The Women in STEM Knowledge Center (WSKC) powered by WEPAN supports efforts to increase the number and prominence of diverse communities of women in STEM by providing an online community of practice with both resources and collaborative workspaces.
The Women in STEM Knowledge Center (WSKC) began as the WEPAN Knowledge Center (WKC). The WKC officially launched in June 2009, as part of a project funded by the National Science Foundation, granted in 2007 to WEPAN (Women in Engineering ProActive Network). WEPAN recognized the need for a knowledge center to enable researchers and practitioners to quickly and easily locate resources important to their work without reinventing the wheel or relying on outdated information. Such information was sometimes difficult to locate—published across many diverse organizations, websites, educational institutions, and individual project sites.
Knowing that root causes of women's underrepresentation spans STEM fields, and the multi-disciplinary impact of gender in STEM issues, WEPAN leaders decided to share knowledge center information and resources with the larger STEM community.
Extensive research was completed to determine what types of information was important, and who would be most interested in such a knowledge center.
Survey results indicated a high interest in a knowledge center as proposed by WEPAN. Topics of greatest interest to respondents were developed into a custom taxonomy for the Knowledge Center.
The WKC (WEPAN Knowledge Center) was developed in 2008, officially launched in 2009, and has grown to include thousands of visitors across the United States and around the world. Since 2009, the WKC has had over 436,000 pageviews and over 40,000 visitors, with 15,687 of those being unique visitors. The traffic from returning visitors is 62%, average time spent on the site is over 9 minutes with an average of 11 pages viewed per visit, indicating a strong interest in women in STEM issues and information. The site continues to grow in reach and depth, shown by the continual increase in unique visitors, a return rate of 38%, and an increasing number of resources and professional work groups.