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  • Writer's pictureDonna Milgram

How to obtain scarce female role models in STEM

Power Tip

Many of the schools I’m working with are getting ready to hold Spring Meet & Greets in their Career Pathway to recruit female students when Spring Registration opens up. 


Because it’s one of the most effective strategies to recruit women. I provide the formula and system on how to do this most effectively in the WomenTech Training & Coaching System even including a sample moderator script.

One area of difficulty is obtaining female role models for the panel - ideally you would have 3 - with all or most being graduates of your school if possible.

Depending on when you are holding the event, the female role models will likely need to take time off of work to participate. They will also need to prepare their talk and practice with you on a Zoom call at least once – preferably twice – before your event.

There are two things you can do to help support them. 

First, if you have a relationship with their employer, offer to ask them for release time for this important community event. 

Second, you can pay them. If you have a grant, this would likely be an allowable expense. This will go a long way to helping smooth the way. 

What’s a decent stipend? 

One school I’m working with in a major metropolitan area is asking their alumni role models to be interviewed for a biography, to be present during two in-person recruitment events, to prepare and practice with school staff for those events, and to provide photos of themselves on the job. 

After much discussion, they will provide the role models with a $500 stipend for their time. 

Don’t forget - there are very few of these women - we can’t expect them to provide their time for free to the many who ask. Recent graduates, especially, are trying to balance work, home, and possibly a baby along with this volunteer opportunity. 

That’s why payment for their help will make this much more attractive if you can do it. If you can’t manage a stipend this year, then put it in your Perkins or NSF Budget for next year. Here’s why: 

If even one additional student enrolls because of the female role model, you will have easily recouped your costs many times over.

Do you want some help with producing your women and STEM Career Event, so it results in actual conversions for enrollment? I have some limited space in my Fall schedule to assist with Event Production. Talk with me about this in April so we can set something up for the Fall.

Maureen Devlin Clancy Makerspace

“The WomenTech Makerspace Training brought our team together and was expertly facilitated.

It led us through the process of capturing our busy faculty's ideas, and collected them in a very effective way. Now we have an action plan for a short timeframe, so we can be ready for students the next semester.

I don’t think we could have gotten to this point without Donna's facilitation. I knew from my past experience with IWITTS that Donna could help us create a plan that would produce results. The materials, the research-based strategies, the PowerPoint slides, and the sample Student Leads Sheets were all so valuable and engaged faculty in the process. The WomenTech Makerspace Training enabled CCSF to achieve our grant’s goals to make our MakerSPHERE inclusive to ALL students from day one. [...]

It’s very challenging work to change a culture and do these kinds of projects, and anytime I feel lost at sea I fall back on the plan.

~ Maura Devlin-Clancy, MakerSPHERE Coordinator, Faculty, CNIT Department - Web Development Programs, City College of San Francisco, CA brought a team to a 2018 WomenTech Makerspace Onsite Training. CCSF achieved 50% female participation in the new Makerspace 101 course, 2 semesters in a row.



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