Clemson marks Women’s History Month; students award scholarship
CLEMSON — Clemson University will spotlight women throughout the month of March during Women’s History Month.
Members of Programs for Educational Enrichment and Retention (PEER) and Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) invited six Clemson alumnae to campus for a networking session at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Freeman Hall auditorium, room 078.
“Current women at Clemson majoring in STEM will be able to see our alumni who are now thriving professionals in STEM,” said Serita Acker, director of PEER/WISE. “The panelists serve as role models and examples of success stories despite the low percentage of women in these fields.”
Attendees will learn how the panelists transitioned from Clemson to their careers through both accomplishments and challenges.
Crystal Pee, a mentor and chair for the professional development committee of PEER/WISE, says the series of PEER Talks also celebrate the organization’s 30th anniversary.
“The accomplishments of these women are a true testament of what is possible with focus and dedication,” Pee said. “As PEER/WISE students, we are encouraged to overcome adversity and carve our own paths to success.”
NASA official speaks at PEER Talk
More than 150 people gathered for a PEER Talk in the Watt Family Innovation Center Feb. 22 to hear panelists in the STEM profession. The talk featured guest Vanessa Wyche, a Clemson alumna and deputy director of NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
Wyche answered a list of audience questions including how she juggles her professional life with her personal life.
“It takes two people to work together to make it work,” Wyche said. “If you’re a single parent raising your child, you need a network, people that can help you.”
Wyche said she relies on her husband, mother-in-law and friends to help raise her son. She also said it helps that she has other women she can turn to in the workplace.
“As women, we have a network where we can connect and go to one another to discuss some of the issues we have,” Wyche said. “When I first started working, there were only about eight percent female engineers and we’re now at about 35 percent at NASA. There are a lot more women in the room so you have that sister you can connect with.”
Scholarship presented to student
Pee and boyfriend William L. Bowman III funded their first Clemson scholarship and presented it during the event. Bowman is also a STEM student majoring in chemical engineering.
“William and I wanted to create something for someone else that would stimulate the kind of exposure we were afforded here at Clemson,” Pee said. “Exposure unleashes potentiality, opportunity and a mind capable of thinking to convert a dream into truth.”
Pee and Bowman, both seniors, awarded freshman Illana Jamison with a $1,000 Stained Glass Award. Jamison, plans to major in biomaterials engineering. Jamison wrote an essay on what it meant to either become or move beyond a glass ceiling in business, politics or a STEM field.
“Illana believes the historical definition of glass ceiling needs to be shattered, not the ceiling itself,” Pee said. “She redefines the concept by allowing those who come after her to be able to see through the proverbial barrier and see themselves in her on the other side because representation in different fields is everything.”
The President’s Commission on Women’s website lists all Clemson events for Women’s History Month. Click here for details.