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Release: March 20, 2002

UI WISE program hosts March 26-27 career workshops

The University of Iowa Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program will hold career pathway workshops featuring nine women professionals from 6:30-7:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 26 in Room S401 of the Pappajohn Business Administration Building (PBAB) and 7-8:15 p.m. Wednesday, March 27 in Room W401, PBAB.

The sessions are designed to help undergraduate students evaluate possible careers by listening to two panels of professional women describe personal career paths in science or engineering-related fields as a part of the WISE Student to Student Support in Science (SSSS) mentoring program. Program coordinator Betsy Riesz says that panel members will describe the academic and practical experiences that prepared them for their careers, explain their current responsibilities, discuss hurdles they faced and how they overcame them, and summarize prospects for the future in various fields. She says that capable women often underestimate their competence in math and science beginning in junior high school and continuing through graduate school. Riesz adds that one SSSS program goal is to bolster students' confidence in their ability to pursue science and engineering-related careers.

Tuesday’s panelists will be: Kathy Bjornsen, R.N., M.A., C.P.N.P., University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics; Diedra McQuitery, Recruiting and Planning Coordinator, Caterpillar Inc.; Claudia Morrissey, M.D., International Public Health, Northwestern University; and Carla Peterman, Research Coordinator, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc.

On Wednesday, students will hear presentations in the following fields: pharmacy, by Carol Crabtree, Pharm.D., R.Ph., of Walgreen’s Pharmacy, and Lisa K. Zboril, R.Ph., associate director, Abbott Laboratories; nursing and management, by Roberta Johnson, district manager at Ross Products; engineering, by Gina Rajterowski of Allegiance Healthcare; and speech therapy, by Judith Knabe, M.S., of Grant Wood Area Education Agency.

The externally-funded mentoring program, now in its sixth year, provides academic and social support to 95 first-year students by matching each of them with a junior or senior who is completing a science or engineering major. The students attend four workshops during the year and meet informally. Funding for 2001-2002 is being provided by The Abbott Laboratories Fund, Alcoa, Accenture, Allegiance Corporation, Caterpillar Foundation, Fisher Controls International, Inc., Maytag Corporation, Microsoft, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Rockwell, and Ross Products.

The workshops are free and open to the public. Students not currently enrolled in the mentoring program who wish to attend the workshops may contact Betsy Riesz at (319) 335-3509 or at For further information about WISE, contact Chris Brus, director, at (319) 353-2290 or at