The NAVIGATE Project: A Case-Study Approach to Overcoming Barriers to Advancement for Women in STEM

By Liesl Folks, University of Arizona, Colleen M. Carrigan, CalPoly, Nancy Schiller, University at Buffalo, Laurene M. Tumiel Berhalter, University at Buffalo, PIs

Many women in STEM continue to be dissuaded from pursuing their career goals when they encounter gender bias, discrimination, and inequity. Navigating these adverse situations to persist in their careers can require honed skillsets. 

The NAVIGATE Project, developed by faculty at the University at Buffalo and Cal Poly, aims to increase the number of women STEM graduates who persist in their chosen disciplines, and who achieve leadership roles. This innovative, skills-based training program relies on case studies to help women recognize and navigate bias, inequity or discrimination in the workforce.

During the trainings, students analyze case studies and develop practical, strategic responses to workplace dilemmas. Ongoing social media tools were used to support graduate cohorts throughout the entire program.

All STEM fields supported by NSF were included in the program. In addition to the science and engineering disciplines, the program included the learning, social, behavioral, and economic sciences.