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Instructor And Student Perspectives On A Graduate Professional Development Course: Career Issues For Women In Engineering

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Conference

2010 Annual Conference & Exposition

Location

Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010

ISSN

2153-5965

Conference Session

Focus on Faculty

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count

28

Page Numbers

15.753.1 - 15.753.28

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/15934

Download Count

27

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Paper Authors

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Keisha Walters Mississippi State University

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Dr. Keisha B. Walters is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University. She received her B.S. degree in Biological Sciences from Clemson University in 1996 and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemical Engineering from Clemson University in 2001 and 2005. Dr. Walters’ research involves the development and surface modification of stimuli- responsive and bio-inspired polymeric materials. She has been a member of ASEE since 2002.

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Soumya Srivastava Mississippi State University

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Soumya K. Srivastava is a Ph.D. Candidate in Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University. She received her M.S. from Illinois Institute of Technology and B.S from R.V. College of Engineering (Bangalore, India). Her research involves building lab-on-a-chip devices for medical diagnostic applications under the direction of Dr. Adrienne Minerick. Soumya is an active member of AIChE, AES, ASEE, SWE, and Sigma-Xi.

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Adrienne Minerick Mississippi State University

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Dr. Adrienne Minerick is an Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at Michigan Technological University having recently moved from Mississippi State University. She received her Ph.D. and M.S. from the University of Notre Dame and B.S. from Michigan Tech. Adrienne is an NSF CAREER Awardee and was the faculty advisor for MSU’s NOBCChE chapter. Her research is in medical microdevice diagnostics & dielectrophoresis.

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Jacqueline Hall Mississippi State University

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Jacqueline I. Hall received a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Mississippi State University in 2006. She is currently a Ph.D. Candidate at MSU in Chemical Engineering and scheduled to graduate in May 2011.

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Kaela Leonard Michigan Technological University

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Kaela Leonard is a third-year Ph.D. student at Michigan Technological University having just recently transferred from Mississippi State
University with her advisor, Dr. Adrienne Minerick. Her research interests are the areas of electrokinetics and microfluidics as they
relate to medical microdevices.

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Amy Parker Mississippi State University

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Amy Parker is a Ph.D. Candidate in the Dave C. Swalm School of Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University. She received her B.S. degree in Chemical Engineering, also at MSU, in 2005. She is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), American Chemical Society (ACS), Sigma Xi, and the Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA).

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Heather Thomas Mississippi State University

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Heather Thomas is a graduate student at Mississippi State University. She received B.S. degrees in Biochemistry in 2002 and in Chemical Engineering in 2007 from MSU, and will complete her M.S. in Chemical Engineering this year. Heather’s research focuses on the life cycle assessment (LCA) of wood pyrolysis. She is a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), Air & Waste Management Association (A&WMA), and Sigma Xi.

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

Instructor and Student Perspectives on a Graduate Professional Development Course: Career Issues for Women in Engineering

Abstract

A discussion-based professional development course was developed and taught in Spring 2009 to a diverse group of female chemical engineering graduate students. The goal of this course was to assist the students in their professional growth by providing the opportunity for open discussion (group and one-on-one settings) combined with constructive and positive feedback. The students guided the course content and were active participants in the class discussions. Course structure and content are presented along with the tangible outcomes. The perspectives of the instructor and the students are presented side-by-side and offer a view of the effectiveness of a course geared towards increasing the students' career success. Self-examination and discussion brought to light many common issues and concerns faced by female engineering students. Pre/post course assessments of the targeted course outcomes showed a positive change in the students' knowledge, attitudes and habits, as related to professional development. Some of the strongest student-perceived changes over the course duration were focused around graduate program planning, the job search process, work-life balance, conflict resolution, and negotiation. Tangible outcomes included curriculum vitae, Gantt chart for progression through the graduate program, academic application packet materials, and outreach activities targeted to prospective and first-semester graduate students. The course was considered to be a success by the instructor and students, and can be used as a model for the implementation of similar courses within engineering departments or colleges.

Introduction

In 2006, total U.S. graduate school enrollment in engineering was 123,041 students with 27,944 (22.71%) female students1. A National Science Foundation (NSF) survey showed that the number of doctoral degrees earned annually by men in engineering fields almost tripled from 2,370 in 1978 to 6,164 in 2008. The number of doctoral degrees earned by women increased from 53 (2.2%) to 1,688 (21.5%) over the same time period, a 10-fold change over 30 years2. These numbers lag dramatically behind the life sciences where females earned 52.9% of doctoral degrees in 20083. For chemical engineering, in 2006 there were 7,261 graduate students in 2006 of which 2,159 (29.73%)1. A slightly lower percentage of graduated female Ph.D. chemical engineers was recorded at 24.7% in 20083. The influx of female graduate students into engineering fields is a very positive sign. However, the numbers of female engineers entering top-level academic and industrial positions have been sluggish to respond to the increasing numbers of female Ph.D. graduates. In 2006, 10.8% of tenured/tenure track faculty in engineering were women (0.7% in 1979) and female full professors were only 5%4. NSF published a report entitled “Gender Differences in the Careers of Academic Scientists and Engineers: A Literature Review” that concluded that the “body of literature we reviewed provides evidence that women in academic careers are disadvantaged compared with men in similar careers. Women faculty earn less, are promoted less frequently to senior academic ranks, and publish less frequently than their male counterparts”5. So, even women who earn Ph.D. degrees and obtain similar positions as men are not achieving pay, promotion, and career success

Walters, K., & Srivastava, S., & Minerick, A., & Hall, J., & Leonard, K., & Parker, A., & Thomas, H. (2010, June), Instructor And Student Perspectives On A Graduate Professional Development Course: Career Issues For Women In Engineering Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. https://peer.asee.org/15934

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