The Gender Equity Project's (GEP's) Sponsorship Program had as its goal the professional development of women engaged in basic science at Hunter College. The NSF, the GEP, and Hunter College recognize that women scientists typically have fewer resources and opportunities than do men. The sponsorship program took innovative, direct action to benefit women's professional development and scientific work, whether that work was their current research or a new research direction. The program was flexible and tailored to an individual woman's strengths and needs. It was part of Hunter College's commitment to its women scientists.
The GEP Sponsorship Program benefited 8-12 associates per year. The program was open to Hunter College women scientists of any age and at any point in their career. Each GEP associate received the benefits of working with a sponsor who was a senior and successful member of the associate's field. The GEP associates committed themselves via contract to a set of goals and activities, including but not limited to submission of grant proposals and journal articles, attendance at colloquia and workshops, and development of skills. Each associate received up to $10,000 that was used for research.
The GEP sponsors served as intellectual sounding boards for the associates, met bi-weekly with them to review their progress, discussed the intellectual content of their work, helped set and modify goal deadlines, helped strategize about professional development, and made specific and concrete proposals for the associates' next steps. Sponsors signed a contract that committed them to a set of activities and received up to $5,000 that was used for research.
The colloquia and workshops covered a broad range of topics. They were designed to provide a research-based framework for the particular topics under discussion. The aim was to clarify what leads to success in professional development, how institutions may differentially foster development, and what social cognitive phenomena and principles advantage men more than women.
The 30 talented women scientists who participated in the GEP's Sponsorship Program conduct cutting-edge research, receive prestigious grants and awards, and publish in leading scientific journals.
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