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Advancing Women In Engineering By Empowering Student Leaders To Promote The Recruitment And Retention Of Females In Engineering

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Conference

2007 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Retention Programs for Women Students

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count

17

Page Numbers

12.186.1 - 12.186.17

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/2435

Download Count

36

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Paper Authors

biography

Helene Finger California Polytechnic State University

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Helene Finger is the Director of the Women’s Engineering Program in the College of Engineering at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Her responsibilities include supervising staff and advising the student SWE section in the planning and implementation of programs for the recruitment and retention of women. She has also taught in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department at Cal Poly since 1997 and is a registered professional engineer. In 2001 she was named a recipient of National Organization for Women Educational Equity Award.

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Tracy Van Houten University of Southern California

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Tracy Van Houten is the lead Systems Engineer for Jet Propulsion Laboratory's advanced concepts development team, Team X. She has a B.S. in Aerospace Engineering from Cal Poly and is currently working on a M.S. in Astronautics and Space Technology at the University of Southern California. She was the Cal Poly SWE President from 2002-2003, and has continued her SWE involvement as the Region Collegiate Representative Coordinator on the Collegiate Interest Committee.

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Barbara Curry California Polytechnic State University

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Barbara Curry has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from UC Santa Barbara, and a M.S. and Ph.D. in Economics and Operations Research from the Colorado School of Mines. Her research has primarily focused on retention of female engineering students, including her dissertation entitled,†Female Retention In Undergraduate Engineering Majors: The Effects Of Individual Characteristics, Career Characteristics, And Demand Discriminatio.

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Jennifer Harris United Parcel Service

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Jennifer Harris graduated from Cal Poly in 2003, receiving a B.S. in Industrial Engineering and a M.S. in Engineering with a Specialization in Integrated Technology Management. She served for five years on the SWE Executive Council at Cal Poly including serving as President in 2001-2002. Ms. Harris is currently working at United Parcel Service in Los Angeles as an Industrial Engineering Supervisor, and she is the President of SWE-LA, Lt. Governor for the SWE Sonora Region, and the SWE National Scholarship Chair.

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Malia Francisco United Parcel Service

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Malia Francisco is a 2005 graduate of Cal Poly with a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering. She is currently working for Northrop Grumman Space Technology as a Launch Operations Systems Engineer. She has a six year career with SWE, the first five years spent working with the Cal Poly collegiate section where she served in various officer positions including President in 2004-05. Currently, she is the secretary for the SWE-LA section and on the SWE National Membership Committee.

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Betsy Sale United Parcel Service

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Betsy Sale recently graduated from Cal Poly with a B.S. in Civil Engineering. She was involved with SWE during her time at Cal Poly by serving in many positions including President in 2005-06. After graduation, she has continued her involvement in SWE by serving as Treasurer in the Central Coast Professional SWE Section. Ms. Sale now works as a Civil Engineer with Cannon Associates in San Luis Obispo.

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Abstract
NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Advancing Women in Engineering by Empowering Student Leaders to Promote the Recruitment and Retention of Females in Engineering

Abstract

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s College of Engineering created a model for empowering women to excel by establishing the Society of Women Engineers student section as the implementing organization for women in engineering recruitment and retention activities. A Women’s Engineering Program Director, who is supported by the Dean, provides strategic guidance to the approximately 45 SWE officers who oversee the development and completion of programming to encourage women to aspire, advance and achieve in engineering.

The outcome is an outstanding record of accomplishments that has continued to gain momentum through the years. Cal Poly SWE continues to improve upon prior successes and to expand efforts as the largest and most well-recognized professional organization on the Cal Poly campus and the largest and Most Outstanding Student Section in the nation for the last four years.

Studies of retention of Cal Poly female engineering students and alumnae have demonstrated the strength of this model. Cal Poly female engineering students are retained both at a higher rate than the national average and at a higher rate than male students on campus. This vitality of Cal Poly female engineering students and alumnae is derived mutually from the myriad of support activities that are being offered to attract and keep those students in the engineering pipeline and the empowerment of having students design and manage the events themselves. Further feeding this positive cycle is enhanced industry support, originating from the recognized value of interpersonal, managerial and leadership skills developed as a result of this organization.

Through the years, Cal Poly SWE has planned, implemented and improved their officer structure, programming and member recruitment activities in promotion of their mission. The best practices gleaned from the experiences of this flourishing section are discussed in this paper with the hope that they can be applied at other institutions to further inspire the next generation of engineers.

Introduction

As in the words of Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, “there is a quiet crisis in U.S. science and technology that we have to wake up to.” The crisis that she is referring to is our nation’s shrinking pool of scientists and engineers.1 One of the four main recommendations cited in the report to congress dealing with this issue, Rising Above the Gathering Storm, Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future,2 involves a call to “develop, recruit, and retain the best and brightest students, scientists, and engineers”. Unfortunately, one half of the best and brightest of our population are scarcely contributing to our engineering ranks, and their percentages of participation are declining.

Finger, H., & Van Houten, T., & Curry, B., & Harris, J., & Francisco, M., & Sale, B. (2007, June), Advancing Women In Engineering By Empowering Student Leaders To Promote The Recruitment And Retention Of Females In Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. https://peer.asee.org/2435

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2007 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015