WISE Program

UI Women in Science and Engineering: Our History

The University of Iowa Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program was established in August of 1994 with joint support from the offices of the Vice President for Research (VPR) and the Provost. Establishing a formal UI WISE program was the first on a list of recommended initiatives put forward by a group of UI faculty, staff, and students who recognized the need for a more structured approach to increasing the number of women in STEM, in their Campus Action Plan: Women in Science, Engineering, and Mathematics, April 1993. The action plan was developed in the months following the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Conference at Indiana University, October 1992, sponsored by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC) and attended by 25 UI participants.

The overall goals of the 1993 Campus Action Plan were as follows.

  • To increase the participation of women at all levels in science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs at the University of Iowa, with particular emphasis for ensuring equal access and opportunity for women in STEM disciplines in which they are traditionally underrepresented.
  • To provide support and opportunity to all women currently participating in STEM programs at the University of Iowa, including women of color and women with disabilities, so that these individuals may reach their full professional potential.
  • To integrate the ideas, strengths, and approaches of women into the research, teaching, and service provided by the University.

The specific recommendation that lead to the formalization of the UI WISE Program is as follows:

1. Establish a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program.

Women in STEM at the University of Iowa share common concerns, including mentoring/networking and career development. To coordinate our efforts, we recommend that the University of Iowa develop a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program modeled after the one at the University of Michigan. This program provides offerings to pre-college, undergraduate, and graduate students as well as support for research, seminars, and services. In addition, the program could provide support services for female faculty and staff. A central program such as this would provide more focus to our efforts. The University should set the goal of establishing this program by the end of calendar year 1994.

The Campus Action Plan was taken very seriously by upper administration and the recommendation to develop a formal WISE Program was approved. The task of developing the structure and function of the anticipated WISE Program fell to the WISE Interim Advisory Committee, which consisted of seven members, five of whom are still at the University of Iowa. They are listed here with their current titles.

Susan Johnson, M.D. - Associate Provost for Faculty, University of Iowa
Alice Fulton, Ph.D. - Professor in Biochemistry, University of Iowa
Kenneth Moore - Director of the Central Electron Microscopy Facility, University of Iowa
Irith Pomeranz, Ph.D. - Professor of Computer and Electrical Engineering, Purdue University
Gerene Denning, Ph.D. - Research Scientist in Emergency Medicine, University of Iowa
Martha Monick - Senior Research Assistant in Internal Medicine, University of Iowa


Over the years, the WISE program has benefited from the time and talent of many students, staff and faculty at the University of Iowa.

The list below is not all-inclusive but does identify those employees who gave considerable time to WISE over the years. If you feel your name should appear on this list or you know of someone we have inadvertently left off, please let us know.

WISE Program Directors
Beverly Marshall-Goodell    1994-1998
Chris Peterson Brus    1998-Present

WISE Associate Director
Gerene Denning    Research Scientist, VAH/COM    2000-Present

WISE Assistant Director
Andrea Beloy    Undergraduate Programs    2006-2008

WISE Faculty Directors
Alice Fulton    Professor, Biochemistry    1994-1998
Henrietta Logan    Professor, Dentistry    1998-1999
Mary Hall (Hallsie) Reno    Professor, Physics    2000-2005

WISE Program Staff
Kay Mescher    WISE Faculty Consultant    1995-1999
                           Associate Professor, Preventive & Community Dentistry
Betsy Riesz    Peer Mentoring Coordinator    1996 -2006 (retired)

WISE Graduate Assistants
Ann Bossen    Nursing
Jill Smith    Urban and Regional Planning
Sara Sauers    Center for the Book
Yolanda Edwards    Preventive & Community Dentistry
Janelle Torres y Torres    Medicinal and Natural Products Chemistry
Vandana Cheerala    Preventive Medicine & Environmental Health
Ruchika Chandran    Physical Rehabilitation Science
Kelly Finn    Mathematics Education
Bethany Lewis    Medicine and Master's in Public Health
Julie Hill    Law
Lili Zhao    Statistics
Shan Bao    Industrial Engineering, Human Factors
Lisa Jones-Hall    Law
Maria (Tess) Barker    Law and Higher Ed Administration
Amy Southwood    Education

WISE Support Staff
Shari Heick
Kathleen Testin
Ruth Kenton
Angie Dickey

WISE Learning Community Resident Assistants and Liaisons
Stacey Lens    RA    1999-2002
Sanela Zenkovic    RA    2002-04
Katherine Bunce    RA    2003-06
Andrea Rogers    Liaison    2004-06
Shameika Wilmington    RA    2004-006,    Liaison    2006-07
Sara Estrin    RA    2006-07
Julie Brasefield    RA    2006-2008
Crystal Moody    RA    2007-present
Elizabeth Breitbach    RA    2008-present
Alesha Nickeson    Liaison    2008-present

Undergraduate Mentoring Program Assistants
Heidi Zahner
Joan Griebenow
Meagan Mulvey
Tracey Cook
Amanda Stahle
Nora Wilson
Cephas Miningou
Kelsey Montross
Madeline Godar

Undergraduate Office Assistants
Rhea Golveo
Egbe Osamwonyi
Tangelia Robinson
Laura Itle
Amanda Smith
Kristina Kuraitis
Jennifer Lahr
Christy Lahr
Lauren Lasak
Jaime Tanner
Sarah Stabler
Adrienne Frederick
Rita Shapiro

WISE Advisory Board Members (listed with their historic units)
John Achrazoglou    Faculty, Director Info Tech. Mgmt III, College of Education
Rachel Anderson    Faculty, Health Management & Policy, College of Public Health
Sheila Barron    Faculty, Educational Measurement & Statistics, College of Education
Linda Boyle    Faculty, Industrial Engineering, College of Engineering
Mary Campbell    Faculty, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Kate Cowles    Faculty, Statistics & Biostatistics, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Deborah Dawson    Faculty, Dows Institute for Research, College of Dentistry
Susan Everett    Faculty, Science Education, College of Education
Carol Fethke    Faculty, Economics, College of Business
Minnetta Gardinier    Faculty, Pharmacology, College of Medicine
Lois Garland-Patterson    Faculty, College of Pharmacy
Vicki Grassian    Faculty, Chemistry, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Nicole Grosland    Faculty, Biomedical Engineering, College of Engineering
Julie Jessop    Faculty, Chemical Engineering, College of Engineering
Nancy Lill    Faculty, Pharmacology, College of Medicine
Heather MacDonald    Faculty, Urban & Regional Planning, Graduate College
Horacio Olivo    Faculty, Medicinal & Natural Products Chemistry, College of Pharmacy
Norb Pienta    Faculty, Chemistry, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Tom Rocklin    Faculty, Center for Teaching, Office of the Provost
Victor Rodgers    Faculty, Chemical & Biochemical Engineering
Debbie Segaloff    Faculty, Physiology & Biophysics, College of Medicine
Padmini Srinivasan    Faculty, Library & Information Science, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Lisa Troyer    Faculty, Sociology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Val Garr    Staff, Opportunity at Iowa, Office of the Provost
Carolyn Lieberg    Staff, Center for Teaching, Office of the Provost
Lynda Ostedgaard    Staff, Internal Medicine, College of Medicine
Dottie Persson    Staff Librarian, Psychology, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
James Schmeling    Staff, Law, Health Policy & Disability Center, College of Law
Doty Simpson-Taylor    Staff, Director of Diversity Resources, Office of Equal Opportunity & Diversity
Billie Townsend    Staff, Administration - Office of the Dean, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Janelle Torres y Torres    Postdoctoral fellow, Medicinal & Natural Products Chemistry, College of Pharmacy
Sara Hill    Graduate student, College of Law
Sondra Miller    Graduate student, College of Engineering
Teresa Garcia    Graduate student, Social Foundations, College of Education
Jill Smith    Graduate student, Urban & Regional Planning, College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
Michelle Sukup    Graduate student, Biomedical Engineering/Integrative Physiology, College of Engineering
Arielle Hardré    Undergraduate student
Stacey Lens    Undergraduate student
Megan Mulvey    Undergraduate student
Andrea Rogers    Undergraduate student
Shameika Wilmington    Undergraduate student

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