The stats are startling: According to Million Women Mentors, women make up almost 50 percent of the U.S. workforce, yet hold less than 25 percent of jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and in those jobs earn less than men. Additionally, only two in five architecture students and one in four working architects and architectural designers in the U.S. are women, says the Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture.

With the gender gap in STEM and architecture still too wide, NJIT’s Albert Dorman Honors College has launched a new initiative that aims to reduce the disparity. It’s called Women With STEAM (WWS) and its mission is to attract the next generation of female leaders to the STEM and architecture fields, and then engage and empower them.

Toward this end, the Honors College will host the first WWS Roundtable and Mentorship Colloquium, designed to connect NJIT students in STEAM disciplines with successful alumnae of both the college and university. The event will be held March 22 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Honors College and is open to female and male students.

Karisa Schreck, M.D., Ph.D. ’04 (B.S., biomedical engineering), will deliver the keynote address. Dr. Schreck is NJIT’s youngest graduate, having enrolled at age 15 and completed her degree three years later. She did her graduate study and residency training at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and is now a neurologist practicing in Maryland.

Keynote speaker Karisa Schreck, M.D., Ph.D.

"My time at NJIT was very formative for my current career. Prior to enrolling, I had no idea one could work in both medicine and research. Thanks to Dr. [Dennis] Donahue, my Honors College adviser, and my first research mentor, Dr. Roman Shirokov at UMDNJ, I realized this was a possibility and started on my current career path,” commented Dr. Schreck. “This is why having good mentors who understand available jobs and career paths is critical, particularly for STEAM fields. My mentors understood my interests and recommended an M.D./Ph.D. pathway. It turned out to be a great fit, but took lots of trial and error along the way."

Other NJIT alumni who are scheduled to attend and serve as roundtable panelists include Emilia Arturo ’03 (B.S., applied mathematics and biology); Corina Bot ’10 (Ph.D., applied physics/biophysics); Karen Ekshian ’12 (B.Arch.); Erica Feldman ’10 (B.S., M.S., information technology); Annacler Harris-Blevin ’10 ’14 (B.S., M.S., industrial engineering); Marie Jackson, D.M.D. ’05 (B.S., engineering science); Dahmahlee Lawrence ’04 (B.Arch.); Tanya Masand ’12 (B.A., biology); Tiffany Morris, Ph.D. ’02 ’04 (B.S., electrical engineering, M.S., biomedical engineering); Aine O’Dwyer ’07 ’08 (B.S., M.S., civil engineering); Nkem Okoye ’13 (B.S., computer information systems); Lara Spinelli ’14 (M.S., mechanical engineering); and Ruchika Talwar ’13 (B.A., biology).

More information about the panelists may be found on the Honors College Colloquium Series webpage: honors.njit.edu/news/colloquium/.

To register for the WWS Roundtable and Mentorship Colloquium, visit https://goo.gl/forms/qlVSkJ9V1tbCjEQi2.