Hertz Foundation Network for Success Kickoff Meeting

July 18, 2008
A group of Hertz Fellows gathered at the Molecular Foundry at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory July 18 to envision Hertz Foundation’s new “Network for Success”. When it is launched in the coming months, the pilot program will match alumni Fellows as mentors to in-school and early-career women Fellows and provide them with networking and professional development opportunities. The decision to focus the new program, at least initially, on women Fellows stems from research on—and first-hand knowledge of—the high rates of attrition of women scientists and engineers and the need for more intentional support to ensure their retention.[1]

Thanks to host LBL Staff Scientist Dierdre Olynick, Hertz Fellow 1996, the Fellows met all day with Foundation representatives at the state-of-the-art facility. The discussion was led by Hertz Foundation Director Candidate Wendy Cieslak, Hertz Fellow 1983 and now Senior Manager, Science, Technology and Engineering Strategic Initiatives at Sandia National Laboratories. The conversation ranged from the myriad challenges facing young women (and men) scientists and engineers to the need for academic and professional mentoring, networking with former Fellows, and professional skills training.

Among the ideas for the new program generated at the planning meeting were the following draft goals and suggested workshop topics:

Goals
Promote the leadership skills of early-career Hertz female Fellows
Promote the success of all Hertz women in science and engineering
Reduce the “brain drain” of women leaving science and engineering

Workshop Topics
Goal-setting and career planning
Communication skills
Managing people
Time management.

[1]While more than 54% of graduate students in the sciences and engineering were women, less than 33% of PhDs in these fields were awarded to women, according to 2003 research by Jane Z. Daniels, Ph.D. and Sue V. Rosser, Ph.D., “Examining the Problem of Underrepresentation Through a Study of Award-winning Women Faculty”, AWIS Magazine, Summer 2003; Only 6% of full professorships in the physical sciences were held by women, according to the same study; and fully one in four women who entered engineering left the profession after the age of 30, compared to one in ten of their male counterparts, according to a 2007 study by the Society of Women Engineers.

Network for Success - Back row: Eleanor Smith, Wendy Cieslak, Jessica Chuang Seeliger, Elizabeth Stephens, Susan Overman. Front row: Ginny Bryant, Kimberly Beatty, Diedre Olynick
Network for Success - Back row: Eleanor Smith, Wendy Cieslak, Jessica Chuang Seeliger, Elizabeth Stephens, Susan Overman. Front row: Ginny Bryant, Kimberly Beatty, Diedre Olynick
Wendy Cieslak, Alumni Fellow, and Jessica Chuang Seeliger, Alumni Fellow.
Wendy Cieslak, Alumni Fellow, and Jessica Chuang Seeliger, Alumni Fellow.
Wendy Cieslak, Alumni Fellow, and Elizabeth Stephens, Current Fellow.
Wendy Cieslak, Alumni Fellow, and Elizabeth Stephens, Current Fellow.
Dierdre Olynick, Alumni Fellow.
Dierdre Olynick, Alumni Fellow.