Women of Kent are fixing the ‘leaky pipe line’

Alyssa Schmitt

The women of Kent State University are banding together to help battle the leaky pipeline that is affecting women in the field of science.

The leaky pipeline situation is when women in the sciences do not go on to finish graduate school or are limited in forwarding their careers, said first-year biomedical graduate student Jessica Krieger, the founder and president of the Scientistas’ graduate chapter.  

The Scientista Foundation is an organization that helps support women in sciences.

“Scientistas is an organization that provides us a support group, opportunities to network and share experiences with other people and also get advice from people who have been in our situations,” said senior physics and computer science major Tessandra Sage, president of the Scientistas’ undergraduate chapter.

The Scientistas is a relatively new group, with the undergraduate chapter being established in January 2014 and the graduate chapter established in August 2014, that assists women studying sciences in different ways.

This organization helps women in the science disciplines be less vulnerable to the leaky pipeline issue in a variety of ways.

“First of all, generating that sense of support is good for developing skills for self-advocacy and also advocating for other people,” Krieger said. “Educating each other what the leaky pipeline situation is and what to do to prevent that from happening to one of us is essential. One of the core activities among the Scientista groups have been inviting speakers to come and talk to us, typically female leaders within different science communities.”

Educating women before they enter the work world allows them to be more aware of the symptoms associated with the leaky pipeline situations.

“It seems like as women progress through their careers, there’s kind of a drop-off in the amount of promotions they get or the amount of leadership opportunities,” said Krieger.

The Scientistas are not the only ones on campus  promoting women in sciences.

Sandra Morgan, the external affairs director of the college of arts and sciences, leads a program that brings Girl Scouts from middle and high school to Kent State to encourage them to go into science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines.

The program will expand in March through a STEM initiative that will promote young women from the Kent community to go into STEM. With the assistance given from the Scientistas and encouraging young women to go into the STEM fields, Morgan said women can have more opportunities.

“There are so many careers for women in the sciences,” Morgan said. “We’d like to highlight those opportunities to young women and give them a chance to think about careers that they may not have considered and show them very clear cut direct examples of women who are successful in the sciences at Kent State.”     

Contact Alyssa Schmitt at [email protected].