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BWIS Milestones

When Brookhaven Women in Science (BWIS) first met in 1979, the group could not have foreseen that, in 25 years, their network would have accomplished so much at and for Brookhaven Lab. An interdisciplinary, not-for-women only organization, BWIS has compiled accomplishments that, over the years, have benefited the entire Laboratory community, as well as the surrounding community of future women scientists.

  • Thousands of Long Island high school and college students, both female and male, have been encouraged to consider scientific or technical careers by BWIS members, as a result of BWIS participation since its inception in Brookhaven Lab’s speakers’ bureau.
  • Approximately 60 prominent women in science, engineering or medicine have been invited by BWIS since 1980 to present technical seminars or popular lectures open to all at the Laboratory.
  • Women in science career days have been held almost every two years since 1981, encouraging hundreds of female high school students, who come to the Laboratory with their teachers and guidance counselors, to consider careers in science and engineering.
  • BWIS and Battelle, the non-profit science and technology company that manages Brookhaven Lab with Stony Brook University as Brookhaven Science Associates, established five $1,000 scholarships in 1999 that were awarded annually to five female high school students who excelled in science or mathematics and were enrolled in the five school districts surrounding the Laboratory. This award was discontinued in 2009.
  • Since 1995, BWIS has bestowed the annual $1,000 Gertrude Scharff Goldhaber Award to an outstanding female physics graduate student who is performing her thesis research at Brookhaven Lab or enrolled at Stony Brook University, in memory of the world-renowned nuclear physicist who was the first female Ph.D. to join the Laboratory’s scientific staff.
  • Annually since 1986, a Long Island woman who is returning to school following an interruption in her studies to pursue her education in the sciences, engineering or mathematics has been the recipient of the $2,000 Renate W. Chasman Scholarship, which honors the memory of the accelerator physicist whose work underlies today’s synchrotron light sources world wide.
  • As a result of the initiative of BWIS to ensure that the child-care needs of all Laboratory employees and facility-users who are parents of young children are met, the first facility in the nation dedicated to child care built by the U.S. Department of Energy was established at Brookhaven Lab in 1990.
  • Because of BWIS’s efforts to extend the ability to take maternity leave to male employees, Brookhaven Lab’s policy on parental leave was instituted in 1988, permitting both women and men employees to take up to three months of leave following the birth or adoption of a child.
  • In 1982, a branch of a federal credit union was established at Brookhaven Lab, as a result of a BWIS proposal to ensure equal credit opportunity for all Laboratory employees and facility-users.