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Hypatia A Residential Community For Freshman Women In Engineering

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2004 Annual Conference


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 20, 2004

Start Date

June 20, 2004

End Date

June 23, 2004



Conference Session

The Climate for Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

9.679.1 - 9.679.11



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Paper Authors

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Sharnnia Artis

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Bevlee Watford

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


Hypatia A Residential Program for Freshman Women in Engineering

Bevlee A. Watford, Sharnnia Artis

Center for the Enhancement of Engineering Diversity Virginia Tech


In 2001, Virginia Tech implemented a residentially based program for women students enrolling as freshman in the College of Engineering. Hypatia, named after an ancient Egyptian philosopher, currently has 52 residents representing approximately 30% of the freshmen engineering women. These students reside on one floor of a residence hall, enroll in the Hypatia Seminar during the fall semester, and participate in programmatic activities during the spring semester.

Women in Engineering programs exist in many colleges of engineering, some for 20 years or more. With women representing approximately 19% of students enrolled in undergraduate engineering programs1, these programs create a supportive and welcoming environment for the students fostering academic success. Virginia Tech has been providing support programs for the undergraduate women in engineering since 1996. One of the more recent activities implemented at Virginia Tech is a residentially based learning community. Hypatia allows female freshmen engineering students to form a living and learning environment that promotes academic success.

This paper addresses two issues. First, to detail the characteristics (both academic and personal life experiences) that describes the typical Hypatia participant. Second, it is desired to determine the impact of the Hypatia Seminar on student perceptions and development.


Over the past several years Virginia Tech, like many other institutions of higher education, has experienced substantial budget reductions. While every effort is made to reduce costs, tuition increases have been implemented. With the existence of numerous lower cost alternatives to undergraduate education, Virginia Tech continually looks to implement new programs that provide improved services to students, services that exist beyond the traditional classroom. University wide honors programs, study abroad opportunities, and nationally recognized student activities are a means for institutions to differentiate themselves from each other and influence decisions of both parents and students. In a sense, the perception is that excellent academic programs are often not enough to sustain the enrollment of academically talented students.

Proceedings of the 2004 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2004, American Society for Engineering Education

Artis, S., & Watford, B. (2004, June), Hypatia A Residential Community For Freshman Women In Engineering Paper presented at 2004 Annual Conference, Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--13079

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