What is the WISE Program?
(Yes, I followed the title trend of the last few bloggers’ posts!)
I’m in the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Program here at SBU. The way I describe it on my resume is “an honors program for high-achieving women”, which is the gist of it. Basically selection into the WISE program means that you qualified, and the university has high hopes for you in the STEM fields. (STEM= Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). The main requirements you must fulfill during your years at Stony Brook are a to take a few WISE classes, maintain a good GPA, and attend at least 3 events per semester. These events are fun and typically informative… past events include: movie nights, research panels, resume readings, ice skating in NYC, and manymany more!
The WISE program has a number of benefits; a community feeling, mentoring, priority-registration, scholarship opportunities, and the potential for good networking connections. During freshman year, WISE houses all of their members in Gray College in Mendelsohn Quad. (Other students live there too, but almost all of the WISE freshman are housed there, too). Having all of these familiar faces in one place is a very welcoming environment because it creates a sense of community. This campus is large, and it can be hard in the first semester to come out of your shell, so having a close group of friends is a good thing to have.
Mentoring, a requirement for all freshmen, is probably the second best thing being in WISE has done for me. A group of 4-6 freshman meet with an upperclassman WISE student of the same major for two hours twice a week. This mentoring time is used for homework help and discussing how to handle situations with a roommate/classmate/significant other. Mentoring was amazing for me because that’s how I met my roommate! Actually I met her the first time at the WISE orientation session in the summer before freshman year, but magically we were in the same mentoring group and became closer friends and eventually roommates.
Priority-registration is the most amazing perk of being in WISE. I have never been locked out of registering for a class, while my non-WISE friends have this occur on a regular basis. Getting into the right classes is important for your overall course sequence, especially for STEM majors because everything is prerequisite for another class you take later.
WISE typically sends out emails and posts flyers and information about scholarships we can apply to, which is always useful because who doesn’t want a little help financially?!
Networking, networking, networking. It’s a word you’ll hate at the beginning, but love later on. Freshman year, you’ll attend events that are aimed at helping you learn to network, but there’s really recipe on how to do it, you just have to jump in and do it. I’m finally in that stage where I’ve understood how to network as well as how to use those contacts as inside connections to pass off my resume and get more opportunities. WISE has various events throughout the year where you can network with alumni who are now working, and making those connections can help you out a lot in the future! (There are also alumni networking events for non-WISE students hosted by the Career Center or student clubs on campus, so if you’re not in WISE you still get this kind of an opportunity).
One perk I haven’t taken advantage of is the connection of WISE with Science Undergraduate Laboratory Internship (SULI) at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). This SULI program is open everyone, but they set aside 2 or 3 spots just for WISE students! One of my friends participated in this, and she absolutely loved it. I tried to get you guys a link, but the BNL website is down at the moment. If you want to find out more about the SULI program, here’s the general info from the Department of Energy.
I hope this helps you!
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