Donna Milgram, the Executive Director of the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS), has dedicated her career to helping educators and employers close the gender gap for women and girls in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) career pathways -- from engineering and computer networking to auto technology to law enforcement.
- Nationally-Recognized Expert – Media appearances include CNN, Fox Morning News, C-Span, and National Public Radio. Quoted in major newspapers such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and more.
- Trainer and Public Speaker – Developed and conducted hundreds of WomenTech Educators Trainings in 46 of the 50 states and Canada. Presented at national conferences such as the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), Advanced Technological Education (ATE), and Women in Engineering Programs and Advocates Network (WEPAN).
- Innovative Leader – IWITTS founder with over 21 years of experience leading successful projects, one of which was highlighted by NSF to the Committee for Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Performance Assessment, and chosen as 1 of 3 model projects in the American Association of University Women's (AAUW's) research report, Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success.
- Experienced Principal Investigator – Federal grants include a U.S. Department of Labor and 4 National Science Foundation (NSF) grants all centered on women in STEM. Corporate grants include the Cisco Learning Institute (CLI)/Cisco Gender Initiative.
- STEM Keynote Speaker – Speaking and presentations to inspire audiences to get women and girls excited about STEM.
- Congressional Aide – Spent a year on Capitol Hill, testified before Congress, and drafted 2 bills that were signed into law on nontraditional employment.
- Noted Author – Reader's choice award recipient for cover article "How to Recruit Women & Girls to the STEM Classroom" published by International Technology and Engineering Educators Association (ITEEA) in Technology and Engineering Teacher magazine; "Turning Limited Resources into Increased Recruitment & Retention of Female Students in Technology Programs" in the U.S. Conference Proceedings of the 2010 Annual ASEE Conference & Exposition; and "The CalWomenTech Project: Using Surveys to Inform Retention Strategies of Female Technology Students" in the Conference Proceedings of 2010 NAMEPA/WEPAN 4th Joint Conference.
- Authority on Women in Law Enforcement – FBI Academy and police department trainer, national policing conference keynote, law enforcement grant project director and principal investigator, and Police Chief Magazine published author.
Keep reading for Donna's full story.
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Initially, Ms. Milgram's work focused on helping women "survive" the workplace, but she quickly saw that institutional change was critical. She shifted to helping employers and the education and job training systems develop more female-friendly recruitment and retention practices. In 1994, Ms. Milgram founded the National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology and Science (IWITTS,) the only national organization whose sole mission is to provide educators and employers with the tools they need to encourage women to enter and succeed in careers where they are under-represented. IWITTS's solutions include research, professional development, publications, technical assistance, and outreach and marketing products.
Nationally-Recognized Expert [expand]
A nationally-recognized expert on women and workforce development issues, Ms. Milgram has testified before the U.S. Congress and appeared extensively in the news media. She served as an expert witness on the "Sexual Harassment of Women in Nontraditional Occupations" and "School-To-Work Opportunities" Acts, addressing the absence of young women from many U.S. Department of Labor School-To-Work demonstration sites. Her media appearances include CNN, Fox Morning News, C-Span and The Merrow Report on National Public Radio. International Innovation published a 4-page interview with Ms. Milgram entitled "Analysis Exclusive: Forming the Complete Picture" in December 2013. Higher Education Talk Radio and Your Public Media had her on as a guest in 2012. She has been quoted in major newspapers such as The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Chicago Tribune. Ms. Milgram received a Reader's Choice Award at the International Technology & Engineering Education Association's (ITEEA's) annual national conference in 2013 for a cover article she wrote for their Technology and Engineering Teacher magazine entitled, "How to Recruit Women & Girls to the STEM Classroom."
Trainer and Public Speaker [expand]
Ms. Milgram's work has taken her to 46 of the 50 states and Canada. She has consulted and conducted hundreds of trainings on recruiting and retaining women in STEM education and related occupations for national, state, regional and local educational institutions, organizations and employers (see client list). Ms. Milgram developed IWITTS's research-based WomenTech Educators Training in the 1990s and has been continually updating and enhancing the training ever since. She has also delivered numerous conference workshops and keynote presentations.
Some of Ms. Milgram's recent presentations include:
- Guest speaker on the Women's Bureau of the U.S. Department of Labor and American Association of University Women (AAUW) Webinar: "Women in STEM: Why it matters and how YOU can help them get there (2013)"
- NSF Advanced Technological Education (ATE) Principal Investigators Conference: "What can ATE PIs and Co-PIs do to proactively broaden impacts and recruit women to STEM? (2013)" and "Birds of a Feather Session: Student Retention (2012)"
- Panelist on Live AAUW Webcast for Release of Research Report (which lists Ms. Milgram's CalWomenTech Project as 1 of 3 model projects): "Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success (2013)"
- Mid-Pacific Information & Communications Technologies (MPICT) National Educators Conference: "Retaining Female Students by Teaching to Their Learning Style (2013)"; "Attracting, Retaining and Increasing the Success of Students from Underrepresented Groups in Your ICT Classes (2012)"; and "Using Surveys to Improve Retention of Female Students (2011)"
- High Impact Technology Exchange Conference (HI-TEC): "Ensuring Your Female Students Are Successful in the Lab (2013)"
- STEM Think Tank & Conference: "Reframing STEM fun so it's female friendly for your classroom (2013)"
- California Community College Association for Occupational Education (CCCAOE) Spring Conference: "Using a Leadership Team to Recruit More Female Students in STEM (2012)"
- American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Conference: "Turning Limited Resources into Increased Recruitment & Retention of Female Students in Technology Programs (2011)" and "CalWomenTech Project: Recruiting and Retaining Women in Technology Programs (2010)"
- Women in Engineering Proactive Network (WEPAN) Conference: "The CalWomenTech Project: Innovative Gender Methods of Evaluation in STEM Education Serves as Leverage for Institutional Change (2011)" and "The CalWomenTech Project: Using Surveys to Inform Retention Strategies of Female Technology Students (2010)"
- Joint Special Populations Advisory Committee (JSPAC) CA Department of Education Conference: "Recruitment & Retention Case Studies from the CalWomenTech Project (2010)"
- American Association of Community Colleges Annual Conference: "CalWomenTech Live Success Stories: Hear How to Boost the Number of Women in Technology & Trades (2008)"
See the full list of Ms. Milgram's presentations.
See the full list of IWITTS's training and consulting clients.
Innovative Leader [expand]
Ms. Milgram has worked on a national scale to help educators and employers close the gender gap for women in STEM through innovative and evidence-based recruitment and retention practices since before she founded IWITTS in 1994. She has championed the use of research-based strategies such as teaching to female learning styles and improving completion rates by teaching spatial reasoning (see IWITTS's Proven Practices Collection). She has been leading successful national projects, developing and conducting highly-rated trainings, creating products and publications for STEM educators, and speaking publically about increasing the number of female students in STEM for over 21 years. One of Ms. Milgram's recent national projects was highlighted by NSF to the Committee for Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Performance Assessment, and chosen as 1 of 3 model projects in the American Association of University Women's (AAUW's) research report, Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success.
Experienced Principal Investigator [expand]
Ms. Milgram has served as Principal Investigator (PI) for 4 National Science Foundation (NSF) projects and as Project Director of a U.S. Department of Labor grant and a National Institute of Justice grant. She has also worked on corporate grants such as the national Cisco Learning Institute (CLI)/Cisco Gender Initiative.
She is currently PI of the CalWomenTech Scale Up Project, a five-year NSF grant awarded in June 2011 and co-funded by the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering (GSE) and the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) programs. The CalWomenTech Scale Up Project's goal is to expand the important work of the original CalWomenTech Project by disseminating that Project's results, proven strategies, and resources to ATE grantees and a wider community college audience. Ms. Milgram developed IWITTS's highly-rated WomenTech Educators Online Training during this CalWomenTech Scale Up Project.
Ms. Milgram was the PI of the original CalWomenTech Project, a $2 million NSF grant awarded in April 2006. Through this five-year grant, seven California community colleges received training and technical assistance to help recruit and retain women into technology programs where they were underrepresented. The Project was highlighted by NSF in 2009 for demonstrating significant achievement and program effectiveness to the Committee for Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Performance Assessment and chosen as 1 of 3 model projects in an American Association of University Women's (AAUW's) research report, Women in Community Colleges: Access to Success, released in May 2013. Highlights include: 6 of 7 community colleges had increases in female enrollment in introductory STEM courses targeted by the Project; 5 of the colleges achieved substantive increases in female enrollment ranging from 22% to 47% in introductory courses; 4 colleges increased both female and male completion rates substantially in targeted STEM courses; and 6 of 7 colleges increased the retention rate of male students.
Ms. Milgram was also PI of the NSF-funded WomenTech Project, a three-year effort in which IWITTS worked collaboratively with three community college demonstration sites to help them increase the number of females enrolled and retained in technology programs. The WomenTech Project Best Practices CD, a step-by step guide for recruiting and retaining women into technology programs authored by Ms. Milgram, was based on key findings from the Project.
As the Director of the New Workplace for Women Project funded by the U.S. Department of Labor, Ms. Milgram assisted the Albuquerque and Tucson Police Departments in increasing the number of female recruits from 10% to one-third of the Academy. The New Workplace for Women Project provided intensive, customized, technical assistance to eight employers and unions on the recruitment, training, and retention of women in traditionally male dominated jobs, with an emphasis on Latinas.
Ms. Milgram led IWITTS's partnership with the Cisco Learning Institute (CLI)/Cisco Gender Initiative. As part of developing best practices for the Initiative's website, she conducted focus groups with Academy instructors, wrote case study profiles of best practice sites, created FAQs on recruiting and retaining females to Cisco Networking Academy Programs, and led online training sessions for Academy instructors.
See a list of the national projects Ms. Milgram has led.
Congressional Aide [expand]
Ms. Milgram spent a year on Capitol Hill in the office of Congresswoman Connie Morella (MD), as a Congressional Fellow on Women and Public Policy. During that time, she testified before the U.S. Congress and assisted on the development of two bills on nontraditional employment. The Women in Apprenticeship Occupations and Nontraditional Occupations Act (PL 102-350), drafted by Ms. Milgram on behalf of Congresswoman Morella, was signed into law in 1992 and is still in effect today. The purpose of the legislation was to help employers improve their workplaces for women in STEM, rather than have to teach the women how to "survive" the workplace. The Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development Act (PL 105-255) was signed into law in October 1998. This bill established a commission to study the barriers that women, minorities, and persons with disabilities face in STEM.
Hit play to watch Donna Milgram testify before the U.S. Congress regarding sexual harassment in non-traditional jobs on June 25, 1992.
Noted Author [expand]
Ms. Milgram has conducted more than ten national trainings on "Recruiting Women to Policing: Strategies That Work" for police departments throughout the country and five workshops on recruitment and retention of female officers at the annual International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Conference. She has also delivered trainings for the FBI Academy's Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar on the topics of sexual harassment prevention for police chiefs and recruitment of women officers.
Ms. Milgram provided the keynote address on "Recruiting and Retaining Women in Policing" at a National Hiring Summit for State Police Departments and has led workshops on this topic for the San Mateo County Police Chief's Association, the Southwestern Law Enforcement Institute, the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives and the National Center for Women in Policing. She has been quoted in trade publications and major newspapers, such as Law and Order: The Magazine for Police Management, Police: The Law Enforcement Magazine, The EEO Review, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal and The Chicago Tribune.
As director of the New Workplace for Women Project, Ms. Milgram assisted the Albuquerque and Tucson Police Departments in increasing the number of female recruits from 10% to one-third of the Academy. She has assisted other Police Departments in achieving similar results in recruitment and retention of women officers and establishing a "zero tolerance" climate for harassment. Ms. Milgram co-authored an article with Chief Joseph Polisar (previously of Albuquerque, New Mexico) detailing the successful strategies used in the Albuquerque Police Department. The article, "Recruiting, Integrating and Retaining Women Police Officers: Strategies That Work," appeared in the October 1998 issue of Police Chief Magazine. In April 2002, Ms. Milgram wrote a follow up article for Police Chief Magazine, entitled "Recruiting Women to Policing: Practical Strategies That Work."
Ms. Milgram was also the Principal Investigator for the National Institute of Justice grant, Women in Policing: Assessing the Work Environment, the result of which was the Law Enforcement Environmental Assessment Tools (LEEAT). Ms. Milgram created the LEEAT under a National Institute of Justice grant for which the Durham and Albuquerque Police Departments were field-test sites. The LEEAT enables law enforcement agencies to conduct a self assessment and develop a strategic plan for recruiting women, preventing sexual harassment and ensuring fair promotion. Other law enforcement publications authored by Ms. Milgram include: "Integration of Women into Male-Dominated Occupations - An Annotated Bibliography" and "Police Equipment & Uniforms Sized to Fit Women".
Ms. Milgram is a former member of the California Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Recruitment Committee, and is an associate member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Association of Women in Law Enforcement Executives, and the International Association of Women in Police.
Appointments and Affiliations [expand]
Past appointments and affiliations have included member of the Federal Committee on Apprenticeship, Board Member of the National Association of Private Industry Councils, Commissioner of the Alameda, California Economic Development Commission, and Board Member of Girls, Inc. of the Island City (Alameda), where she also chaired the Board Development Committee.
Ms. Milgram graduated Cum Laude from the University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and received a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, where she was Valedictorian for her school.
- Reader's Choice Award for Technology and Engineering Teacher magazine cover article "How to Recruit Women & Girls to the STEM Classroom" -- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association Conference, Columbus, Ohio, 2013
- WonderWomen Award -- Bay Area Business Woman News, San Francisco, CA 2006
- Shero -- Girls Inc. of the Island City, Alameda, CA 2001