The Women in Science, Development, Outreach, Mentoring (WISDOM) student club recently invited Dr. Donna Wilcock, professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging and Department of Physiology at the University of Kentucky to their monthly breakfast club.
“We get a lot of female seminar speakers that come to campus so we had the idea that we should invite them to speak with us in a more intimate setting so that we can learn from their experience,” explained Grace Porter, president of WISDOM.
During the meeting, Dr. Wilcock shared advice about how to negotiate a raise, juggle family needs, and start your own lab.
“When you negotiate for a position, be sure to also budget for students and the reoccurring costs of service contracts,” said Dr. Wilcock. “For instance, if you buy a $250,000 microscope, you need to understand that there is a 10 percent service cost as well.”
Alex McCoy, treasurer of WISDOM, explained that the concept of knowing your worth really stuck with her.
“She shared that she, like many of us, suffers from a bit of imposter syndrome, and she undervalued herself when it came to negotiating a salary/start up package,” she said. “It always blows my mind to see such incredible and successful individuals share that they also struggle with self-worth.”
McCoy also explained that it was important for the club to invite women scientists to speak because of their perspective.
“If you occupy a position of power or privilege, its often difficult to understand or even see the struggle that is going on around you,” McCoy said. “Not only does it provide some well-deserved recognition to women who have excelled in the sciences, but it helps empower students by providing them a role model in which they can see themselves.”
Besides breakfast club, WISDOM members also regularly participate in community outreach and peer-level support for trainees, in hopes of inspiring young women to enter STEM and supporting those of us who have already chosen that career path.