Madeline Pelz

Department: Brain and Cognitive Sciences
Hometown: Rochester, NY
GCF Position: OGE Programs for Women

As a graduate community fellow in the Office for Graduate Education, I work with two other GCFs to design and run different programs for graduate women at MIT. There are some events that happen regularly, such as the annual Path of Professorship conference and the bi-annual Graduate Women of Excellence event, as well as a few smaller events on topics like public speaking that occur across the year. Our team works to offer events that support and inspire women to overcome obstacles to pursuing academic careers, celebrate their successes, and connect them to networks of other graduate women with similar goals.

Madeline (right) works with her co-fellows Tahoura (left) and Bianca (center) to make academia a more representative space for all genders.

How does your GCF project enhance the graduate student community?

There is still a large imbalance in gender representation in academic careers, so we hope that by providing graduate women with events and support networks that connect them with each other, we can help them to overcome these discrepancies and make academia a more representative space. For example, with the Path of Professorship workshop, we put on a 2-day conference where attendees can talk with and learn from professors about the process of becoming a professor, from applying, to securing lab funding, to maintaining a healthy work-life balance. By creating a space where this (sometimes overwhelming) process can be made transparent, graduate women can gain knowledge and confidence in their ability to succeed in an academic career.

What is your favorite part of working in your GCF position?

My favorite part of working as a GCF so far has been meeting and working with other students and administrators who are passionate about improving graduate life at MIT. In my first year as a GCF, I’ve found that working to help others create networks of support has also led me to my own group of great friends and mentors.