"Supporting Early Career Women in the Geosciences through Online Peer-Mentoring: Lessons from the Earth Science Women's Network (ESWN)"
Abstract:The Earth Science Women’s Network (ESWN) is an international peer-mentoring organization with over 2000 members, dedicated to career development and community for women across the geosciences. Since its formation in 2002, ESWN has supported the growth of a more diverse scientific community through a combination of online and in-person networking activities. Lessons learned related to online networking and community-building will be presented.
ESWN serves upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, professionals in a range of environmental fields, scientists working in federal and state governments, post-doctoral researchers, and academic faculty and scientists. Membership includes women working in over 50 countries, although the majority of ESWN members work in the U.S. ESWN increases retention of women in the geosciences by enabling and supporting professional person-to-person connections. This approach has been shown to reduce feelings of isolation among our members and help build professional support systems critical to career success.
In early 2013 ESWN transitioned online activities to an advanced social networking platform that supports discussion threads, group formation, and individual messaging. Prior to that, on-line activities operated through a traditional list-serve, hosted by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). The new web center, http://eswnonline.org, serves as the primary forum for members to build connections, seek advice, and share resources. For example, members share job announcements, discuss issues of work-life balance, and organize events at professional conferences. ESWN provides a platform for problem-based mentoring, drawing from the wisdom of colleagues across a range of career stages.