Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)

Office: 120 Physics
Phone: (631) 632-6947
E-mail: projectwise@notes.cc.sunysb.edu
Web site:  http://www.wise.sunysb.edu

WISE is a multifaceted program designed to engage women who have ability and interest in mathematics, science, or engineering in the excitement and challenge of research. Identified as a national model program by the National Science Foundation, WISE offers a combination of curricular and extracurricular activities, such as hands-on research experience from the first year on, membership in small study groups led by advanced undergraduate women “junior mentors,” individual academic advising, frequent interaction with faculty, and numerous social activities that range from guest lectures to field trips. Through participation in WISE, students become part of a community of women scientists that also includes women graduate students, faculty, and scientists from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and industry.


To qualify for WISE, applicants must be women who are moving directly from high school to college and have a demonstrated aptitude and interest in science, mathematics, or engineering as evidenced by such factors as four years of mathematics and/or science courses in high school, above-average grades, research or other relevant experience, or above-average scores on the quantitative parts of the SAT or ACT examination or an SAT science or mathematics achievement test. See also the Scholar-ships and Awards chapter.

Academic Requirements

WISE participants must fulfill Stony Brook’s general education requirements, known as the Diversified Education Curriculum (D.E.C.), in addition to the requirements of their major department. Where appropriate, the WISE academic requirements may be applied toward the DEC or the student’s major. WISE students are eligible for and encouraged to take honors courses, where appropriate. WISE students may pursue the one-year program alone, or elect to participate in a full four-year curriculum. All WISE women are expected to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.00 and remain in good academic standing.

All WISE students must satisfy the following first-year requirements:

1. The one-credit course Becoming a Scientist, offered as a special section of the University freshman seminars and taught by a faculty member in the sciences

2. WSE 187 Introduction to Research

3. Two semesters of mathematics and science courses for prospective science and engineering majors, such as MAT 131, 132 or 141, 142; or CHE 131, 132 or 141, 142; or PHY 131, 132 or 141, 142

4. Attendance at all mentoring sessions, entailing approximately six hours per week (see Extracurricular Programs below)

5. Attendance at all special evening programs and meetings (see Extracurricular Programs below)

WISE students pursuing the four-year program must fulfill the following additional requirements during the remaining undergraduate years:

1. WSE 242 Social Dimensions of Science

2. One computer science course or 200-level mathematics course

3. MAT 160 Mathematical Problems and Game or PHY 311 Connections in Science

4. Mentoring Seminar offered under WST 488 Internship (1 credit)

5. Professional Development Seminar offered under WST 488 Internship (1 credit)

6. Senior honors thesis/design project (see Note)

7. Attendance at a minimum of three special evening programs or meetings per year (see Extracurricular Programs below)

Note: The honors thesis/design project is satisfied through successful completion of a six-credit, year-long independent research project culminating in the submission of a substantial research paper, written to the professional standards of the relevant academic discipline. Research should be modeled after those in peer-reviewed journals. The project must be reviewed by the student’s research mentor, WISE faculty advisor, and one other member of the WISE committee and be judged acceptable for successful completion of this requirement. In addition, at the end of the first semester, students must submit to their WISE academic advisor, a progress report on their activities. The senior honors thesis/design project requirement may be satisfied within the student’s major. In addition, students are encouraged to apply for their major’s departmental honors program. The thesis may apply toward both departmental honors and WISE requirements.

Extracurricular Programs and Activities

WISE academic requirements are supplemented by other activities designed to provide additional academic and social support and foster connections among the science, mathematics, engineering, and social environments.

Peer Study Groups

Based on their mathematics and science courses, first-year WISE women are placed in five- or six-member peer study groups, led by a WISE junior mentor, using collaborative learning methods. In years two and three, peer study groups will be organized around science, engineering, and mathematics courses, depending on student needs. After the first year, participation in peer study groups is optional but recommended.

Special Evening Programs and Meetings

WISE sponsors regular evening programs and meetings attended by WISE undergraduates; faculty in the sciences, mathematics, and engineering; graduate students; and others. The programs include talks from faculty, students, and visiting scientists and engineers from Brookhaven National Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and private sector research firms; panel discussions in subjects such as educational and cultural factors that influence and shape women’s choices; workshops on résumé writing; and social events.

First-year women are required to attend all evening programs. Women completing the four-year WISE program must attend a minimum of three evening programs per year and are expected to play an increasing role in planning sessions and leading discussion groups.

WISE students are encouraged to live in the Whitman or Cardozo Residence Halls. Whitman is the site of the WISE Computer Room and many WISE activities.