Career Explorations: Women-in-STEM

Career Explorations: Women-in-STEM (CE-WIS) is a group of female professionals from across the state of Nevada who formed a committee to promote growth and mentorship for female students in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics). We provide opportunities for career exploration in STEM fields by linking students with female professionals in the same arena.

Events and programs

The CE-WIS series is designed to give female students who are interested in STEM a unique opportunity to discuss various topics about STEM careers with female STEM professionals. The series is for female college students (and graduating seniors in secondary school) who want to know more about potential STEM careers, learn valuable insights about being a STEM professional, and create connections that could become mentorship or job shadowing opportunities.

Breakout sessions event

Join CE-WIS for a networking roundtable event on Friday, October 15, 2021 from 12 p.m. to 1:15 p.m. at the Joe Crowley Student Union Room 320. We will have a panel of recent graduates and STEM professionals, followed by STEM-subject breakouts for open questions and answers. Meet us in-person at the Joe or virtually via Zoom.

Presenter event

On Wednesday, November 17, 2021 from 2 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. at the Nevada Career Studio (Pennington Student Achievement Center Room 208), CE-WIS is hosting the last event of the Fall semester. This exciting event features speaker, Karen Purcell, a local Woman-in-STEM business owner.  Karen Purcell, P.E., is the founder, owner, and president of PK Electrical, Inc., a thirty-six person electrical engineering, design, and consulting firm with offices in Reno, NV and Denver, CO.  

Tackling  an  important  social  issue  from  a  personal  perspective,  Karen  presents  an  illuminating  discussion  for  empowering women  in  male-dominated  fields.  With  advice  on  gaining  exposure to STEM career fields early, earning the respect of male colleagues, rising through the ranks to become a leader, and balancing a personal life with career pressures, Karen’s presentation is one you will not want to miss!

TRiO STEM Scholars Program

CE-WIS is proud to share that TRiO is providing an opportunity for undergraduate students with the academic and support necessary to successfully complete a baccalaureate degree in a STEM-related major.

To learn more about the program eligibility and to apply, please visit the TRiO Scholars website.

History of CE-WIS

This group started in 2018 when a STEM professional continued to notice the discrepancies between the number of women applying for jobs at her agency and the number of men. She searched for groups that supported young women in STEM fields of study. Since she could not find a local program, she sought partners to join her in starting one. The Nevada Career Studio, part of the Student Services Division of the University of Nevada, Reno, responded to her call for collaboration. The co-founders formed a committee in 2018, made up of women from on and off campus, who turned this vision a reality. 

The CE-WIS program started small with a speed-networking luncheon and a shadowing component, matching students with female STEM professionals We made 25 matches, reaching our goal!

There is always room for improvement, so we set our sights on aiming to make matches with the exact areas of study the STEM students requested.  We doubled our capacity, opening the registration to 50 students.  We had a wait list of an additional 50 students!

Each member of our team reached out to personal contacts and resources to find the best possible match for each student. We planned a culmination event in conjunction with the 2020 Northern Nevada Science & Technology Festival to showcase the matches.

Unfortunately, shortly after the matches were made, the pandemic hit and campus closed. Undaunted, we went back to work and organized a virtual program to discussion several key topics affecting women-in-STEM.

We invited the students and STEM professionals involved in the CE-WIS program. It was a successful program, including a breakout room sessions that lead to meaningful discussion and sharing.

In our third year, we remain virtual due to the pandemic and have planned Spring Semester Series.