning Community, meaning they stay on the same floor in the residence halls and share classes with one another. This approach provides a special level of academic and personal support.
This additional support was an encouragement to Mike Bryant, father of a WISE student. Bryant, himself a Nevada alumnus, said the WISE program helped make him comfortable with sending his daughter to college.
"I think WISE is a huge foot up for [my daughter]," Bryant said. "I think she's going to thoroughly enjoy it."