Graphic provided by Undergraduate Women in STEMM.

The virtual student organization fair this semester allowed many new and upcoming clubs to step into the spotlight and gain some prospective members. One club, the University of Maine’s Undergraduate Women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medical) Cub, is a fairly new group created for exactly what the organization title advertises: undergraduate women in STEMM.

Undergraduate Women in STEMM was founded during the fall semester of 2019, shortly before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. Since the club was so new when quarantine began, co-presidents Jaclyn Hazelwood, Polly Rae and Katie Tims describe operations this semester as a “readjustment period.” Plans for upcoming semesters and in-person meetings had to be completely reimagined.

“We’re still learning not only how to run and operate a club with what we want to do with it, but also how to do so virtually,” Hazelwood said.

In past semesters, the club had planned many helpful resources for its members such as LinkedIn workshops. The co-presidents brought in help from UMaine’s Career Center to teach members how to use the platform and the importance of forming connections with people. They also demonstrated how to use LinkedIn for a professional career while being enrolled in college, along with stepping out into the real world after graduation. 

The club leaders and members have also attended talks before about imposter syndrome, and are learning about how women’s experiences in STEMM tie into it. According to the Harvard Business Review, imposter syndrome can be described as chronically feeling inadequate and feeling self-doubt despite all the success an individual has achieved. Simply put, it is the inability to internalize accomplishments.

In addition to that, the club recently had a meeting with Orono’s Maine state Rep. Laurie Osher, who was elected to office in November 2020. Osher is passionate about making sure women are involved in politics, especially the younger generations.

Currently, the club co-presidents are waiting to hear back from a few guest speakers that have been recommended by club members as people that inspire them. Undergraduate Women in STEMM hold their meetings via Zoom every other Monday from 6 to 7 p.m.

Not only does this club provide UMaine’s undergraduate women in STEMM opportunities to learn, expand and make connections in their field but it also creates a support system. 

“We always say this isn’t me and [Tims’] club,” Hazelwood said. “It’s for everyone else, so tell us what you want and what you need and what we could do to make a good resource for you.”

The one goal this club hopes to achieve is to be a safe, fun and resourceful space for its members. 

“I want a space where all women who are interested in science and all STEMM fields can just talk and hang out and share helpful things with each other,” Tims said. “I see it as a social environment, and our future definitely holds more fundraising and events. Since we are such a young club, I want a space where people can share and especially in such remote and online times.”

Undergraduate Women in STEMM, despite the hardships the pandemic has thrown their way, is still thriving and trying to find new and improved ways to spread information among others. For those who feel like they don’t have a space for themselves in their discipline or would like to make connections with other women their age who get what being in STEMM is like, this club is the perfect solution. 

Even if your major is in the social sciences, do not hesitate to reach out. Your major is more than welcome. They want nothing more than to create support, friendships and expand the community for women in STEMM, so don’t limit yourself to only speaking with your advisor about your future and create lasting connections before your time at UMaine ends.

If you or anyone you know is interested in joining this inspiring and engaging club, you can reach out by emailing jaclyn.hazelwood@maine.edu and/or kathleen.tims@maine.edu or by joining the club’s Facebook group page.