Restroom Message Campaign Encourages Women in Math: ‘Stick’ With It

sticky notes that read, "I can and I will," "finals will be over soon," "you are loved," live love women in the math building"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