Hill-Lopes Scholars branch out, virtually

By Cody Boteler on March 22, 2021

‘Women in STEM Wednesdays’ aims to reach wider university community

Hill Lopes Scholars
A group photo of the inaugural cohort of Hill-Lopes Scholars. (Photo from 2019.)

Earlier this year, the Hill-Lopes Scholars Program, dedicated to improving the advancement and retention of women in STEM, began offering weekly programming to the university community.

Dubbed “Women in STEM Wednesdays,” the virtual events alternate week to week. One may be a talk from an alumna who works in data science, and the next is a workshop on personal finance or self-care. Most recently, there was a career chat with an educator from a planetarium.

"It’s a way for students to see their potential future after they leave TU," says Kristin Pinkowski, program coordinator for Hill-Lopes Scholars. "There are jobs out there where they can use their degree."

The weekly offerings are a way for the program to branch out to the wider university community, Pinkowski says. The first such university-wide event held by the program was a virtual visit from Rita Colwell, a renowned scientist and the first woman to head the National Science Foundation.

The Hill-Lopes Scholars Program was established in 2019 through a generous gift from Barbara Hill and Ancelmo Lopes, with the two saying they have a passion for making science exciting and welcoming for underrepresented students. 

Selected scholars participate for up to three years and receive a scholarship every term they are eligible, in addition to financial assistance to attend professional scientific meetings, participate in workshops and more.

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Interested in the Hill-Lopes Scholars Program?

To learn more about the Hill-Lopes Scholars program, including how to apply to be a part of the next cohort of scholars, click here.

Meghan Ely, from the Philadelphia area, is a junior studying biology with a minor in women & gender studies. She values the sense of community she gets from the program and, as part of the inaugural cohort of scholars, has enjoyed building and developing the culture of the program.

"I have gotten so much out of Hill-Lopes, so I really appreciate that folks who aren’t in the program can get something out of it as well through ‘Women in STEM Wednesdays,’" she says.

Although it’s not yet clear what “Women in STEM Wednesdays” will look like as the TU community begins to return to in-person instruction and on-campus experiences, Pinkowski wants it to become a regular occurrence that people know to look for.

"We hope it becomes something where, people go, ‘Oh, it’s Wednesday, Hill-Lopes is doing something. I wonder what it is,’" she says.