Rowan’s WINGS club wants to give women a chance in scientific careers

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Rowan’s Women Inspiring a New Generation of Scientists (WINGS) club hosted a talk by Dr. Deneen Hendrick last week, who talked about her extensive career in the medical field.

WINGS is dedicated to supporting women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), and encouraging more to pursue degrees in these fields.

A Doctor of Osteopathic medicine (DO) and coordinator of pre-health studies at Rowan, Hendrick is a prime example of the successful women within the sciences that WINGS looks to for inspiration.

Hendrick’s educational journey began at Johns Hopkins University, where she received a bachelor’s in natural sciences, and continued through medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Hendrick emphasized that she doesn’t consider herself a “real scientist,” reserving that label for “people with PhDs.”

Her varied, extensive career includes work as a pediatrician, where she practiced in a community health center and private office. She placed significant importance on her time as a locum tenen, which involved travelling the country and filling vacant positions for one week to several months at a time.

-Photo Editor/Amanda Palma

“I have this skillset,” Hendrick said. “What can I do with it? I started contracting myself out, working for companies like Easter Seals and doing medical legal reviews for law cases. As long as you have a basic skillset that is transferable, you can go anywhere.”

On the essentials of her skillset, Hendrick pointed to her ability to work well with people and her enthusiasm, noting these traits above all else as keys to her career and life success.  

As a result of her experience in the field, Hendrick ended up at Rowan within the School of Osteopathic medicine.

“Osteopathic medicine is about a broader, holistic, let the body heal itself approach,” she said.

She also touched on society’s eagerness to find a quick fix to a problem, rather than focusing on prevention.

“Not all hyper kids need Ritalin,” she said. “Some need discipline, a nap and a hug. Sometimes the shortcut is the quickest way to destruction.”

As a woman in the medical field, Hendrick tackled the subject of gender disparity within this area, stressing the improvement in the modern era compared to when she first started.

“Most schools are 50/50 men and women now, and there even might be a slight preponderance of women,” she said. “It’s not the stigma that it used to be.”

However, Hendrick pointed out that higher up in medical fields, including surgeon positions and post-graduate programs, there is a notable absence of women.

Senior biochemistry and biology major Kelso Borrell, who is also the president of WINGS, also spoke about this societal aspect that discourages women from advancing further in the sciences.

“Subliminal messaging from a very young age has an impact,” Borrell added. “To guys, we say you need to work hard and get a good job to support one day. And to women, we say you need to look pretty, so that somebody successful is going to want you.”

Hendrick concluded with an overall message for young women: “You have to decide what you want to do. Don’t spend your time trying to be something that somebody else has created.”

These words of inspiration echoed the core of WINGS as an organization, which focuses on empowering young women within the sciences to forge their own paths.

Junior biology major Kayla Green has been with WINGS since the beginning.

“All the stuff we do let’s everybody embrace who they are, especially since we’re girls that like science,” she said.

Green was impressed by the talk, adding, “Dr. Hendrick always has loads of wisdom to share with everyone.”

Borrell stated that WINGS received a grant for $5,000 to host their staple event, a Q&A panel with women working in STEM fields. The event will be held on Saturday, April 8 at the Marriott in Glassboro, an upgrade from last year’s event in Science Hall.

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