Congratulations to MASS AWIS for 10 years of connecting women in STEM!

The Massachusetts Chapter of AWIS (MASS AWIS) celebrated its 10th Anniversary on Saturday, September 20, 2014, at the Boston Marriott Cambridge Hotel.

Welcoming remarks were given by Dr. Tooba Cheema, the Vice-President of MASS AWIS, followed by introductory remarks given by Dr. Beth Hovey, the President of MASS AWIS, that highlighted the accomplishments of MASS AWIS during the past 10 years. Dr. Karen Page, a Past-President of MASS AWIS and the representative of the Platinum Sponsor Pfizer, discussed how Pfizer has advanced women in science by supporting MASS AWIS’ Programming, particularly the Mentoring Program.

Cindy Simpson, business development officer of National AWIS, and Julie Utano, Associate Executive Director of National AWIS, discussed the measures that National AWIS has taken to promote women in science at the national level and in the US legislature, announced that MASS AWIS is currently the largest AWIS chapter in the US, and mentioned that the MASS AWIS mentoring program is used as a model by several other chapters.

During lunch, Massachusetts Senator, Elizabeth Warren, congratulated MASS AWIS on its 10th Anniversary via a video recording. Senator Warren emphasized the impact of organizations like MASS AWIS in supporting and strengthening women in the STEM field through mentoring.

The keynote speaker was Dr. Ellen Daniell, author of the book, Every other Thursday – Stories and Strategies From Successful Women Scientists — the very book that inspired the MASS AWIS mentoring program and brought national attention to the benefits of group and peer mentoring. Dr. Daniell talked about the nuts and bolts of “Group” mentoring meetings and discussed the importance of following and respecting one’s instinct and personal goals. She urged everyone to have the courage to go in a new direction and enjoy what one is doing in order to maintain one’s personal strength.

Mrs. Sarah Cardozo Duncan received the first Excellence in Mentoring Award by MASS AWIS. Mrs. Duncan has led numerous workshops for MASS AWIS pro bono and has volunteered her time and energy to mentoring the board members and members of MASS AWIS and women in the scientific community since 2006. Mrs. Duncan demonstrated what makes her workshops so popular by leading a mini-workshop on the importance of listening when establishing new connections and networks.

Lastly, Dr. Joanne Kamens, a co-founding member of MASS AWIS, presented the closing remarks and spoke of the importance of mentoring and of being a mentor for the next wave of scientists. She emphasized the significance of being a member of organizations such as AWIS that promote the advancement of women in STEM at the national level and in the legislature.

Overall, the MASS AWIS 10th Anniversary celebration was an afternoon of reminiscing, networking and encouraging strong mentoring relationships by women scientists in the Massachusetts Area. It was a gathering of women and men from local companies and academic institutions that support MASS AWIS’ efforts to sustain and advance women’s career in the STEM fields.

All of the sponsors for the event were acknowledged, and their generosity enabled MASS AWIS to raise over $5K to launch the MASS AWIS Membership Scholarship Fund. In the past, women who were underemployed or unemployed sought to join MASS AWIS but were unable to financially afford the membership fees. MASS AWIS, therefore, decided to create this scholarship fund to financially assist scientists undergoing hardship in obtaining a one-year membership to AWIS. In December 2014 and May 2015, MASS AWIS will announce the recipients of the MASS AWIS Membership Scholarship on the MASS AWIS website.