The Ideal Student: Reframing Expectations

Our next UNC WISE meeting will be on April 1st, at 7 PM in the Student Union Room 3515.  We are excited for this month’s discussion led by Debbie about ‘the ideal student’ and what this means to us as well as others, followed by the life and science of Beryl Catherine Platt, our inspirational woman of the month, which Stephanie will share with us.  Please keep reading below for details!

Science faculty – like most faculty – could describe their ‘ideal student’- the student they hope to teach and have in their research group. Unfortunately, this ‘ideal student’ is more often than not 1) based on their own experiences as individuals who were very attracted to and successful in academia and 2) uncritical of stereotypes or assumptions about what makes a successful student.  During the next UNC WISE meeting, let’s spend some time unpacking what science faculty’s ‘ideal student’ looks like based on interactions you’ve had and in terms of gender. Let’s also think about how this ‘ideal student’ compares with what you think makes a successful student / scientist and how you might help reframe popular assumptions. As articulated in the article linked below, the key purpose of this meeting will be to help you develop “an identify within a scientific community…[in] which you see yourself as belonging in the community and, through your actions and abilities, receiving that same recognition from others.”

In preparation for the meeting, please read the following article from Inside Higher Education:

Additional Reading (if interested)


April Inspiration Woman Profile: Beryl Catherine Platt

Beryl Catherine Platt, Baroness Platt of Writtle, is the Founding Chair and Patron of WISE. As a mechanical science (as we now know as engineering) major at Girton College, Cambridge, Beryl was 1 in 5 women amongst 250 men. In 1943, women were not allowed to graduate with the same title as men, so she was not awarded a degree only a ‘Title of a Degree.’ After graduation, she went on to work for Hawkers experimental flight test department, where she designed fighter planes to aid in World War II efforts. At the end of the war, she joined the research department at British European Airways where she was involved with airway safety. Platt was appointed to the House of Lords in 1981 and to the chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission in 1983. As a result of her work with the Equal Opportunities Commission, she founded WISE (Women in Science and Engineering).