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An Integrated Program To Recruit And Retain Women Engineering Students

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Retention: Keeping the Women Students

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.187.1 - 7.187.7



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Paper Authors

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Audeen Fentiman

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Lisa Abrams

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

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Session 1392 An Integrated Program to Recruit and Retain Women Engineering Students Lisa M. Abrams and Audeen W. Fentiman The Ohio State University


The need for efforts to recruit and retain women in engineering is well known, and many programs to bring women into the engineering profession have been proposed and implemented. Unfortunately, in spite of those efforts, the percentage of women in engineering schools and among practicing engineers continues to hover around 20% and 10%, respectively. At Ohio State, we undertake many of the recruitment programs that serve broad audiences, such as workshops, campus visits, and printed materials. In addition, however, we conduct programs that focus on recruiting women from high schools known to provide them with the skills necessary to study engineering and on integrating those programs with others designed to retain women who have chosen to study engineering. This paper documents the suite of recruitment and retention programs at Ohio State; several of which were supported, in part, by the Gateway Engineering Education Coalition.


Our society is becoming increasingly reliant on technology, and as a result, there is an increasing demand for people with training in technical fields, particularly engineering. Young women form a substantial and largely untapped pool of potential engineers that could help to meet this growing need. In addition, employers are eager to hire women engineers who often provide different perspectives from their male colleagues, helping their companies to develop innovative products and services.

One of the primary goals of the Women in Engineering Program at The Ohio State University is to increase the number of women graduating with degrees in engineering. Meeting that goal requires both recruiting - increasing numbers of women engineering students, and retention - ensuring that those who do enroll complete their degrees.

The Women in Engineering Program has three integrated sets of programs to recruit and retain women engineering students. The first set of programs focuses on women attending the 25 Ohio high schools that historically send the largest number of engineering students to Ohio State. These schools typically have strong math and science curricula and large numbers of male and female students with the academic preparation required for success in engineering. Successful recruiting at these schools can immediately increase the number of women engineering students. The second set of programs is designed to make young women attending other high schools and those still in junior high aware of engineering as a career option and to encourage them to take the courses that will prepare them to study engineering. In the long run, these programs will also result in larger numbers of women in engineering. The third set of programs is designed give women engineering students the support and encouragement they need to remain in the engineering program and to complete their degrees.

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Fentiman, A., & Abrams, L. (2002, June), An Integrated Program To Recruit And Retain Women Engineering Students Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10531

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