In February of 2019, several members of GSPIA's staff, faculty, and student body came together to apply for a Pitt Seed Grant in order to form a regional chapter of the international organization WIIS, also known as Women in International Security. Together they saw an opportunity to take active roles in pursuing gender equality in our region.
The Pitt Seed Grant provides monies from the University of Pittsburgh Office of the Chancellor in order to fund transformative projects that are directed toward supporting one or more of the six goals and associated strategies within The Plan for Pitt and priorities of the Office of the Provost.
After being awarded these funds, WIIS - Pitt was born. In our first year, WIIS cohosted terrorism expert Dr. Mia Bloom. Dr. Bloom who discussed her research on women, children, and terrorism, as well as her work as a female academic, opportunities for mentorship, and advice for women beginning careers in international security. WIIS also hosted an expert panel of women working in international peace and security. The panel was designed to expose students to diverse careers in the field and allow them to engage directly with our experts. The panel included Ms. Tracy Rice (FBI), and WIIS University of Pittsburgh cofounders Professor Julia Santucci and Dr. Karin Warner. In addition, from October 5-9, 2020, we hosted our first (virtual) conference!