New Scholar-in-Residence is WISE beyond her years

For the first time, NC State’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Village has implemented a Scholar-in-Residence program. The program provides students with an active research member who lives and works in the residential community located in Lee Hall.

Patsy Sibley, a lecturer in women’s and gender studies in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, teaches the “Women and Gender in Science and Technology” course and is the new residential scholar. Her training is primarily in developmental psychology, and all of her research to this point has focused on the development of gendered beliefs and how those beliefs relate to gendered beliefs and STEM fields.

“I was particularly excited about the opportunity for women in the WISE Village to participate in linked English 101 and Women’s and Gender Studies 210 courses that [Sibley] and her partner had taught in the past,” said Jo-Ann Cohen, associate dean of the College of Sciences.

According to Cohen, Sibley’s passion for facilitating the success of women in STEM fields made her natural for the position. “I am excited that it has worked out for her and for our students,” she said.

As Scholar-in-Residence, Sibley has a number of responsibilities within the WISE Village. However, her main responsibility is maintaining an active presence as a scholar and member of the WISE community.  “As part of this goal, I have been developing a program of research that women in the program have been invited to be involved in as research assistants,” she said.

WISE Village provides a supportive environment for future engineers and scientists to develop skills and talents that are necessary to become successful professionals.

Sibley shares her expertise with the WISE community through speaking engagements and through hosting small group discussions, such as a Science Fiction Book Club.

“The best part of being the Scholar in Residence is the opportunity to work as part of such a strong intellectual community,” she said. “Academic research can, at times, be lonely work, but the energy and enthusiasm of the WISE women and the WISE staff really helps me remember why I care so much about the research that I’m doing.”

The WISE Village is a living and learning community designed for first- and second-year women in the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Engineering, Natural Resources, Sciences and Textiles. It provides networking opportunities for women within the classroom and beyond.

“Living and working with these women really is a unique opportunity to engage with students that provides a totally different kind of experience than I get from working with students in the classroom,” she said. “Obviously, the goal of having a Scholar in Residence is to expand learning opportunities for the women of the WISE Village, but I’ve been surprised to see how much working with this community has expanded my work as well.”

The obstacles Sibley has faced while in this position are minimal. However, as the first person to hold this new position, she found it challenging at first because the expectations and requirements of the position are somewhat nebulous. “Truthfully, for me, the experience has been more one of opportunity than one of challenge,” she said.