June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Women in Engineering
11.708.1 - 11.708.15
Hypatia: A Living and Learning Community for Freshman and Sophomore Women in Engineering Abstract
Virginia Tech has been providing support programs for undergraduate women in engineering since 1996. These programs offer an encouraging and supportive environment in order to promote academic success. In fall 2001, the Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity at Virginia Tech implemented a residentially based program for women students enrolling as freshmen in the College of Engineering. Hypatia, named after an ancient Egyptian philosopher, was created in order to increase the recruitment and retention of female engineering students in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. Due to popular demand, in 2004, a second-year program was developed and implemented in the fall for Hypatia students who wished to remain in the community during their sophomore year of engineering study.
The first-year Hypatia program currently has 66 residents representing approximately 42% of the freshman engineering women. These students reside on two adjacent floors of a residence hall and are enrolled in the First Year Hypatia Seminar course (3 credits) in the fall. The goal of the seminar class is to help the students improve their academic and professional skills. The second- year Hypatia program currently has 21 residents representing approximately 12% of the sophomore engineering women. These students reside on one floor of the same residence hall and are enrolled in the one-credit Second-Year Hypatia Seminar in the fall. The focus of the second-year seminar is to help the students develop their leadership skills through activities available via the Hypatia program. Both programs help women in engineering to explore critical issues surrounding women's roles in predominately male fields. Both of the communities participate in programmatic activities in the spring semester.
Hypatia allows female freshman and sophomore engineering students to be a part of a living and learning community that promotes academic and professional success, increasing the rate of retention of women engineering students. The program also gives the students an opportunity to actively recruit women into the College of Engineering through outreach activities. This paper will discuss how the Hypatia programs contribute to the academic and professional development of participants, and will address the recruitment and retention of these Virginia Tech women engineering students. The paper will also present a longitudinal study of all Hypatia residents since its inception in 2001.
Hypatia is supported by the CEED office and is funded through donations through corporate sponsors. Hypatia is essential to advancing the mission of the CEED office, which is to increase the number of under-represented1 students in the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech. The Hypatia program is not required for incoming women in engineering; it is a residential
1 Within the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech, the term under-represented refers to women, African American, Latino/a, and American Indian students.
Edmister, W., & Martin, A., & Watford, B. (2006, June), Hypatia: A Living And Learning Community For Freshman And Sophomore Women In Engineering Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--1099
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