Scholars Program Panel Reflections: Enrollment & Learning

More and more women are choosing to pursue careers in what were once known as male-dominated fields. CWRU’s Women in Tech Initiative was created to support and educate females studying careers in technology and engineering by giving them access to a strong community of mentors and peers.

As part of that initiative, the Professional Development Scholars program was launched in 2020 to create a shared learning opportunity for women to develop and achieve their professional goals while maximizing their leadership potential. Areas of focus include networking, negotiating and communications.

Current students and recent graduates of the Scholars program participated in an online discussion moderated by the program’s facilitator, Pooja Khatija. Participants were asked a series of questions about how they’ve benefited from the program, and we’re pleased to be sharing excerpts from that discussion here:

Question: Why did you enroll in the Scholars program and what did you expect to learn?

Anjali Shankar, a senior biomedical engineering student with a minor in electrical engineering, learned of the Scholars program as soon as she joined the Women in Tech Initiative. Encouraged by one of her friends who was already enrolled, Anjali was excited to join and learn more about matters specific to women in technology. “I wanted the chance to talk about important issues related to my field and learn how to present my best professional self.”

Anjali’s classmate and fellow senior Francesca McDonald reiterated those goals and added additional perspective. “As I’m about to enter the workforce, I wanted to feel comfortable having certain conversations before entering a predominantly male-oriented field. I wanted to prepare myself in order to understand and navigate situations that might come up once I’m working.”

Electrical engineering major Wonyoung Choi added, “I specifically joined the program to work on my professional skills and learn from other people’s experiences regarding what’s happening in the tech industry. I’ve met a lot of great individuals and learned a lot from this program.”

Scholar Students

As the Scholars program progresses through its second year, it’s great to hear that the students participating were enticed by the idea of enhancing their professional skills and readying themselves for the workforce. These motivated women will undoubtedly benefit from the issues they’ve explored and the relationships they’ve made through their participation in the program.

This program would not be possible without the generous support of its sponsors, as well as supporters of the Women in Tech Initiative. Many thanks to:

  • Craig Newmark Philanthropies
  • Individual Donors: Ben Gomes (CWR ’90) and Deborah Weisser