One of the organizations I have been volunteering with since I moved to Washington is the Seattle Chapter of Association for Women in Science (AWIS). AWIS is a professional organization that works to promote careers of women and girls in science. They have a strong policy arm; our headquarters are in Washington DC. The advancement of women in science careers and rational science policy are two things I care a lot about, so this organization was a natural fit. On top of that, everyone I've met through AWIS is fantastic, and I've made some interesting friends and connections. We also host really great events. I am on the newsletter committee, we put together quarterly updates for members about our events, and issues of importance to the community. This is where most of my volunteer hours have come from so far. I enjoy being a part of this organization, and I beleive in what they do.
We have several very cool things going this year, including an award for a leading female scientist, and scholarships. I'm very excited about the scholarships.
When I was in college, I had several merit based scholarship. It means a lot to be recognized for your potential while you are still training. And I think it it really important that an organization like AWIS, which is predominantly active researchers and professional scientists can give a hand up to trainees. It says, "You belong," to someone is still trying to earn their way. Last year we gave 4, $1000 scholarships to local students. All of them had really great stories, and I was so happy we were able to support these students in their education. We recognize them at an annual event, which this year they will share with a banquet and the award ceremony for an outstanding senior scientist.
The other really cool part about this scholarship is that the funds are donated by local members and organizations. We don't have huge endowments; every year there is a fundraising campaign. Every year the membership has to decide, "is diversity in science still an issue? Can I support the training of future women scientists?" We have about 150 members. I think we do a pretty awesome job supporting the chapter goals to support women's careers by providing scholarships for these students.
What to support the scholarship? Mail a check (yes, we are a bit old fashioned) to:
5805 16th Ave NE
Seattle, WA Nine Eight One Oh Five
(that a spambot proof zipcode, folks)
(If you support this scholarship, please let me know directly! And also, thank you so much!)