Association for Women in STEM hosts ‘Tacos and Beer’ social

People came together to support women in STEM for an evening of networking and socializing


Amina Idoui

STEM associated attendees gather to hear one another speak about their experience in the industry.

by Amina Idoui, Contributor

On Oct. 12, the outdoor patio of Newport Brewery hosted the Association for Women in Stem’s yearly “Tacos and Beer” networking fall social.

The vibrant, colorful space in Sorrento Valley had over 100 STEM associated individuals involved in both academia and  the professional industry. Tables set up by communications and scholarship committees encouraged more active involvement in the organization. Tacos and craft beer were provided by AWIS, courtesy of The Craft Taco truck and Newport Brewery. 

AWIS is an organization that offers resources for women in STEM through various scholarship, internship and networking endeavors. 

“We offer a lot of skill development through these organizations,” said Jennifer Swindlehurst Chan, the website committee co-chair of AWIS “There is a huge opportunity for growth and support.”

Those unsure of their career or those looking for resources in anything  STEM related have AWIS to look to.

The event drew a large crowd of UCSD students, with a few SDSU doctoral students also present. 

“We want more people from San Diego State at these events and to join our team,” said Sarah Narehood, UCSD Ph.D. chemistry student and PR committee member. “This is a fantastic networking opportunity to meet people to support you where you are, and guide you to where you want to be.” 

Students are eager for more authentic networking opportunities. In avenues that are historically male dominated such as physics and chemistry, support is particularly critical in these ventures. 

“Networking is really so important,” said AWIS President Kina Thackeray. “People here want to talk and help you find out what you like or don’t like. There are a lot of supportive allies out here.” 

Michael Alvarez, SDSU Ph.D. organic chemistry student, was encouraged to attend the event by his professor. Alvarez has witnessed a lot of advancement, particularly in women’s management and recognizes the importance of being aware of issues surrounding women in STEM.

“Getting ideas of what the industry is like helps protect the future,” Alvarez said. 

SDSU’s Women in Science Society is a club on campus focused on providing similar resources for students. They often post events similar to this, as well as hosting their own events. 

“I am a big proponent of making connections where you can,” said Mena Shammas, sophomore and program coordinator. “It is really valuable to put yourself out there, you never know what you will learn from going to events like that or who you can meet.”  

AWIS’ $35 yearly student membership fee allows access to a variety of resources for women in STEM. It is a support network as well as a valuable experience for students to explore different career paths and speak to those who they look to for guidance. 

Students are encouraged to become members and get involved in the different committees to help support the mission of AWIS. 

“The opportunities are endless,” Swindlehurst said.

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