University of Georgia’s Women in Science Organization Establishes the “Females First Grant” Program

The Women in Science (WiSci) organization at the University of Georgia has established the Females First Grant program. Raising funds since 2016, the program has reached a point of self-sustainability. The group plans to award two to three small grants per year to be used for child care while women members attend a local or regional conference.

“One of the major reasons we lose women in STEM fields at such a high rate is that compared to other fields, we don’t accommodate the ability to have children,” said Barbara Del Castello, a third-year doctorate student in genetics and president of WiSci. “One such obstacle is that scientists need to attend conferences to meet collaborators, exchange ideas and see what new discoveries are being made. These conferences can be weeklong, and if a scientist has a child, lack of funds for adequate child care can deter them from attending, affecting their work and professional development. This is a particularly serious problem for graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and adjunct professors.”

Since its founding five years ago, WiSci has grown to incorporate students of all levels and all STEM disciplines. The group is also open to men and anyone interested in pursuing equality and diversity in science. The grant program is the latest development in the organization’s series of opportunities for women in STEM. The group also hosts several events each academic year, which provide women with mentoring, networking, and career development workshops.

“The Women in Science organization at UGA has been remarkably committed to women in science at all levels, from undergraduates all the way to faculty members,” said Rachel Roberts-Galbraith, an assistant professor in the department of cellular biology and active member of WiSci. “They do a great job helping these women, and the Females First Grant is a new chapter of their involvement that will be great for women with families and child care obligations to allow them more flexibility in their careers.”

Dr. Roberts-Galbraith is a graduate of Emory University in Atlanta, where she majored in biology and minored in religion. She holds a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

Filed Under: STEM Fields


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