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CPP WE: Retaining and Graduating Women in Undergraduate Engineering

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2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity


Crystal City, Virginia

Publication Date

April 14, 2019

Start Date

April 14, 2019

End Date

April 22, 2019

Conference Session

Track: Collegiate - Technical Session 4

Tagged Topics

Diversity and Collegiate

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Paper Authors


Kristina Rigden California State Polytechnic University, Pomona Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Kristina Rigden is the Director of Outreach Programs and the Women in Engineering Program for the College of Engineering at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona). In her position, she provides several different outreach programming events to engage K-12 female students to pursue STEM majors and/or careers. Dr. Rigden holds a B.A. in Liberal Studies from Cal Poly Pomona, a TESOL certificate, a M.A. in Teaching with a multiple-subject credential and an Ed.D. from the University of Southern California.

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Nicole Gutzke California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

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Ms. Nicole Gutzke is the Outreach Liaison with Cal Poly Pomona College of Engineering (CoE). As the Outreach Liaison, she is heavily involved in growing Cal Poly Pomona’s PLTW Summer Core Training Institute into a seven-week event that introduces hundreds of K-12 educators to the latest in STEM-related curriculum. As the Outreach Liaison, Nicole helps to recruit, retain, and graduate hundreds of female engineers each year through outreach events. Nicole also provides support for the CPP CoE Femineers™, a program that was recognized by the White House in 2015.

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The Cal Poly Pomona Women in Engineering (CPP WE) program was established in 2012 as a Dean’s Office initiative to provide young women the resources and supportive services to succeed in engineering. CPP WE serves female undergraduate and graduate students and faculty in the College of Engineering. CPP WE focuses on recruitment and retention efforts, as well as overall environment enhancement programs. The CPP WE community is made up of women of all racial and ethnic backgrounds encompassing all seven departments in the College of Engineering at Cal Poly Pomona.

Program’s Outcomes:

1. CPP WE will engage current students through K-12 outreach activities for young women to increase awareness of and exposure to multiple engineering programs and their great impact on society. 2. CPP WE will provide a welcoming environment for prospective students to learn about the college of engineering and the women in engineering programs. 3. CPP WE will retain and graduate current female students by fostering a supportive community and enriching their experiences within the college of engineering. 4. CPP WE will create a supportive network of alumnae to provide mentoring to current female students and to increase career and internship opportunities for current female students.

CPP WE strives to recruit female engineers by bringing awareness and exposure of engineering programs to women while retaining and graduating current students by providing a welcoming environment for them. The program provides greater participation by women through K-12 outreach activities, by means of inspiring prospective and current students to be successful engineers, and by continuing engagement with alumnae in engineering industries. CPP WE promotes a close community for female engineering students through proactive retention activities and seeks to create an environment in which women can thrive in the classroom and beyond in their careers.

Rigden, K., & Gutzke, N. (2019, April), CPP WE: Retaining and Graduating Women in Undergraduate Engineering Paper presented at 2019 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity , Crystal City, Virginia.

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