Jill Cochran, an associate professor of math and computer science at Berry College, has been selected to participate in a National Science Foundation project funded by a grant of approximately $1 million.
The project is aimed at supporting the advancement of mid-career women faculty in STEM — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — fields.
Led by Professor Sarah Kirk of Willamette University, the Advancing STEM Careers by Empowering Network Development collaboration involves six partner institutions and up to 75 participants from colleges and universities across three regions – the northwest, the midwest and the southeast.
The focus of the project is twofold — to give individual faculty members the tools they need to advance their careers while also addressing the institutional and systemic barriers which prevent women from being promoted to full professor or academic administration.
“Unfortunately, women in STEM still face significant career inequities,” Kirk said. “We look forward to creating strong mentoring opportunities for others while working on larger systemic change.”
The project team will create three regional peer mentoring networks. Faculty and administrators will design and implement comprehensive campus-specific plans.
Cochran, who earned her Ph.D. in mathematics education at Texas State University, has taught at Berry since 2010.
She is a strong advocate for mathematics education at all levels, often involving her students in research projects and offering professional development opportunities for local teachers.
Under her leadership, the STEMTeach program at Berry was developed as an apprenticeship program for undergraduate preservice math and science teachers as well as collaborative professional development with mentor teachers. Cochran secured funding for that program through an NSF Noyce grant in 2018.