New initiative helps women in STEM negotiate salaries

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Sonik | Daily Texan Staff

As part of a new initiative, the UT Natural Sciences Council hosted a national workshop on Tuesday to help women in STEM negotiate their salaries. 

The American Physical Society hosts the traveling workshop at colleges around the nation to introduce professional women in physics to students.

Kelly Nash, an assistant physics professor at UT-San Antonio, led the workshop Tuesday. The event informed students about the ongoing trend of women receiving less pay than their male counterparts, specifically in the STEM fields, and helped students successfully negotiate their salaries.

“I have been on the other side where I didn’t ask about my salary because I didn’t know that I could,” Nash said. “I looked at this as an opportunity to help other women, and I like the idea that we are now training women at an undergraduate stage so they are better prepared.”

The workshop helped empower female students as they prepare to enter the workforce and ensured students realized the importance of this skill, said Bilal Haque, chair of professional development for the Natural Sciences Council. 

“As a society, we are so focused on getting a job that we forget the next step of making sure we are getting paid a worthy amount,” neuroscience sophomore Haque said.

Nash focused on providing students with the right tools and tips on how to approach negotiating salaries, including connecting to the organization and staying calm. 

“At the end of the day, we are negotiating because we want fairness,” Nash said. “We have a natural tendency to get upset, and this can really throw off the negotiations.” 

Mathematics senior Amy De Luna said it’s beneficial to have a workshop where students can learn about negotiating salaries, as many students are starting to apply for jobs. 

 

“I had no idea how to negotiate for my salary or even know how to ask,” De Luna said. “I know that I am not alone in feeling that way, and it’s important for any woman entering the STEM workforce to have this support.” 

Nash said it is also important for students to know how the wage gap affects women in the workforce.

“This will start to break down some of the implicit biases that we see in the workplace,” Nash said. “This will even help us move forward with having equity within the workforce.”