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Women in Science Project
6243 Parker House, 2nd floor
(Located in a two-story white frame house)
Hanover, NH
Phone: (603) 646-3690
Email: WISP@Dartmouth.EDU

About WISP


WISP’s mission is to collaborate in creating a learning environment where women can thrive in science, engineering and mathematics.

This broad goal is achieved by enhancing the experiences of Dartmouth women, particularly in their first year, through a comprehensive set of proven intervention strategies, including:

  • Mentoring
  • Early hands-on research experience
  • Role models
  • Access to information
  • Building a community in the sciences

Dartmouth College established WISP in 1990 to address the under-representation of women in science, mathematics, and engineering. Dartmouth designed WISP with a focus on retaining women in science and an emphasis on women in their first year. Recognizing that women leave science for many reasons, WISP encompassed a variety of programs providing undergraduate and graduate women throughout their academic careers with mentors and role models, information on educational and career opportunities in science, academic support, and a community of women engaged in the study of science.

The Women in Science Project at Dartmouth began with a commitment to increase the number of women pursuing their interests in science, math, and engineering. A study of factors leading to attrition from the sciences at four universities, including Dartmouth, showed that women who entered the College interested in the sciences were leaving those fields of study, including engineering, at higher rates than their male counterparts. This finding was consistent with other literature concerning women’s participation in science, which identified the most likely causes of women’s under-representation in these fields to be:

  • Early socialization
  • Lower self-confidence, particularly in male-dominated field
  • Lower expectations from parents, teachers and others
  • Less “tinkering” or hands-on experience
  • Exclusive teaching practices in introductory college SEM courses
  • Lack of critical mass

Both research and experience at Dartmouth suggested that a series of intervention strategies could ameliorate the attrition. Over the years, WISP has developed a variety of programs, activities and strategies to meet individual needs and to enhance the educational achievement for women in the sciences.

Last Updated: 11/9/10