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Brewing Change: A Forum for Women in Engineering and the Sciences

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 5

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Alandra Kahl Pennsylvania State University, Greater Allegheny

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Dr. Alandra Kahl currently teaches engineering design and sustainable systems at The Pennsylvania State University, Greater Allegheny campus. She received her doctorate in environmental engineering from the University of Arizona in 2013, where her dissertation focused on the fate and transport of contaminants of emerging concern in an arid region. Dr. Kahl’s research interests include engineering of sustainable systems, treatment of emerging contaminants via natural systems and engineering education. She is the author of several technical papers and conference proceedings centered on environmental engineering. Her professional affiliations include the Society of Women Engineers, the American Chemical Society, and the American Society for Engineering Education.

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This paper is to describe the experiences of undergraduate women in engineering and the sciences on a small campus of a major university. Participants were invited to a weekly discussion group to talk about their experiences as women in these traditionally underrepresented areas. The group was provided with journals for recording their experiences as well a weekly prompt for discussion. The goal of this discussion area was to provide a friendly and open forum for discussion about gender issues. Participants valued the forum as a place to speak and hear about the experiences of female faculty who may have faced similar issues as well as way to connect with their peers in the discipline. This work focuses on the experiences of undergraduate women in the sciences and engineering with regards to the underlying systemic factors in institutions and organizations that lead to inequity. Participants shared experiences during weekly discussion and through journaling about how gender norms in engineering and the sciences tend to reflect masculine values, experiences and life situations. Through these discussions, participants learned to address underlying assumptions, norms, and practices to change the culture for all members, men and women. The initiative was assessed by participant engagement with the topics and qualitative journal responses to the discussion prompts.

Kahl, A. (2017, June), Brewing Change: A Forum for Women in Engineering and the Sciences Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--27977

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