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Females Involved From Regional Schools In Technology And Engineering (Firste): Reaching Out To High School Females

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1996 Annual Conference


Washington, District of Columbia

Publication Date

June 23, 1996

Start Date

June 23, 1996

End Date

June 26, 1996



Page Count


Page Numbers

1.216.1 - 1.216.3



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Paper Authors

author page

Joan A. Begolly

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Tracie L. Brockhoff

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

1 Session 2 6 6 6


Joan A. Begolly, Tracie L. Brockhoff Penn State University

Justification Seventy-three percent of the increased college and university enrollment in the last decade is attributable to women, according to the Department of Education’s Center for Education Statistics. In 1991, a greater proportion of female high school graduates (67.1) enrolled in college than male (57.6). Although the trend continues with an increased percentage of females (52. O) planning for doctoral or advanced degrees in 1993, a study of the five most often planned fields of study by 1993 seniors indicated “about 81 percent of those who chose engineering were men. ”1

According to the 1994 edition of Information Plus, although “women have made important inroads into the life, physical, and computer sciences” they still lag behind men proportionately “in degrees of all levels of physical and computer sciences, and especially in engineerin where they earned about 15 percent of the bachelor’s and master’s degrees and only 9 percent of the Ph. D’s. ” f

The FIRSTE program provides a vehicle for Penn State University and the New Kensington Campus to capture the interest of this growing community of college-bound young women, and to introduce them to nontraditional careers in engineering and engineering technology.

Problem Statement The Registrar at the New Kensington Campus reports that less than 10 percent of enrolled engineering and engineering technology students are female, and proportionately fewer are of a minority group.

The problem is twofold: 1) young women are seldom encouraged by school teachers or counselors to consider or investigate careers in engineering because engineering continues to be a traditionally male choice, and 2) we are not reaching female and minority candidates early enough to encourage and guide them in preparation for matriculation in engineering or engineering technology.

Purpose The objectives of the FIRSTE program are to foster involvement of females in engineering and engineering technology careers by reaching them during the career-formative years and, consequently, increase recruitment efforts and enrollment at Penn State University and the New Kensington Campus. This effort is in direct relation to the New Kensington Campus Recruitment and Retention Plan (Objective 3) which seeks to “integrate women from diverse educational backgrounds into the engineering and engineering technology programs at the ~SNK] Campus to ensure their success and retention. ”

The New Kensington Campus’ size and low student-to-teacher ratio (18: 1) serve to “foster students’ abilities” (Goal E). In surveys conducted at the New Kensington Campus students consistently indicate that the personal interaction offered by the academic community (i.e., advising and mentoring) has enhanced their academic success. Consequently, our campus serves as an excellent transition for students who must transfer to University Park in order to complete their degree in a four-year engineering program or, for students’ direct involvement in the operation of machines and equipment, enrollment in one of our excellent Engineering Technology programs completely housed at the New Kensington Campus.

$iiii’1996 ASEE Annual Conference Proceedings > ‘.

Begolly, J. A., & Brockhoff, T. L. (1996, June), Females Involved From Regional Schools In Technology And Engineering (Firste): Reaching Out To High School Females Paper presented at 1996 Annual Conference, Washington, District of Columbia. 10.18260/1-2--6057

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