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Air Force Women in Science and Engineering doubles membership, continues growth

  • Published
  • By John Van Winkle

WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio -- A resource group for female scientists and engineers is growing across the Air Force Research Laboratory research community.

The Air Force Women in Science and Engineering, or AFWiSE, is a recently-formed resource group that brings together women to promote and foster achievement, advancement, and success within the AFRL research environment.

“AFWiSE membership grew from 114 members in October 2018 to 220 members in January 2020.  Membership growth and enterprise-wide involvement has been facilitated by designating representatives at Technical Directorates and headquarters offices,” said Dr. Joy Haley, AFWiSE Chair.

Membership in AFWiSE is open to anyone that supports its mission, i.e. women, men, contractors and those not in the science and engineering field.

“AFWiSE is an inclusive resource group that strives to make AFRL a preferred workplace for all.  We believe that representation matters,” said Haley.  “We strive to ensure the voices of women and other underrepresented groups are heard, and that these employees are being fostered and developed towards achievement, advancement, and leadership in their careers.  We are passionate about the AFRL mission, and we believe the most effective innovating organization is one that embraces and promotes diversity and inclusivity.”

AFWISE aims to make AFRL not only an inviting place, but a preferred place for women to work. It serves as an AFRL resource to positively influence the working environment; ensure professional development, advancement, and achievement of women scientists and engineers; and support the organization in establishing and achieving its diversity and innovation goals. 

“AFWiSE is an engaging and inclusive resource group that gives employees a forum to gather, network, and share new ideas for the advancement, professional development, and promotion of workplace diversity throughout AFRL,” said Ms. Sarah Wallentine, AFWiSE Past Chair.

AFWiSE hosts a number of events throughout the year, including lunch & learns; guest speaker seminars; panel discussions on topics about diversity and inclusion, professional development, life balance and an open forum with AFRL vice commander. The organization also holds a monthly Literature for Women in Science and Engineering (LitWiSE) reading club meeting with facilitated discussions, hosted a career development planning workshop and an AFWiSE All-Hands workshop that covered topics in leadership, diversity, inclusivity, innovation, mentoring, and networking.  AFWiSE members also invested in the next generation of scientists and engineers by serving on the Dayton Regional STEM School career panel for high school students.

AFWiSE will be having a large workforce development workshop “Elevate 2020” in the fall of this year, for employees from all AFRL locations.  The workshop is still in development and details will be announced when final.

Membership in AFWiSE is all-inclusive, and not limited to just AFRL. The organization includes members from DARPA’s Strategic Technology Office, Air Force Institute of Technology, Air Force Lifecycle Management Center, Secretary of the Air Force Acquisitions community, and the National Air and Space Intelligence Center. It has also drawn interest from other defense and academic entities.

For more information on AFWiSE membership and chapters, can e-mail Ms. Elizabeth Loiacono at elizabeth.loiacono@us.af.mil