AWIS Star Chapter

AWIS-PHL Named a Star Chapter

The AWIS Star Chapter Award honors those chapters who have accomplished many of the key objectives outlined in the Strategic Plan. The award encourages chapters to perform specific activities designed to ensure that women in STEM fields are able to achieve their full potential.


AWIS-PHL, the Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for Women in Science, was established in March 1987 by seven women scientists in Philadelphia and the greater Delaware Valley area, all members of the national AWIS organization. Corporate sponsorship in the first year provided a meeting site, and the chapter grew quickly, now numbering well over 100 members.

AWIS-PHL members represent a variety of scientific disciplines and working environments. Members are undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, technicians, career professionals, professors, project leaders, vice presidents, deans, research associates, teachers, and recruiters. They are employed at universities, colleges, large industries, government, and start-up biotech companies; many are self-employed consultants; some are retired and some are planning to re-enter the job market after a maternity or relocation hiatus.

Meetings are held at approximately six-week intervals at locations throughout the Delaware Valley. Occasionally meetings are held jointly with other organizations such as the AWIS Central Jersey Chapter (AWIS-CJC), Graduate Women in Chemistry at Penn (GWCP), Women Chemists Committee (WCC) of the American Chemical Society’s Philadelphia Section, and Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Programs are varied but generally include a networking meeting (usually in September), a women’s health program, a student-oriented workshop or program, and the awards dinner in May. Other programs feature scientific topics, often emphasizing achievements by women scientists, or career development strategies.

The emphasis in all AWIS-PHL programs and activities is mentoring in all its possible forms—providing a scientific forum for undergraduate and graduate research, acting as role models, and providing career advice for postdocs and the newly employed, as well as established professionals. These goals are accomplished through programs at chapter meetings and participation in outreach programs at all educational levels. AWIS-PHL was selected in 1993 as one of the four most successful AWIS chapters in a three-year mentoring program funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to nurture the next generation of women scientists. In 1995, AWIS-PHL was one of ten local chapters selected to participate in a national mentoring program sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The chapter joined with SWE, the Philadelphia Section of the American Chemical Society, Women in Mathematics, and GWCP to conduct an intensive mentoring program at 25 colleges and universities in the Delaware Valley throughout the year.

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