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University of Iowa News Release

March 16, 2004

UI WISE Program Hosts Workshop On Women's Career Paths

The University of Iowa Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program will hold career pathway workshops from 6:30 to 7:45 p.m. Tuesday, March 23 and Wednesday, March 24 in Room S401, Pappajohn Business Administration Building. Each session will feature presentations by four professionals.

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 are: Kirsten Sueppel Hanrahan, project director, Distraction Intervention Grant, UI College of Nursing; Susan Playfair-Ingold, manufacturing manager, Inspect/Pack/Ship Department, Alcoa, Inc.; Deborah C. Lin-Dyken, M.D., associate professor of clinical pediatrics, Pediatrics, Center for Disabilities and Development, UI Carver College of Medicine; Toshie Bader, principal engineering manager, Communication Management & Integration, Rockwell Collins.

On Wednesday, students will hear presentations representing the following fields: physical therapy by Tara Bries, physical therapist, Rehabilitation Therapies, UI Hospitals and Clinics; engineering by Karen Johnson, supply base manager, World Wide Procurement, Fisher Controls International, Inc.; pharmacy by Jessica L. Lewis, pharmacy supervisor, Department of Pharmaceutical Care, UI Hospitals and Clinics; and medicine by Ann Laros, M.D., associate professor/clinical, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UI Carver College of Medicine.

The externally funded mentoring program, now in its ninth year, provides academic and social support to 100 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 WISE workshops during the year and arrange to meet informally. Funding for 2003-2004 is being provided by Alcoa, Inc., Accenture, Caterpillar Foundation, John Deere Foundation, Fisher Controls International, Inc., Maytag Corporation Foundation, Microsoft, Monsanto, Pioneer Hi-Bred International, Inc., and Rockwell Collins.

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, coordinator, at 319-335-3509 or at For further information about WISE, contact Chris Brus, director, at 319-353-2290 or at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Gary Galluzzo, 319-384-0009,