AWIS Announces 2021 ‘Shooting Star’ Chapter Awards

April 15, 2022



Shelley O’Brien

AWIS Announces 2021 ‘Shooting Star’ Chapter Awards

WASHINGTON DC, April 15, 2022 – The Association for Women in Science (AWIS) has designated nine ‘Shooting Star’ Chapters in recognition of their resiliency, digital engagement, innovative outreach, vision, and unique initiatives during 2021. These chapters include Sacramento Valley, DC, Houston, San Diego, Georgia, Notre Dame, Chicago, Palo Alto, Philadelphia. The winning chapters were determined by AWIS’ Chapter Advisory Committee based on the information submitted in each chapter’s annual report. Each of these chapters will receive a $300 grant for use in chapter activities that support the AWIS mission and/or help promote membership.

Below is more information on the activities recognized by these awards. Kudos to these chapters for exceptional performance:

Shooting Star for Resiliency

  • AWIS Sacramento Valley embraced the positive elements that virtual events offer—greater reach, connectivity, and the ability to host speakers who aren’t local—and delivered high-quality programming on topics relevant to members.
  • AWIS DC identified a new paradigm for their mentoring circles program. They alternated between informal networking and hosting speakers focused on mentorship and connection. They also collaborated with other Mid-Atlantic AWIS chapters.


Shooting Star for Digital Engagement

  • AWIS Houston made social media and digital platforms a strategic priority for engaging with members and the STEM community. The insights gathered helped to improve content quality and increased awareness of the chapter in the local STEM community.
  • AWIS San Diego’s Planning Committee organized a virtual Women in Science and Technology (WIST) Conference in May 2021 using the Gathertown platform. They also organized virtual “Coffee Chats” over Zoom with professionals in different biotech careers and a “Meet a Scientist” series.


Shooting Star for Innovative Outreach

  • AWIS Georgia facilitated online career panels, leadership seminars, science demonstrations, movie screenings, and networking socials for numerous schools and/or partnering organizations. They issued 18 scholarships for students to attend K–12 STEM camps or summer collegiate research experiences. They also hosted a virtual drive to increase voter registration across the state and opposed Georgia House Bill 418.
  • AWIS Notre Dame worked with local high schoolers to provide feedback on their projects for the regional science fair and began planning an event to celebrate the 50th anniversary of undergraduate women being admitted to the College of Science.


Shooting Star for Unique Initiatives

  • AWIS Chicago doubled the number of participants in their 2021 Mentoring Circles program and raffled three scholarships for mentees who participated throughout the Summer. They also created a written feature called “Scientist of the Month” and a podcast called “Innovators & Motivators” to spotlight contributions of local women in STEM. In the Fall of 2021, their annual awards event celebrated winners across all career levels.
  • AWIS Palo Alto conducted a survey which confirmed that coaching can be costly, especially for members early in their careers, such as students, postdocs, and young faculty members. They then hired professional coaches and offered free workshops and personal coaching sessions to aid personal and career development. They also welcomed new board members with diverse backgrounds and affiliations.


Shooting Star for Strategic Vision

  • As AWIS Philadelphia approached its 35th anniversary, they engaged in intensive strategic planning for 2021–2026. They developed a vision for member recruitment, engagement, and retention, as well as a clear picture of how to accomplish the chapter’s goals and objectives.


In addition to the ‘Shooting Star’ Chapter Awards, the following chapters will receive the AWIS ‘Star Chapter’ Award for outstanding participation in working to achieve the AWIS mission over the last year:

  • AWIS Chicago
  • AWIS East Bay, CA
  • AWIS Georgia
  • AWIS Houston
  • AWIS Massachusetts (Boston)
  • AWIS Metro Washington DC
  • AWIS New York – (WiNS)
  • AWIS Notre Dame
  • AWIS Palo Alto
  • AWIS Philadelphia
  • AWIS Sacramento Valley
  • AWIS San Diego



About AWIS: Founded in 1971, AWIS has been the leading advocate for women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to achieve business growth, social change, and innovation. We are dedicated to driving excellence in STEM by achieving equity and full participation of women in all disciplines and across all employment sectors. In addition to scholarships, AWIS provides career resources, professional development, as well as networking, mentoring, and volunteer opportunities to build leadership skills. To learn more, visit and @AWISNational.