AWIS Chapter Spotlight – Houston
AWIS Houston: Empowering the STEM Community through Collaboration and Recognition
Houston, known as the Space City, is not only a hub for groundbreaking space exploration but also boasts the prestigious titles of the world capital of the oil and gas industry and the largest life sciences destination with the Texas Medical Center (TMC). In this vibrant city where scientific innovation thrives, the AWIS Houston Chapter plays a pivotal role as an umbrella organization, uniting STEM professionals across the region.
Established with the primary goal of supporting individuals with STEM backgrounds, regardless of their gender, the AWIS Houston Chapter has made significant contributions to the local STEM community. This article aims to highlight some of their notable achievements and showcase the chapter’s commitment to fostering collaboration, career development, mental health, and the recognition of women in science.
Promoting Career Development:
Recognizing the importance of fostering professional growth among its members, the AWIS Houston Chapter was honored with the 2020 AWIS Shooting Star Award for Career Development. The chapter launched the virtual monthly Career Development Seminar Series, inviting speakers from various disciplines to engage in open conversations with local STEM professionals. These seminars have provided an invaluable platform for knowledge exchange and networking, allowing individuals to explore new career opportunities, broaden their skill sets, and navigate the ever-evolving STEM landscape.
Celebrating Achievements and Mental Health:
In 2022, the AWIS Houston Chapter initiated an initiative to promote mental health within the STEM community. Acknowledging that even the smallest achievements deserve celebration, the chapter began a tradition of highlighting the personal and professional successes of its members. Whether it was mastering a new language or fostering a pet, member triumphs were recognized and applauded. By creating a supportive space to honor these accomplishments, the chapter nurtured a positive environment that fostered resilience and well-being.
Honoring Outstanding Women in Science:
Another key aspect of the AWIS Houston Chapter’s mission is to recognize the outstanding contributions of women in STEM. To achieve this, they introduced the Outstanding Women in Science (OWIS) awards. Nominations are gathered from across the Houston metropolitan area, and the winners are determined through a board voting process. The honored awardees are then invited to exclusive networking events, where their voices are amplified and their stories of breaking boundaries, finding passion, and displaying resilience are shared. Through these events, attendees are inspired by the personal experiences of the speakers, forging connections and drawing strength from one another.
Feedback from post-event surveys attests to the impact of these gatherings, as members find great value in hearing the stories shared by the OWIS awardees. By relating their own experiences to those of the speakers, attendees form a deeper connection to the broader STEM community and gain insights that can shape their own journeys.
Building a Stronger STEM Community:
The AWIS Houston Chapter’s efforts extend far beyond individual recognition and career development. By bringing together scientists, researchers, professionals, and students from different institutions and organizations, the chapter acts as a unifying force, fostering collaboration and strengthening the local STEM community. Through its diverse range of programs, events, and initiatives, the chapter provides a platform for individuals to connect, share ideas, and collectively work towards advancing scientific knowledge and innovation.
The AWIS Houston Chapter has been centered around promoting collaboration, supporting career development, nurturing mental well-being, and recognizing the remarkable accomplishments of women in STEM. As Houston’s STEM landscape continues to evolve, the AWIS Houston Chapter stands as a beacon of inspiration, promoting diversity, inclusivity, and excellence in the pursuit of scientific knowledge and innovation.