STEWARD (STEm Women scholars And Researchers Development)

One of our flagship programs is the STEWARD mentorship program for research scholars.

We provide mentorship for women research students through one-to-one interactions with senior Phd students, postdocs, Alumni and faculty mentors

STEWARD (STEM women scholars’ and researchers’ development) is the 3-way collaboration between

  • Women’s Forum IITM
  • IITM alumni association and
  • a grassroots, independent group of IITM women alumni. This mentorship program is exclusive to women PhD research scholars at all levels.

The scholars are from a variety of STEM backgrounds specialized in academia and R&D. Till today, this program has

  • 35 mentors from academia and R&D from around the world of which 19 are alumni and 16 are professors of IITM,
  • 69 IITM research scholar mentees and
  • 17 IITM post comprehensive PhD candidates mentoring the other research scholars.
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  • Increase % of women thriving in scholarly/R&D or related path
    • Achieve at least 30% women in research/scholarly positions at IITM (grad, postdoc, faculty positions ) in every discipline and at every level
    • Ensure placement of at least 20% IITMwomen undergrads, 40% IITMwomen masters and 80% women PhD graduates at IITM in scholarly or R&D-related (academic or industry/lab) and ensure that they thrive at every level.
    • For both women at IITM and women alumni at IITM (above 2 categories) provide support to
      1. Ensure normal progression through position/career, without attrition
      2. publish/patent at international levels/norms (for type of position) for each stage in career: junior grad, senior grad, postdoc, asst/assoc/full prof or scientist or equivalent
      3. maintain citations at international levels — normed by discipline
      4. maintain funding (adjusted PPP) at international levels — as needed for discipline
      5. maintain # of advisees at international levels — as normal for discipline
      6. ensure health and progress of your discipline as a whole

Mentoring Principles

  • Distribute the mentoring stories and examples (see Activities slide) to every woman student. They then know that when they feel thusly, they can approach their mentor.
  • The mentor-mentee must have a 1-1 meeting at least once a semester – time (and money) willing, a mentor can take all their mentees out for lunch, etc., in addition. Mentors who are not local should have zoom interactions with their mentees.
  • Let them know that a mentor is available to listen to them 24/7 – this is important for preventing tragedies. – it is probably the case that very very few such occurrences will arise.
  • Mentor should be able to hand off mentee to another mentor for reasonable reasons (not getting through, temperamentS not syncing up, etc) .
  • Mentors must have a line of communication open to local mental-health counselors

Target Mentors

  • STEM Women faculty @IITM.
  • STEM Women alumnae @IITM in academic and R&D careers.
  • Senior peers.
  • Women in the STEM education space, in particular, those wishing to help recruit future Ph.D. scholars.

Target Mentees

  • Junior women faculty @IITM.

  • Women research scholars/alumnae during and after their tenure @IITM.
    • Continue on to academic or R&D careers.
    • Continue on to teaching positions.
    • Those that drop out or do independent research e.g. DST support.
  • Masters and UGRAD students @IITM who are interested in continuing towards a STEM doctoral degree


We plan to conduct a series of workshops that are open to both Mentors and Mentees with STEM speakers, group discussions, and exercises.