Two of the women's restrooms in William E. Kirwan Hall are now neon oases of encouragement, as a riot of purple, pink, yellow, blue and orange sticky notes brighten the beige-tiled wall and mirrors with rallying cries: “Take one day at a time,” “I can and I will” and “In the words of Dory: Just keep swimming."
These dozens of tiny boosts are the results of a project spearheaded by Jessica Sadler, a program manager in the Department of Mathematics, to foster a sense of camaraderie among women in STEM.
“Almost immediately, students started participating and the walls filled up,” she said. “The reaction was very welcoming and enthusiastic.” The notes are a reminder that in the world of math, science and technology, women are present and in one another’s corner, said Sadler.
Students agree. “It can be isolating to be in a male-dominated field,” said Valerie Wray, a math doctoral student and vice president of Women in Mathematics at UMD. “The Post-its helped me see that everyone’s supporting each other.”
Article by Sala Levin, Photo by Stephanie S. Cordle