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Advancement of Women in Engineering: Past, Present and Future

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2020 ASEE North Central Section conference


Morgantown, West Virginia

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March 27, 2020

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March 27, 2020

End Date

May 20, 2020

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Bhuvana Ramachandran University of West Florida

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Dr. Bhuvaneswari Ramachandran, who has more than 20 years experience teaching Power Engineering, is an Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of West Florida. Her many research areas include Auction Strategies in Electricity Markets, Real Time Power System Modeling and Simulation using Software Tools, Integration of Distributed Generation, Storage and Plug-in-Hybrid Vehicle into the Grid, Smart Grid and Micro Grid Scheduling and Economics, and Phasor Measurement-Based Analysis.

She taught at Annamalai University in India and at Florida State University before joining UWF in 2012. Ramachandran was a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at FSU’s Center for Advanced Power System. She also has worked for the Office of Naval Research. Ramachandran has co-published more than 30 refereed journal articles.

Publications include International Journal of Electrical Power & Energy Systems, the 6th IEEE International Conference on Cybernetics and Intelligent Systems, Expert Systems with Applications, Smart Grid, and Measurement.She received three degrees from Annamali University: Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, M.S. in Power Systems Engineering, and B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Ramachandran teaches Electrical Energy Engineering, Electric Energy Systems, and other courses.

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Chathapuram Ramanathan University of West Florida,

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Bio Sketch of Dr. Chathapuram (Ram) Ramanathan ; 248-790-8937

Dr. Chathapuram Ramanathan, Phd., ACSW, LMSW, LMFT, CAC has worked in the human service area for over three decades, and is an Associate Professor and former Chair of the Social Work Department at the University of West Florida. Dr. Ramanathan graduated with a Masters and a Doctoral degree from the University of Illinois. His doctoral degree is in Social work and Human Resources Management. He also has a MA in Medical and Psychiatric Social Work from Madras School of Social work. His practice and scholarship focus is on cross-cultural issues, social work practice, social development, addiction recovery, corporate social responsibility. Dr. Ramanathan has been providing Psychotherapy services for over 35 years, is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and a Licensed Clinical and Macro Social Worker. Prior to that, in the State of Illinois, he provided social work services for 12 years. Over the years he has been providing clinical supervision and case management consultations. Dr. Ramanathan is a credentialed Military Family Liaison Consultant.

Dr. Ramanathan has taught full time in schools of social work for over 17 years (Fulltime equivalent), about six years as Associate Professor. He has published over 35 refereed articles, book chapters, and co-authored three books. His book published in 1999, is called All Our Futures (Foreword written by Dean Shanti Khinduka). The book All our Futures was reprinted in 2004. Dr. Ramanathan co-authored another book in 2011, titled Human Behavior in a Just World: Reaching for Common Ground (Foreword written by Dean Frank Raymond). Another co-authored and co-edited book titled: Governance, Development, and Social Work was published in August 2013 by Routledge (Foreword written by Dean Emeritus and Prof. Jim Midgley). An Asian Edition of the book Governance, Development, and Social Work was published in January 2014 by Rawat Publishers. Yet another co-authored and co-edited book titled: Spirituality, Culture and Development was published in October 2016, by Lexington Books (Foreword written by Dean Emeritus and Prof. Kay Hoffman).
In 2011-2012 (October 1, 2011 to March 30, 2012), Dr. Ramanathan was conferred with Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Scholar award, and NIMHANS (National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences) served as host institution. In 2004, he was conferred a Fulbright Senior Specialist award to lecture on Social Work as a Full Professor, to students and professionals, at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, a Deemed University, (first social work program in Asia - established 1936 ); and at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences.
Dr. Ramanathan is an American citizen of Asian Indian origin. Dr. Ramanathan was Co-Director, Social Work Theory and Practicum in the Context of India, Office of Overseas Study and School of Social Work, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI - 48824, July 1991- to August 1992, and taught students from the Midwestern States of the USA. This was a very successful program. In 2013, Dr. Ramanathan organized an overseas study for upper class undergraduate students and two faculty members from Simpson College, Iowa. In 2013, Dr. Ramanathan facilitated a co-sponsored conference on Human Rights and Sanatana Dharma: Implications for Global Citizenship. The conference was co-sponsored by Simpson College, Iowa and Karnataka Samskrit University, Bangalore, India. Dr. Ramanathan has presented several key note and plenary speeches in conferences. Most recently in January 2014, he presented a plenary in a conference titled “Bounds of Ethics.” The inaugural address in that conference was given by his holiness the Dalai Lama.
Dr. Ramanathan served a three year term on NASW’s National Committee on Racial and Ethnic Diversity, and his term ended in June 2015. He has served NASW's National Ethics Committee from 2007-2009. He serves on the editorial board and as a board of manager of two major journals: Drugs and Society; Social Development Issues. Dr. Ramanathan serves as the North American Representative of the Indian Society of Professional Social Workers (ISPSW). Dr. Ramanathan, facilitated a Memorandum of Understanding between NASW and ISPSW, for the first time in the history of these professional organizations. He has been serving as Social Work Peer Review Committee Member, Fulbright Specialist Program, since January 2016.
Dr. Ramanathan has received many awards and honors, including a tribute from a Michigan Legislator and Michigan Governor, in October 2008, which recognized him as an important Asian American leader. One of his co-authored articles was recognized as the best article, by the National Human Rights Workers Association. This article appeared in the Journal of Inter-group Relations, and is titled: Mental health, social context, refugees and immigrants. In 2002, Dr. Ramanathan was a speaker through the US-Speaker Series program, presented "Diversity and Inclusiveness: A Hindu American View," at the conference "Religious Pluralism and Democratic Societies: United States and South East Asia," Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In the late 80s and early 90s, Dr. Ramanathan served on Michigan Governor's Multi Cultural Mental Health Education Task Force. Dr. Ramanathan served the Council on Social Work Education's (CSWE) International Commission from 1992-2004. He has been serving CSWE as a trained site visitor for over 20 years, reviewing graduate and undergraduate programs for accreditation. He has served on several agency boards, including the board of American Citizens for Justice. Dr. Ramanathan has presented over 50 papers and workshops in 18 countries, including the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Portugal, Singapore, Malaysia, Netherlands, the U.K., Turkey, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Ireland, Germany, Poland, Brazil, Hong Kong, and Bangladesh. Dr. Ramanathan has trained participants in addiction recovery, clinical social work, as well as on social development issues. Also, Dr. Ramanathan has trained participants in the area of Diversity Issues through many organizations, such as the University of East London; National Human Rights Workers Association; Larsen & Toubro, LTD; Phillips Software LTD; National Association of Social Workers – Michigan Chapter; Southfield School District, Michigan; Plymouth – Canton Community Schools, and so on.
NASW News Appearances: 1) July 2012, Volume 57, # 7.
2) June 2013 NASW News:
3) September 2015 NASW News – Social Workers discuss ways to undo racism

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Mohamed Khabou University of West Florida

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Globally, gender gap has persisted over the years in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. Among the STEM fields, engineering continues to have one of the highest rates of attrition (40%). Reasons that have been suggested for low female graduation rates include, lack of female engineering role models, misconceptions of what it is like to be an engineer, and having fewer technical problem-solving opportunities through K-12 compared to men. Lack of confidence is another critical issue that results in women engineering students switching majors. Therefore, designing and developing policies to tap into the potential of women and their contribution in this vital sector, requires understanding of how gender is related to participation, and success. Historically, in the development field, societies were viewed from a deficit perspective, as opposed to strength. This neo colonial mentality has inhibited reciprocal learning. Societies were classified as developed, under-developed, and least developed; or first world, second world, and third world. There is need to rethink categorizing nation states, in value-laden terms. With this backdrop, authors of this research also espouse value free terms identified terms in the literature: Global North or Global South. Some of the nations in the Global South, such as India, Turkey, and Singapore, have achieved a greater number of women in the STEM fields. Having a paradigm shift in contemporary perspectives that classifies societies as “First and Third World” may provide opportunities to observe and learn from nations of the global south, where there is a higher percentage of women in engineering. This background motivated the authors to investigate the participation of women in engineering, to study facilitators and barriers for women entering the field of engineering and its implications for education. In this regard, the main research questions of this study are ● What are the main reasons women are interested in engineering? ● What are some barriers to women, developing an interest in engineering? ● How can more young women be encouraged to develop an interest in engineering before enrolling in college? and • What are the issues that are critical to recruitment and retention of women in engineering and how to develop strategies to overcome them?

To answer these questions, a survey was designed and administered to undergraduate students in engineering at an university in the southern United States. Purposive sampling was utilized to collect information on why students were interested in engineering and the barriers, the students and their friends encountered. As an extension to this study, the authors will use the survey results, in identifying initiatives to attract and increase the number of local women high school students wanting to pursue engineering as a career, and will provide pointers to develop intervention strategies that will help retain them. The authors anticipate that the information obtained through this descriptive study would guide educators and researchers in attracting middle and high school girls to prepare for engineering as a major in college.

Ramachandran, B., & Ramanathan, C., & Khabou, M. (2020, March), Advancement of Women in Engineering: Past, Present and Future Paper presented at 2020 ASEE North Central Section conference, Morgantown, West Virginia.

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