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Creating A Comprehensive Women In Engineering Organization Using A Managed Resource Strategy

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2008 Annual Conference & Exposition


Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Publication Date

June 22, 2008

Start Date

June 22, 2008

End Date

June 25, 2008



Conference Session

Money and People; Resource Management for Recruitment and Retention

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

13.339.1 - 13.339.13



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Paper Authors


Margaret Bailey Rochester Institute of Technology

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MARGARET BAILEY, registered professional engineer, is the Kate Gleason Chair and Associate Professor in Mechanical Engineering at RIT. She earned her BSE at Pennsylvania State University in 1988 and her Ph.D. at University of Colorado at Boulder in 1998. She conducts research with students using advanced thermodynamic analyses and neural network modeling applied to various, energy-intensive, complex mechanical systems. Dr. Bailey serves in numerous leadership roles within her college, including Executive Director of RIT’s Women in Engineering Program (WE@RIT); ME Department Advocate for Engineering Honors Program; and Member of Multidisciplinary Capstone Design Leadership Team.

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Elizabeth DeBartolo Rochester Institute of Technology

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ELIZABETH A. DEBARTOLO is an Associate Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She earned her BSE at Duke University in 1994 and her MSME and Ph.D. at Purdue University in 1996 and 2000, respectively. She works with students on predicting and enhancing fatigue life in aircraft materials and structures and on determining mechanical properties of biological materials. Dr. DeBartolo serves on her college's leadership teams for both multi-disciplinary capstone design and outreach program development.

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Jacqueline Mozrall Rochester Institute of Technology

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JACQUELINE REYNOLDS MOZRALL is Department Head and Professor in Industrial and Systems Engineering at RIT. She performed ergonomic training, job/workplace design, and product development functions in manufacturing and office environments for over 10 years. She also published more than a dozen articles on ergonomics and human factors-related related topics. She has a keen interest in undergraduate education and is a program evaluator for the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology. She has been involved in the Women in Engineering Program and multidisciplinary senior design activities at RIT. She received a B.S. from RIT, a M.S. from North Carolina State University, and a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo. All three of her degrees are in Industrial Engineering. She returned to RIT in 1994 as a faculty member in ISE and became Department Head in July, 2000.

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Julie Olney Rochester Institute of Technology

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JULIE OLNEY is the Program Coordinator for Women in Engineering at RIT (WE@RIT). She earned her associate degree in applied science and technology with a concentration in social welfare at RIT in 2005. Ms. Olney is responsible for the development and implementation of WE@RIT community building, outreach and recruitment events, and the student staff employed by the program. Ms. Olney serves on The President’s Commission on Women, The K-12 Outreach Coordinating Committee and The Institute’s Council on Mentoring.

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

Creating a Comprehensive Women in Engineering Organization using a Managed Resource Strategy


According to Margaret Mead, “A small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world.” This paper describes such a “group” consisting of engineering college professors, administrators, and students who together create a dynamic organization aimed at increasing the representation of women within the engineering workforce. Although women serve as the target audience, the group of “committed citizens” consists of women and men with similar intrinsic motivators. In 2004, the team launched a new organization called WE@RIT (or Women in Engineering at RIT) and within a few months hosted their first pre-engineering outreach program aimed at an audience of twelve 6th and 7th grade girls. Over the past four years, the organization has grown significantly to include outreach activities for females from 4th through 11th grade, the TEAK (or Traveling Engineering Activity Kit) Program and companion website designed for 6th grade classroom use; a comprehensive recruitment strategy for 11th and 12th grade women; and an extensive community building program for current women engineering students. During the 2006/07 academic year, WE@RIT hosted over 1500 participants in their various program offerings with the support of 175 people, most of whom were volunteers.

The organization and its programming flourish using a managed resource strategy in a climate where funding is limited. Student and faculty volunteers and/or student employees perform much of the effort involved in designing and administering various programs. A unique leadership structure allows a faculty member through work plan adjustment to serve as the program’s executive director while a full-time coordinator handles daily program activities. In order to run the organization using resources effectively, the group created overall program goals with supporting program level objectives as well as program-level objectives. The structure allows the team to assess and evaluate various offerings or the entire program on a regular basis. There are few, if any, features of the organizational structure and resource management scheme that are school/region specific, and therefore elements of this organization and its management strategy are transferable. This paper describes a strategy that allows for deliberate organizational growth under limited resource conditions in the context of women in engineering.

Organizational History and Background

A group created the WE@RIT (Women in Engineering at the Rochester Institute of Technology) organization within the Kate Gleason College of Engineering (KGCOE) to address the needs of an engineering workforce that is lacking women leaders and to promote gender diversity within our engineering programs. As the number of retirements in science and engineering and the demand for trained professionals in those fields increases, while enrollment in college degree programs remains steady, our nation may be facing a shortage of scientists and engineers [1]. It is critical to expose young people to the broad range of opportunities within engineering. WE@RIT outreach programs include fun activities that highlight applications of math and science in less traditional areas of engineering thus appealing in particular to women and minorities who seek concrete applications of the abstract math and science concepts they have

Proceedings of the 2008 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2008, American Society for Engineering Education

Bailey, M., & DeBartolo, E., & Mozrall, J., & Olney, J. (2008, June), Creating A Comprehensive Women In Engineering Organization Using A Managed Resource Strategy Paper presented at 2008 Annual Conference & Exposition, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 10.18260/1-2--4464

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: © 2008 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