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On The Recruitment Of Female Students To The Systems Engineering Department At The U.S. Naval Academy

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Conference

2001 Annual Conference

Location

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Publication Date

June 24, 2001

Start Date

June 24, 2001

End Date

June 27, 2001

ISSN

2153-5965

Page Count

12

Page Numbers

6.761.1 - 6.761.12

Permanent URL

https://peer.asee.org/9622

Download Count

62

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Paper Authors

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Jr., Richard O'Brien

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Jenelle Piepmeier

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

Session 3592 On the Recruitment of Female Students to the Systems Engineering Department at the U.S. Naval Academy

Jenelle Armstrong Piepmeier, Richard T. O’Brien Jr. U.S. Naval Academy

Abstract

The Systems Engineering Department at the U.S. Naval Academy is seeking to increase the number of female students enrolled in the major. Currently, female students comprise 7% of the 336 Systems Engineering majors as compared to 19% of engineering students nationally. This distribution is not surprising within the unique environment of a military service academy because women comprise only 15% of the total student body. Given the high caliber of the student body, it is believed that a number of female students who possess the ability to succeed do not choose an engineering major. The authors seek to identify the reasons capable female students are not choosing the Systems Engineering major. Enrollment numbers from the Naval Academy and its peer military and civilian institutions are compiled to quantify the under representation of female students in Systems Engineering and engineering in general. This paper proposes several recruitment strategies for use at the U.S. Naval Academy and peer institutions. These strategies are based on the results of a discussion session with the junior and senior female Systems Engineering majors and the unique factors that affect the students in choosing a major at the Naval Academy. The authors conclude that effective recruitment methods should provide positive role models for prospective female engineers, but that these recruitment efforts should avoid obvious reference to gender.

1 INTRODUCTION In the recent Land of Plenty report of the Congressional Commission on the Advancement of Women and Minorities in Science, Engineering and Technology Development [1], the commission concluded that America needs to cultivate more diversity among students and professionals in science, engineering, and technology to maintain a competitive edge in these fields. At the collegiate level, there are a number of female students who possess the ability to succeed in engineering but do not choose an engineering major. The goal of this paper is to assess the current state of gender diversity within the Systems Engineering department at the United States Naval Academy (USNA) and develop appropriate recruitment strategies.

An important first step in assessing gender diversity within a department is an understanding of the campus climate. All Naval Academy students, men and women, are called midshipmen, which is a rank between chief warrant officer and ensign in the Navy. A midshipman first class is a senior, second class a junior, third class (youngster) a sophomore, and fourth class (plebe) a

Proceedings of the 2001 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright (c) 2001, American Society for Engineering Education

O'Brien, J. R., & Piepmeier, J. (2001, June), On The Recruitment Of Female Students To The Systems Engineering Department At The U.S. Naval Academy Paper presented at 2001 Annual Conference, Albuquerque, New Mexico. https://peer.asee.org/9622

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