Women in Science Project (WISP)
The Women in Science Project (WISP) is a co-curricular initiative designed to encourage women to pursue their interests in the sciences, engineering and mathematics by providing mentoring, early hands-on research experiences, role models, access to information and a sense of community. Opportunities include Research Internships for first and second year women, a Peer Mentor Program to connect first year women with upper class women, based on mutual academic interests in the sciences, and informal opportunities to meet with visiting women scientists.
WISP began in 1990 at Dartmouth College with a commitment to increase the number of women pursuing their interests in science, math and engineering. WISP focuses on retaining women in science, and largely targets women in their first and second years of study in science fields.
WISP offers connections, information, and opportunities to help young women develop their talent and potential. Data gathered over the 20+ years of WISP at Dartmouth shows that the first year women who participate in WISP's Research Internship Program and/or the Peer Mentor Program major in the sciences at a substantially higher rate than those who do not participate.
Peer Mentor Program
The Peer Mentor Program matches a first-year woman with an upper-class woman and provides a network of support. First-year women get to know upper-class, science-oriented women who can offer guidance and advice concerning classes, majors and how to balance work and fun. WISP arranges group training and enrichment activities throughout the year to foster greater networking and community building beyond the mentor/mentee relationship.
Close to 200 women participate in the program each year. This student-directed program has grown and developed over the years and, to date, has now touched the lives of more than 4000 Dartmouth College women.
WISP's Research Internship Program provides paid, part-time research internships for first- and second-year women interested in the sciences. Interns work for two terms with faculty and laboratory researchers. Sophomore women are eligible to work in areas where women are most under-represented, such as chemistry, computer science, engineering, mathematics and physics.
To date, more than 1700 women have participated in research internships, and more than 300 faculty and researchers have volunteered as WISP research mentors. All of Dartmouth’s science departments, including Geisel School of Medicine, have participated in addition to off-campus institutions such as Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Veterans’ Administration Medical Research Service and the U.S. Army Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory.