Although much progress has been made in recent decades, there are persistent hurdles to the advancement of women in the sciences. The "leaky pipeline" model describes the proportion of women "on track" to potentially becoming top scientists as falling off at every step of the way, from getting interested in science and math in elementary school, through doctorate, postdoc, and career steps. In biology, for instance, women in the United States have been getting Master's degrees in the same numbers as men for two decades, yet fewer women get Ph.D.s; and the numbers of women P.I.s have not risen*. While many organizations target professional women, or young girls, no national organization focuses on the specific needs of female college and graduate students.
* Louise Luckenbill-Edds, "The 'Leaky Pipline:' Has It Been Fixed?",The American Society for Cell Biology 2000 WICB / Career Strategy Columns (11/1/2000)
The Scientista Foundation is a national organization that empowers pre-professional women in science, technology, engineering, math and medicine (STEMM) through content, communities, and conferences. Currently the largest network of campus women across STEMM disciplines, Scientista serves to connect all communities of women in STEMM at campuses across the US and Canada, giving such important organizations more visibility and resources, and building a strong, cohesive network of women in science that can act as one voice.
Scientista was started out of Harvard in 2011 by two sisters, Julia and Christina Tartaglia, to address the lack of resources, community, and role models for college women in science and engineering. Both biology majors involved in research, they noticed a lack of resources for women in higher education. Wanting to address this problem, they came up with the idea of the Scientista Foundation, a one-stop resource that would address the needs of college and graduate women. After placing as a Harvard College Innovation Challenge semifinalist and winning a Harvard TECH prize, they launched ScientistaFoundation.com, a platform and national network that addresses the needs of pre-professional women in STEM.
Since its founding, Scientista has expanded to 20+ campuses internationally, hosts an annual Scientista Intercollegiate Research Symposium, and has started partnerships with major organizations and companies, including Microsoft, NASA, The Huffington Post and the Association of Women in Science. Scientista was named by Enable Education as a "Top 12 Amazing Organization for Women in STEM."