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April 2016
GWIS Launches New Brand!
A message from GWIS President, Laura Havens

If you have been paying attention to your email and social media lately, you will have realized that GWIS has undergone a massive makeover! An organization with a history as rich as ours will always need to periodically assess the way that it communicates its mission to the world to make sure it stays relevant.  The last time we did so was in 2008, when for the first time in the organization’s history a graphic designer was enlisted to create a face for Sigma Delta Epsilon- Graduate Women in Science.  Eight years later, the Executive Board decided to undertake the challenge of revising our brand, not only with a focus on visual identity, but with the idea of strategically revising our global identity. 

A brand, however, is not only defined by the Executive Board of an organization. Our organization strongly believes in brand democracy, meaning that we trust our members, leaders, participants and volunteers to communicate their own understanding of the organization’s core identity. And so our rebranding efforts started with a survey that, as many of you may remember, was conducted last summer to assess what our membership liked, didn’t like, and thought could be improved. Among much other great information, some of the key takeaways from this effort were:
  • Most of our chapters indicated that they were not using the Sigma Delta Epsilon as part of their own identity; instead they were referring to themselves simply as GWIS or “Graduate Women in Science”
  • Many of our members felt that our website was too text-heavy and recommended a more stream-lined visual approach
  • Many people (including members of the Executive Board) had a difficult time succinctly explaining GWIS’s core mission in simple terms.  

This survey allowed us to identify several opportunities for improvement and the Branding committee was put in place to work on translating these suggestions into the formation of our new brand. With the help of a sociology expert, Steve Allen, the committee spent several months analyzing survey data and revising whether or not our mission statement and goals fit with the feedback we had gotten from our membership. Although not very different in nature from our previous mission statement, the revised version is a more concise and powerful sentence that is easily remembered and very specifically describes what GWIS is and stands for. The new mission statement can be found on the website, but we’re proud to show it off here too: “Building a global community to inspire, support, recognize, and empower women in science”

Next was to analyze the organizational goals, which needed to be something our leaders, members and donors would easily remember and thus use to answer in a straightforward way when somebody asks what GWIS is all about. Our previous goals, although very powerful and well regarded, did not accomplish this task. Therefore, the committee concluded that all GWIS does can be summarized in three simple words: connect, lead and empower.
  • Connect. In today’s global environment, the need to make connections is more important than ever. GWIS offers the opportunity to surround yourself with some of the most impressive women in the global scientific community. We CONNECT our members via our publications, our multiple networking opportunities (both on the chapter and on the National levels) and our members- only forums.
  • Lead. Finding a job requires not only exceptional scientific training, but also proof that you can be an effective leader. In GWIS, we LEAD in the training of the leaders of today, so that they can inspire the leaders of tomorrow. Through our participation in the Million Women Mentor program, our innumerable outreach events across the globe and the multiple leadership opportunities offered across the organization, GWIS members are leading the way to a brighter future for all women scientists.
  • Empower. When GWIS was founded, it was difficult for women to gain entry into scientific careers – and even harder for them to gain the respect of their peers. That’s why, for the last century, we’ve dedicated ourselves to EMPOWER the success of women scientists everywhere. Through our impressive fellowships program we have awarded almost 1,000 fellowships to extraordinary women in every discipline, and we are just getting started!
Our rebranding efforts had a big focus on brand integrity. We wanted to make sure that our internal identity was aligned with our external image, and that both were aligned with our mission. And with this newly revised internal vision, we wanted to make sure that it came across externally to the public. We wanted our members to feel proud of GWIS, to be our best ambassadors. So we set ourselves to ensure that our visual image matched our member’s expectations.

The first big change that took place was the name change. In the survey, we found out that most of our members felt very uncomfortable associating GWIS with Greek organizations.  Many prospective members thought that we were a sorority instead of a professional organization. Therefore, we agreed to simplify our name to Graduate Women in Science (GWIS) and drop the Greek letters. We want our members to understand that despite this historical change, we are not forgetting our rich history. To show our commitment to this fact, we have made sure that our new website has a special section where people can read about GWIS’s history and learn about the amazing journey that has brought us here.

Given the name change, a new logo was needed. For this, we recruited another wonderful volunteer, Megan Nielsen, a Chicago-based graphic designer with great vision and style that helped us convert our new brand into an image. The current logo was designed to represent the concept of connection, one of our pillars. The colors were chosen to incorporate both the professionalism and integrity of the organization (deep blue) with the passion, fun and modern thinking of our members (orange/red). The combination is a powerful representation of who we are today. A young and vibrant professional organization with deep historical roots that is ready to tackle the battles of the new century.

Creating this new brand has been a rewarding journey for all of us in National leadership roles. I want to extend my special thanks to the members of the Branding committee (Stacey Kigar, Allison Schultz, Amy Belfi, Tina Hill and Jennifer Ingram) and to our volunteers Steve and Megan, without whom none of this would have been possible. We hope that all of you enjoy discovering what GWIS has to offer and are as proud of the new brand as we are. 

United in Friendship through Science
Laura Havens
National GWIS President

Registration Now Open for the GWIS 2016 National Conference

Rho Tau is proud to host the 2016 GWIS National Conference on June 23-25, 2016. During the National meeting, scientists from all career stages will have the opportunity to network, share their science and gain first-hand science outreach experience at a local science museum. The key note speaker will be Dr. Holly Menninger, Director of Public Outreach for the College of Sciences at NC State University. Also featured will be panel discussions on science literacy and the role of STEM professionals in science outreach as well as poster presentations and talks from GWIS scientists. 

Opportunities will be available for attendees to engage in science outreach at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Preregistered conference participants will be given the opportunity to either speak about their research to the public or attend tables with topic materials on hand. The day will end with a banquet, silent auction and a comedy set from "The Science Comedian", Brian Malow.

Sign up by May 15th for an opportunity to do science outreach at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. 
National Meeting Host Rho Tau Chapter Serves Women in Science Within Research Triangle

Contributed by By Dr. Sarah Council and Dr. Shraddha Desai

The Rho Tau chapter of Graduate Women in Science is located in the heart of North Carolina and represents women from the Research Triangle Area which includes Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill.  We have a broad range of active members in our community ranging from women in graduate school, early career and established positions. Pulling from the great science hot spot of the Triangle, our members work in academia (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina State University, Duke University, Meredith College), in government (National institute of Environmental Health sciences (NIEHS), Environment Protection Agency (EPA)) and in Biotech/BioPharma/CRO industry in the area. 

Rho Tau leadership includes Sam Snow (Secretary), Jamie Mirowsky (Vice President), Stephanie Archer (former Vice President), Jennifer Ingram (Past President), Sarah Council (Current President). 

The Rho Tau chapter was established in 2009 and is one of the largest chapters of Graduate Women in Science. The mission of this chapter is to increase awareness of women’s impact in science by fostering connections, mentoring and advocating for science literacy in our community. Over the course of seven years, we have supported and encouraged our members to participate and engage in various social and professional events organized by the leadership. We have also successfully supported many fellowship applicants and are proud to have five winners from 2009-2015. 

Our activities range from science education/curriculum design (SCIREN at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences), to advocating for awareness of women’s impact in science (Wikipedia workshop at Hunt Library of North Carolina State University), to current issue panels (#DistractinglySexy panel at Duke University), and finally networking events for those within our chapter and outside of it (2nd Annual Charity Casino Night). 

Rho Tau GWIS leadership can’t wait to welcome you to the Triangle for this year's National Meeting! 
Upper left: Current President Sarah Council presenting an elementary school lesson on the skin microbiome to a group of elementary school teachers in Wake County at the SCIREN event. Upper right: Librarians from NCSU’s Hunt Library speaking with members of Rho Tau GWIS and NCSU Women in Physics about editing Wikipedia pages. Lower left: Former Vice President Stephanie Archer leading the #DistractinglySexy Panel about current events in science at Duke University. Lower right: Rho Tau GWIS 2nd Annual Casino night donated over 100 gifts to children at the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle.

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Million Women Mentors Makes Strides

Million Women Mentors announced its commitment of 550,000 Mentor pledges, out of a goal of one million mentors by 2019, to guide girls and women interested in STEM careers at a luncheon in the Senate Office Building in Washington D.C. on March 15.  Attendees at the luncheon included over 20 Congressional and government leaders, plus corporate executives and representatives from nonprofits. 

GWIS is a partner in the Million Women Mentors movement. To sign up as a mentor with Million Women Mentors as an affiliate of GWIS, please click on the button below. Mentors have the option of counting EXISTING mentorships established through their own contacts. As a MWM mentor, you will have access to resources that can strengthen your mentoring and leadership skills. Simply create a MWM profile and make your pledge. For more information please visit or email Gina Moreno at
Sign Up
Research Funding Opportunities

The National Institute of Justice has two funding opportunities for researchers interested in applying their work to the criminal justice system. Follow the link for details. Deadlines are May 11 and 19.

Volunteer Opportunity - We Need Your Help!

GWIS offers some excellent fellowships, but there are other resources we'd like to track and share. We are looking for one or two volunteers to update our general list of research funding resources and convert it to a forum. This is a great way for you to learn the extent of funding resources available to scientific researchers. If you are interested in helping out, contact our website coordinator, Allison Shultz.
Nu Chapter Hosts Annual Voices Conference
Nu Chapter held another successful Voices Conference in February.The popular conference is presented each year at Penn State University and has been a valuable way for Nu to showcase its chapter within the university. Workshop topics included Networking for Nerds, Effective Science Communication, breakout sessions addressing self-marketing and public outreach, with Kimberly Ennico Smith, NASA Deputy Project Scientist on New Horizons Pluto Fly-By mission, giving the keynote speech on Optimizing Expectations to Achieve Effective Engagement -
Experiences in Communicating Space Mission Science and Engineering. Resources from the conference can be found on the Nu Chapter website.
Eta Chapter Presents Career Panel
The GWIS Eta chapter held its third career panel for undergraduates, graduate, and postdoctoral students titled Science Journalism. A panel of three speakers shared their non-academic career journeys. Karen Darling, PhD, does book acquisitions and publishing at the University of Chicago Press, Andrea Poet, MS, director of programs and PR for the Chicago Council on Science and Technology (C2ST). Andrea works very closely to broadcast scientific programs that are relevant to the public. Her work includes organizing scientist panels and producing television clips to disseminate scientific findings. MaryKay Czerwiec, RN MA, creates comic designs that translate the healthcare environment into art as a way to discuss sensitive issues surrounding health and disease. Eta members and guests had a great opportunity to see women in science who flourish in their unique careers. 

The May Broadcaster will contain special content to celebrate Mother's Day as we look at progress on work/life balance for women in science with families.

Look for it next month!

These enticing recent releases may find their way to the GWIS on-line book club.

Geobiologist Dr. Hope Jahren's scientific memoir, Lab Girl, describes a career course that's been accomplished and unconventional as she pursued curiosity-driven science. The book is cited for having a compelling narrative style.

Harvard psychologist Dr. Amy Cuddy, best known for her popular TED talk on the power of body language, has taken her message to book form. Presence described in-depth how to "unleash your boldest self to heighten your confidence, influence others, and perform at your peak."

Nathalia Holt tells the story of the elite team of women mathematicians and scientists that were part of a group that eventually become NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in the book, Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars.

The next GWIS on-line book club will meet in conjunction with the GWIS National Meeting (June 24-25; Time & Location TBD) where we will be discussing Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg. To join the discussion, email


Young women are asking for (and getting) more pay than men. CNN Money.

New bill would encourage, support women and minorities in STEM fields. The Seattle Times.

Barriers For Women Today May Be Less Visible, But Not Less Real. NPR

The complex role of gender in faculty hiring. Science.

New Study Finds That Despite More Women in Science, We Still Perceive Women to Be Incompatible with STEM Fields. Lab Manager

Writing a New National Prescription to Improve Women’s Health: History, Progress and Challenges Ahead. Huff Post

Women in science on Wikipedia: will we ever fill the information gap? The Guardian

"Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future."
John F. Kennedy

Get Involved with GWIS!

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About GWIS

Founded in 1921, Sigma Delta Epsilon-Graduate Women in Science is an inter-disciplinary society of scientists who collectively seek to advance the participation and recognition of women in science and to foster research through grants, awards and fellowships. We comprise 20 active chapters of over 800 women who are "United in Friendship through Science" to support and inspire member professional goals and mutual appreciation of science. Learn more at

Contact GWIS

PO Box 580140 
Minneapolis, MN 55458

Laura Havens 

Broadcaster Editor
Jane Sharer Maier

Membership Secretary
Laura Arneson

Copyright © 2016 Graduate Women in Science, All rights reserved.

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