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A Collegiate External Women’s Advisory Committee: Origins and the Development of a Strategic Plan

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 6

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Kathleen Buse Advancing Women in the Workforce

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Dr. Kathleen Buse is a business leader whose work focuses on helping organizations be more successful through the development of engaged and inclusive work cultures. As President and Founder of Advancing Women in the Workforce,
Kathleen helps employers recruit, retain, and advance women.
Dr. Buse’s experience includes 25 years in industry, beginning as an engineer and advancing to executive leadership. She spent ten years in academia where she became an award-winning researcher and top-rated educator. Dr. Buse was Co-creator and Faculty Director for the Leadership Lab and Adjunct Professor at Case Western Reserve University, in both the Case School of Engineering and the Weatherhead School of Management.
Most recently, Kathleen was Director of Research and the Women’s Leadership Institute at ERC. As Director of research, she led the efforts to expand the use of data analytics to support client initiatives, the NorthCoast 99 program, and ERC’s Employee Engagement Survey practice. As Director of the Women’s Leadership Institute, she led the efforts to help employers recruit, retain, and advance women.
Dr. Buse earned a Ph.D. in Management from Case Western Reserve University, an MS in Electrical Engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology and a BS in Chemical Engineering/Engineering & Public Policy from Carnegie Mellon University. Her industry experience includes Kodak, Lubrizol, Avery Dennison, and Sherwin-Williams. She is an active volunteer, currently serving as a board member at Magnificat High School where she chairs the Education Committee. She is past board member of the Center for Arts Inspired Learning and past chair of the United Way of Lake County. Kathleen is a founding member of the Women’s Leadership Council now known as Women United. She is a chair of the education committee. She and her husband have three children and live in Lake County, Ohio.

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Lyndsey McMillon-Brown NASA Glenn Research Center

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Lyndsey McMillon-Brown is a researcher at NASA Glenn Research Center. Lyndsey earned her B.S in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering from Miami University (2013), she then completed her M.S and Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering at Yale University (2019). Her dissertation work focused on developing novel materials and patterns for advanced light trapping in solar cells. Lyndsey has worked on a variety of space solar cell-related programs including thin film and organic cell development and durability studies. She is currently the Principle Investigator on a research effort to develop perovskite solar cells for space. Outside of the lab, Lyndsey is dedicated to increasing opportunities for underrepresented individuals in STEM fields.

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L. Nicole Smith NASA Glenn Research Center

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Nicole Smith is the Chief of the Exploration Systems Office at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She most recently was the project manager for Artemis I Testing at NASA's Plum Brook Station. She has been with NASA for 20 years. She has a BA in Mathematics and Statistics and a BS in Aeronautics from Miami University, and an MS in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati. She has worked engineering, mission operations, and program management for the International Space Station and Orion Programs at both NASA's Johnson Space Center and Glenn Research Center, with a brief tenure on Capitol Hill in 2011-2012 as the Aerospace and Manufacturing legislative fellow for the senior senator from Ohio. In her free time she enjoys mentoring women in STEM, hiking, biking, reading, and traveling to see the world.

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Brian P. Kirkmeyer Miami University

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Brian Kirkmeyer is the Karen Buchwald Wright Senior Assistant Dean for Student Success and Instructor in the College of Engineering and Computing at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His background includes BS, MS and PhD degrees in Materials Science and Engineering (specialization in polymers), the former from Purdue University and the latter two from the University of Pennsylvania. He has work experiences in automotive electronics (Delphi Automotive Systems) and consumer products (International Flavors and Fragrances) prior to his current role. He served on the executive committee of the ASEE Women in Engineering division from 2010 to present.

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Gender diversity increases collaboration enables better and more creative problem solving leading to greater innovation and improved financial performance. Despite these and other well documented benefits of gender diversity, women continue to be underrepresented in engineering and computing. This paper describes how alumnae at a mid-sized Midwestern university worked with their alma mater to form an external Women’s Advisory Committee to the College of Engineering and Computing. The group chartered a mission to “provide leadership in a collaborative environment with faculty, staff, students, alumni and others to improve recruitment, retention and graduation support for women in engineering and computing…”. Members of the Committee engage with the College regularly and give both guidance and action to efforts related to student success for women students and faculty.

Recently, the Committee embarked on the development of a strategic plan to maximize the impact of the volunteers and to leverage their unique strengths to support the diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts of the College. The strategic planning process is detailed here, including the methodology, the time frame, the prioritization of activities, and the outcomes. Details are provided on the undertakings for the Committee including mentorship, mentorship training, promotion and marketing of women alumni from the College’s academic programs, and a collaborative retention plan with the College. Approaches are shared on best practices for organizing, focusing, and obtaining consensus on priorities. The work of the committee could be a model for other colleges and universities to develop on their own, especially in situations where school size and resource allocations may not allow the fullest range of women-focused offices and initiatives.

Buse, K., & McMillon-Brown, L., & Smith, L. N., & Kirkmeyer, B. P. (2021, July), A Collegiate External Women’s Advisory Committee: Origins and the Development of a Strategic Plan Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36560

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