Asee peer logo

Increasing Enrollment Of Minority Women In Engineering

Download Paper |


2007 Annual Conference & Exposition


Honolulu, Hawaii

Publication Date

June 24, 2007

Start Date

June 24, 2007

End Date

June 27, 2007



Conference Session

Marketing Engineering to Minority Students

Tagged Division

Minorities in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

12.877.1 - 12.877.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Showkat Chowdhury Alabama A&M University

visit author page

Dr. Showkat Chowdhury is an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Dr. Chowdhury has extensive background in teaching undergraduate and graduate students in Mechanical Engineering, and performing research in the fields of Computational Fluid Dynamics, Combustion, Propulsion, Heat & Mass Transfer and Turbulence. Previously, he worked as a Professor at Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) and at University of Brighton, U.K. He also worked in the Research Division of Corning Inc. He earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Clarkson University, New York and B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from BUET.

visit author page


Tamara Chowdhury Alabama A&M University

visit author page

Tamara Chowdhury is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Alabama A&M University in Huntsville, AL. Mrs. Chowdhury has extensive background in teaching undergraduate students in the Department of Civil Engineering, and conducting research in mathematical modeling, flood map generation and environmental impact assessment using various softwares. She also worked for a multinational research organization for many years. Mrs. Chowdhury earned her MS in Civil engineering from Clarkson University, New York, USA and B.S. in Civil Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology.

visit author page

Download Paper |

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

Increasing Enrollment of Minority Women in Engineering


The percentage of African American Engineers in the national workforce is very low. Among them, the percentage of Female African American Engineers is significantly lower, double minority, which generates a real concern and needs immediate attention.

This paper investigates the participation of women engineers, particularly minority black women engineers in various courses in the Department of Civil Engineering and Department of Mechanical Engineering at Alabama A&M University. The female students were found to be only approximately 20% of the undergraduate engineering students. The average grades received by the male and female students in various undergraduate courses in both the Civil and Mechanical engineering departments were calculated for comparison. The women student average grades in most cases were better than their male counterpart, which demonstrates that they are capable of studying engineering along with the male students, if they choose so.

To explore the cause of low attendance of female students in engineering, as an assessment tool a survey instrument was developed, and was completed by women students of both the Civil and Mechanical engineering departments. The survey results were analyzed and data for both departments were compared. Based on the survey results various social aspects including general tendency of women to study liberal arts, misconception about engineering, lack of proper math and science courses in high school, etc were identified, which causes low participation of women in engineering.

In order to increase the enrollment and retention of women in engineering programs, a survey tool was also developed and completed by the undergraduate Civil and Mechanical Engineering students. The study shows that certain facilitating conditions including scholarship, summer internship, awareness generation about the benefits of engineering education, increased levels of self-confidence development, desire to study technical education, etc are required. This paper shows that by implementing certain pre-conditions, the enrollment of minority African American Women Engineers can be significantly increased which will lead to a balanced workforce and improve the national economy.

Chowdhury, S., & Chowdhury, T. (2007, June), Increasing Enrollment Of Minority Women In Engineering Paper presented at 2007 Annual Conference & Exposition, Honolulu, Hawaii. 10.18260/1-2--3051

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: © 2007 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