WitsOn Announces Commitment to Equal Futures Partnership, a New White House Initiative Promoting Women in Science

September 25, 2012

Online Mentorship Program Sponsored by Piazza and Harvey Mudd College Targets National Priority of Increasing Women’s Participation in STEM Careers

New York, NY (PRWEB) September 25, 2012

Harvey Mudd College and Piazza, the social learning network for students and instructors, joined Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, dignitaries from 12 United Nations member nations, and leaders from nine other U.S.-based organizations in launching the Equal Futures Partnership– a U.N. and White House initiative to improve social and economic conditions for women worldwide. Piazza and Harvey Mudd College jointly sponsor WitsOn, the first online community mentorship program to support students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering and math. Launched last week, WitsOn connects undergraduates pursuing STEM degrees with female mentors from industry and academia who can speak from personal experience about issues of particular concern to young women. More than 60 leading colleges and universities and 10,000 students have signed on to be part of the program, which begins Oct. 1. Within the past week, the Anita Borg Institute has also joined WitsOn as an outreach partner, and more than 70 additional universities have applied to join the program. Students can register at https://piazza.com/witson.

To help young women envision careers in science and technology, the WitsOn program encourages students to ask mentors questions about how they’ve balanced commitments to career, family, faith and community. The most popular questions will be answered by a diverse group of mentors from dozens of schools and companies. Lead mentors will answer by video. Mentors include Astronaut Mae Jemison, California Institute of Technology Chemist Jackie Barton, Cisco Chief Technology & Strategy Officer Padma Warrior, former Welch-Allyn CEO Julie Shimer, Microsoft Vice President Julie Larson-Green, and Harvey Mudd College President Maria Klawe.

Recognizing that no country can realize its potential if half its population cannot reach theirs, President Obama issued a challenge before the U.N. General Assembly in September 2011 to break down barriers to women´s political and economic empowerment. In response to this challenge, Secretary of State Clinton launched the Equal Futures Partnership, whose goal is for women to participate fully in public life and to lead and benefit from economic growth. In addition to the U.S., the Partnership includes 12 other founding member nations (Australia, Benin, Bangladesh, Denmark, Finland, Indonesia, Jordan, the Netherlands, Peru, Senegal, and Tunisia; as well as the European Union), and is supported by partnerships with the U.N., World Bank and private sector entities including Piazza, Harvey Mudd College, Intel and the Clinton Global Initiative.

“When I met representatives from the Office of Science and Technology Policy last spring with the idea for WitsOn, they couldn’t have been more enthusiastic and helpful,” said Pooja Sankar, CEO of Piazza. “We’re so honored to work with Harvey Mudd College to respond to the Equal Futures Challenge – to enlist the smartest women in America to make sure everyone has an opportunity for a rewarding career in science and technology.”

“The Equal Futures Partnership resonates deeply with our efforts at Harvey Mudd College, where the latest first-year class is almost evenly split between men and women,” said President Klawe. “Of all the initiatives I’ve undertaken, I’ve never seen as much enthusiasm as I have for WitsOn. I think President Obama will see widespread support for the Equal Futures Challenge.”

WitsOn uses Piazza’s social learning platform, a collaboration platform for college students allowing them to conduct academic work under the guidance of their instructors. In less than two years, Piazza has grown from a handful of students at Stanford to 500,000 across the world, in thousands of classes ranging in size from six to 12,000.

WitsOn is open to any undergraduate student in a U.S. or Canadian college or university. Instructors and administrators can also enroll their students in the program directly. The program runs from Oct. 1 through Nov. 9. Details and registration are available at https://piazza.com/witson.

WitsOn Lead Institutions Providing Mentors Include:

California Institute of Technology

Carnegie Mellon University

Case Western Reserve University

Claremont Graduate University

Claremont McKenna College

Cornell University

Cumberland University

Daniel Webster College

Dartmouth College

Drexel University

Duke University

Florida State University

Georgia Institute of Technology

Harvey Mudd College

Kaplan University

Keck Graduate Institute

Kettering University

Loyola Marymount University

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Miami University

Mississippi University for Women

Ohio University

Olin College

Oregon State University

Pennsylvania State University

Pitzer College

Pomona College

Princeton University

Purdue University

Scripps College

Smith College

Stanford University

Tallahassee Community College

Texas A&M University

Truman State University

University of Alberta

University of British Columbia

University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Davis

University of California, Irvine

University of California, Los Angeles Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science

University of California, Riverside

University of California, Santa Barbara

University of California, Santa Cruz

University of California, San Diego

University of Chicago

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

University of Maryland, College Park

University of Michigan

University of Minnesota

University of Montana

University of New Hampshire, Durham

University of New Hampshire, Manchester

University of Oregon

University of Texas at Austin

University of Toronto

University of Washington

University of Wisconsin-Madison

University of Southern California

Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Yale University

Companies Providing Mentors

Allied Machine and Engineering Corporation



Archer Daniels Midland Co.

Arsenal Medical

ATS Consulting

AT&T Labs Research

Automated Test Equipment

BAE Systems Inc.

Beckman Coulter

Biomedical Research Services



Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Company



Davis Systems

DE Shaw

Drawloop Technologies



GE Energy

Glyde Corporation

General Motors


Hammer Tutoring








Isuzu Manufacturing

Jet Propulsion Laboratory

KD Ventures

Lam Research


Learning Games Network

Liquid Entertainment

Living Classroom Foundation

Livingston & Haven

Lockheed Martin

Logic PD

Magna Powertrain

Mazzetti Nash Lipsey Burch


Medtronic MiniMed, Inc.


Miss CEO




Northrop Grumman

OpenCell Technologies Inc.



Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard


Pivotal Labs

Pixel Qi Corporation



Ryan Snyder Associates



Simpson Strong-Tie

Social Engine

Tableau Software


Tesla Motors

Thomson Reuters

Tipping Point Partners

Trex Enterprises Corporation

Warner Brothers

Welch Allyn


About Piazza

Founded in 2009 and publicly launched in 2011, Piazza is a free online gathering place where students can ask and answer questions 24/7, under the guidance of their instructor. Anyone can create a class at Piazza.com to initiate class discussion. Students spend on average four hours a night on Piazza working together in real time with classmates and instructors to find the answers they need at the time they need them. Piazza is FERPA-compliant and used in hundreds of colleges and universities.

For more information, please go to http://www.piazza.com.

About Harvey Mudd College

Harvey Mudd College is a national leader in undergraduate education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The College´s mission is to educate engineers, scientists and mathematicians who are prepared to become leaders in their fields and understand the impact of their work on society. Students learn to problem-solve in a hands-on, collaborative environment; do research alongside outstanding faculty; and develop leadership skills to benefit an increasingly technological world. Located in Claremont, Calif., Harvey Mudd College is a member of The Claremont Colleges Consortium.

For the original version on PRWeb visit: http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/9/prweb9942654.htm

Source: prweb

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