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MentorNet News – April 2010 Volume 1

e-mentoring for diversity in engineering and science

In This Issue
Featured Video
You're Invited!
AAUW: Mentoring Crucial for Women's STEM Success
Mentoring Boosts PhD Completion, Attrition Rates
Computer Engineer Barbie: Geek Chic or Wrong Message?
NY Times: Mentoring Helps Retain Women in Engineering
Teachers Inspire Tomorrow's Chemists Most

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Featured Video

Words of Wisdom
MentorNet's veteran volunteer, Steve Schlosser, worked his last day on March 22, 2010. At his going-away bash, he gave this touching speech.
Thank You to March's New and Renewing Partners
EPFL Swiss Federal Institute, Lausanne
Evolution Tri Societies
The Mathworks

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Are you interested in testing out our upgraded, soon-to-be-released MentorNet website? If so, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ';document.getElementById('cloak6a9fb433b303b38021e3164e31cdb398').innerHTML += ''+addy_text6a9fb433b303b38021e3164e31cdb398+'<\/a>'; and we will send you the details. Thanks!
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April 2010, Vol. I www.mentornet.net
Join us for an Evening of Camaraderie, Fun and Games in the D.C. Area!

MentorNet wants to thank its community across the Washington, DC/MD/VA area for helping protégés achieve their full potential. Don't miss this chance to make new friends and network face-to-face with mentors and industry partners. Fun, food, and a raffle--including a grand prize!
WHEN: Monday, April 12, 5:00 - 7:00 pm
WHERE: Baltimore Marriott Inner Harbor at Camden Yards, Salons A&B, 110 South Eutaw Street, Baltimore, MD 21201
Please RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Click here to view invitation online.
AAUW: Mentoring Crucial for Women's STEM Success
A new study finds that mentoring plays a critical role in women's success in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) at the collegiate, student and faculty levels.

The American Association of University's (AAUW) new report, Why So Few? Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, reports that colleges and universities can make substantial gains in the recruitment and retention of women with small changes, including the implementation of mentoring programs.

The report encourages senior faculty members to initiate informal mentoring opportunities for junior faculty. According to the AAUW, women are less likely than men to have mentors, which can have a negative impact on their ability to fit into their STEM academic communities.

According to Cathy Trower at the Collaborative on Academic Careers in Higher Education (COACHE) at Harvard University, "Mentoring is crucial for STEM women because without it, they might not be privy to the good old boys' club or behind the scenes conversations that are crucial to fitting in the department and to getting tenure."

AAUW's press release of Why So Few? was held in Washington, DC on the campus of George Washington University. Over 500 viewers attended virtually. Access the launch event
-Lisa Jennings, Senior Consultant on Strategic Partnerships and Outreach
Mentoring Boosts PhD Completion Rates

A new study finds that while mentoring is a strong influencer in PhD completion rates, it "is practiced and valued unevenly in doctoral programs." A report by the Council of Graduate Schools' PhD Completion Project suggests that mentoring should provide a more structured approach, including resources for students and faculty, regularity and uniformity of progress review, early advising, mentor training and pairing among external mentors; in short, much of what the MentorNet program provides. Learn more about the PhD Project and access the executive summary
-Lisa Jennings, Senior Consultant on Strategic Partnerships and Outreach
Computer Engineer Barbie: Geek Chic or Wrong Message?
Computer engineer Barbie, which will be released by Mattel in winter 2010, comes with a smartphone, Bluetooth headset, laptop travel bag, and pink laptop. Nora Lin, President of Society of Women Engineers, says, "All the girls who imagine their futures through Barbie will learn that engineers, like girls, are free to explore infinite possibilities."

Still, others aren't sure whether to celebrate. "Whether you think she's geek chic or feel that her highly sexualized figure and clothing sends the wrong message, the fact is that Barbie has a big impact on girls," writes Donna Milgram, Executive Director of the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS). "Now, I'd rather have Barbie be a computer engineer than say, 'Math class is hard'... but what I'd really prefer is for real role models to become as popular among young girls as Barbie is," Milgram adds.

-Leila Armush, Media and Communications Consultant
NY Times: Mentoring Helps Retain Women in Engineering

In a recent New York Times article, McGill University economist, Jennifer Hunt, examines backlash from unequal pay and promotion among women working in male-dominated environments and cites mentoring as a viable tool to retain women in engineering professions. According to Hunt, "A number of big banks have launched female mentoring networks... [and if] part of the problem in a male-dominated environment is that it's more difficult for women to network - grabbing a beer at a sports bar after work may appeal more to one gender than to the other - then deliberately trying to build those bonds might help."
-Lisa Jennings, Senior Consultant on Strategic Partnerships and Outreach
Teachers Inspire Tomorrow's Chemists Most
A Bayer survey of female and minority chemists and chemical engineers shows that teachers have overwhelmingly more influence than parents on inspiring students to pursue STEM fields. 70 percent say teachers had the biggest influence at the elementary level, while nearly 90 percent made this claim at the high school level.
-Leila Armush, Media and Communications Consultant

MentorNet is a 501(C)(3) California non-profit educational organization. Our mission is to help engineering and science students at the university level - especially women and underrepresented minorities - achieve their career goals by matching them with mentors and guiding their one-on-one relationships over the Web. We are funded by fees from our campus, corporate, government laboratory and society partners and by grants from public and private foundations.

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