AWARES Starts 5th year with Largest Class in Program History

Dec. 30, 2019
AWARES 2019-2020 is the largest class in program history

In October 2019, students and mentors packed the AWARES 2019-2020 kick-off meetings, that had to be held on two nights due to a surge in interest. Tables had to be rearranged and chairs brought in from surrounding offices to accommodate the groups. 56 students make up this year’s class. With mentors, that’s 112 program participants.

This is the largest class yet for the AWARES program, which brings together women studying STEM majors at The Ohio State University with the goal of increasing career retention for women in science and engineering fields. AWARES stands for Aspiration for Womens Advancement and Retention in Engineering and Science, and was founded in 2015 by Dr. Gönül Kaletunç, professor of food engineering in the Department of Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering. 

AWARES growth over time

The program aims to equip students with the necessary social skills for a smooth transition to work place and a successful career in the engineering professions. Students meet with their peers in a learning community on a bi-monthly basis to discuss topics, share experiences, and motivate one another. On the alternating weeks, students are paired with a woman from an industry relating to the students’ interests to continue these discussions outside of the community and serve as a mentor. 

Since its inception in 2015, the AWARES program has grown steadily. But this year interest surged, leading to the 2019-2020 class being larger than the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 classes combined. 

This year also represents the greatest diversity in majors of study for students in the program, with 16 unique academic disciplines represented. Students from 10 of the engineering majors offered by Ohio State are now represented in the AWARES program. Majors from the College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the College of Arts and Sciences are also represented.

AWARES representation by major

After completing the first half of the program, AWARES will start the 2nd  half with the panel discussion on “Sexual Harassment in the Work Place.” The panel discussion will be organized for the third time this year to inform the attendees about their rights, legal definition of sexual harassment as well as the efforts in the university and industries to prevent sexual harassment and how to support the sexual harassment victims. The event is organized this year in partnership with the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) on January 8, 2020 in Pomerance Hall, Ohio Union from 6:30 to 8:30 pm. Panel members include

Camille Hébert, Professor of Law in Moritz College of Law 
Kellie Brennan, OSU Title IX Coordinator 
Marlene Lesko, Human Resources Director, Batelle 
Yvette Hunsicker, Honda VP of Diversity, Inclusion & HR 
Rachel Leitson, Student, Construction Systems Management
Allison Whitney, Student, Material Science and Engineering

Use the following link to register for the event:

awards and swe event flyer