Last year IPPOG welcomed Women in Technology (WIT) as Partner and Collaborator. February is a special month in the universe of science. In fact, since 2015, UN General Assembly decided to establish the 11th of February asan the annual International Day to recognise the critical role women and girls play in science and technology.
WIT was born as a community to validate the role of women present at CERN. A young community full of enthusiasm that grows day by day.
Recently we interviewed part of the Steering Committee: Erica Brondolin (Physicist at CMS Experiment), Florentia Protopsalti (Engineer at CERN), Kate Whalen (Physicist at CMS Experiment), Maria Alandes Pradillo (Engineer at CERN) Simona Kriva (Alumni Relations Communications Officer at CERN).
How was WIT born, when and why?
Answered by: Erica Brondolin
The Women in Technology group (WIT) is a grass-roots community created at CERN in early 2016. The idea for such community started when several new members of the IT department realised that similar women networks, from which they had benefited at university and in industry, did not exist at CERN, or even in the local area. Therefore, they decided to found a community at CERN where colleagues could exchange ideas on common topics and share career advice and experiences.
Who can be part of it? Only women?
Answered by: Florentia Protopsalti
WIT is a community that welcomes everyone regardless of gender or educational background. You can join us by subscribing to the “wit-matters” e-group, if you have a CERN account, and be informed about our upcoming events and receive our Friday links.
On top of that, we are always looking for passionate people to join the organising team and help out with our activities, whether it's WIT talks or other events, social media, mentoring or outreach. If you are interested, please get in touch and join the team.
Who is your target?
Answered by: Kate Whalen
Our main targets are women affiliated with CERN, working in any field: physicists, engineers, technicians, administrative staff, etc. But of course, anyone is welcome to join us! We are happy to welcome allies who are interested in creating networking opportunities, exchanging career advice, or learning more about issues affecting women at CERN.
As WIT has grown over the years, we have also expanded our reach to the wider community via our outreach and social media networks. Our aim is to show girls and women that science and technology are fun, challenging, and rewarding, and that a wide range of career opportunities exist for women of all backgrounds who are interested in STEM.
What outreach activities do you carry out?
Answered by: Maria Alandes Pradillo
WIT organises and participates in a variety of locally organised outreach events, mostly focused on young children in the Geneva and neighbouring France region. Some examples are the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on 11th February and the International Girls in ICT Day on 23rd April. Other initiatives to promote science among girls are Django Girls or Expand your horizons, where WIT participates on a regular basis. WIT has been very active in the past years developing workshops and activities for primary school kids, high-school kids and also families. Some examples are programming and robotics workshops for children and teenagers, and other activities to bring particle physics closer to young kids and families. More information is available in https://wit-hub.web.cern.ch/outreach/.
Is it true that there are WIT lunches and coffees? Who can join and how?
Answered by: Simona Kriva
A variety of informal networking events is organised by WIT as well, to complement more educational and experience-sharing events, in which CERN people can take part. These coffees, lunches or other meet-ups are always advertised on our Mattermost channel, as it provides the most spontaneous and fast way of staying up-to-date with our latest events; and we regularly share them in our Friday Links newsletter.
As with all our activities, everyone is more than welcome to join, it’s always a very relaxed and welcoming space, where we learn about each other and get to know people whom we might otherwise not have a chance to meet at CERN. You would be amazed by the plethora of different expertise at CERN! Join us!