The WISER (Women in Science Enabling Research) program was designed in 1993 to provide undergraduate women at Loyola University Chicago with an introduction to laboratory research, and to create a community of scientists through which undergraduate women could be mentored and encouraged toward careers in the sciences. Students are welcome to participate in and attend lectures, panel discussions, and workshops organized by WISER. Undergraduate students are also invited to apply to the Laura L. Mayer Summer Internship Program as a means of gaining laboratory experience.
In 1994 the US Bureau of Census reported that women constituted only 22% of the United States labor force employed in science and engineering. Similarly, a 1995 conference sponsored by the National Science Foundation identified problems retaining women in the sciences at the university level. Well over ten years later, the statistics remain similar, with few women entering many fields within academic sciences, and even fewer advancing to the position of Full Professor at universities, or as Principal Investigators within business and industry. In an effort to provide and support undergraduate women potentially interested in a career in the sciences, the WISER program provides mentoring, builds community, and gives women tools to explore careers in science and research.