New Graduate Women in Science chapter at College of Medicine

The Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) organization has been in existence since 1921, when graduate students at Cornell University initiated the first chapter just months after women won the right to vote. Although GWIS was formed out of need to provide women in the sciences with an outlet to discuss methods, theories and career advancement, the organization has evolved to advance the participation and recognition of women in science and to foster research through grants, awards and fellowships.

Today, GWIS has fifteen chapters in 11 states and Washington, D.C, in addition to the national chapter-at-large. The University Park campus is home to the Nu chapter of GWIS, but until recently, no closer chapter existed for graduate women in Hershey. Graduate students at Penn State College of Medicine have initiated the steps necessary to form a local chapter and have already enlisted a number of students into membership. GWIS Hershey hit the ground running with its first meeting in May and hosted a faculty networking and fundraising event at the Hershey Isaac’s restaurant in June.

Five GWIS Hershey members also attended this year’s National GWIS Meeting, held at the University Park campus. Three members presented posters, and Janet Sei, a graduate student and current GWIS Hershey secretary, won fourth place in the poster competition. In the coming months, the group plans to host several events that will network women scientists, provide support and mentoring on career advancement for younger scientists and work with groups in the community to promote education in the sciences.

Membership is open to any person, male or female, who has at least a bachelor’s degree in a scientific field. For more information visit, or to join the local chapter, contact GWIS Hershey President, Kathryn Erickson, at

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Last Updated August 26, 2010