Women in Science & Engineering (WiSE)

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The Women in Science and Engineering Theme Program (WiSE): Exploring the Intersections of Gender with Math, Science, Technology, and Engineering

The Women in Science and Engineering Theme Program (WiSE) began in 1999 as an affinity space for 42 first-year female-identified students. The goal is for residents to explore their interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, and intersections of social identity in their profession. Through weekly seminar discussions and intentional programming, WiSE provides a critical community where residents learn about the gender gap, power, and privilege in the STEM fields and advancements in current research. The WiSE Community was recognized by the National Residence Hall Honorary as the October 2013 Community of the Month for their exemplary community development and commitment to empowering women in the STEM fields.


WiSE students are expected to participate and be actively engaged in theme program activities and events, including:

  • A yearlong (fall and spring) 2-unit, Pass/No Pass seminar that meets Mondays from 6:30–8 p.m. The seminar focuses on discussing participant identities as females in a still male-dominated field, and how this impacts women’s professional and personal life. The seminar aims to equip students with valuable skills that will help them navigate possible gender bias and other gender-related challenges throughout their career. If you’re admitted to WiSE, you will be provided with more information about how to enroll in the class.
  • Fall and spring WiSE Theme Program retreats. (These take place the first or second weekend of September and the first or second weekend of February.)
  • WiSE Community Meetings (Sunday evenings) and WiSE Committee Meetings.
  • Five WiSE programs per semester, hosted by the theme program assistant and WiSE Theme Program peer mentors.
  • Faculty Dinner (November).
  • WiSE Conference (February–March).
  • Cal Day (April).
  • End of the Year Celebration (April–May).


Events include a wide variety of leadership and community-building activities, such as dinners with faculty, study groups, on-site tutoring, mentoring, and field trips.

In addition, 4–10 students have the opportunity to be WiSE peer mentors. Peer mentors work on a variety of projects, including creating and publishing a peer-reviewed academic journal, developing and implementing the WiSE ONE.2 Conference, facilitating a faculty dinner, and designing the WiSE Haunted House for All-Halloween. The WiSE Peer Mentor is a live-in, student volunteer position that supports the growth of the Womyn in Science and Engineering residential community. Working in tandem with the WiSE Theme Program assistant, the WiSE mentor serves as a role model, programmer, classmate, content facilitator, WiSE Association member, as well as administrative support for the WiSE Theme Program. Students in this position will move into the WiSE Theme Program before fall move-in and help facilitate Welcome Week events. Mentors will also have priority room selection for the fall semester. This position is 10–15 hours/week (depending on workload) and is contingent on the completion of the WiSE participant contract, which includes following all student codes of conduct. This position is supported by the resident director, assistant resident director, and theme program assistant.


WiSE residents live together in Foothill Complex, which is situated in the beautiful Berkeley hills on the northeast end of campus, about a 15-minute walk from the center of campus. For more information about Foothill Complex, including amenities and features, academic services, transportation, and more, please visit housing.berkeley.edu.


If you have additional questions WiSE that are not answered here, please email Residential Life at themeprograms@berkeley.edu.