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Piloting an Undergraduate Engineering Mentoring Program to Enhance Gender Diversity

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

EMD 2: Issues in Engineering Management Education

Tagged Division

Engineering Management

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Paper Authors


Elizabeth Hart University of Dayton

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Beth Hart is a Lecturer for the University of Dayton School of Engineering Dean’s Office. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Dayton, both in Chemical Engineering. She currently teaches engineering design and oversees the Women Engineering Program, part of the Diversity in Engineering Center.

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Andrea Mott University of Dayton

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Andrea Mott is a graduate student studying Renewable and Clean Energy at the University of Dayton. She received a Bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering and concentration in Energy Systems from the same university. Her primary focus is energy assessments and carbon neutrality studies for mid-sized manufacturing plants in Ohio and commercial buildings across campus. In addition to her field of study, she coordinated the first year of the WISE Mentoring Program connecting freshmen women in STEM to upperclassmen peer mentors.

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Sandra L. Furterer University of Dayton

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Dr. Sandy Furterer is an Associate Professor at the University of Dayton, in the Department of Engineering Management, Systems and Technology. She has applied Lean Six Sigma, Systems Engineering, and Engineering Management tools in healthcare, banking, retail, higher education and other service industries, and achieved the level of Vice President in several banking institutions.
She previously managed the Enterprise Performance Excellence center in a healthcare system.

Dr. Furterer received her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering with a specialization in Quality Engineering from the University of Central Florida in 2004. She received an MBA from Xavier University, and a Bachelor and Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Furterer has over 25 years of experience in business process and quality improvements. She is an ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer, an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence, an ASQ fellow, and a certified Master Black Belt.
Dr. Furterer is the Vice Chair of publications and editor of the ASQ Quality Management Division Forum.

Dr. Furterer is an author or co-author of several academic journal articles, conference proceedings and 4 reference textbooks on Lean Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma and Lean Systems, including her latest book: Lean Six Sigma Case Studies in the Healthcare Enterprise by Springer publishing in 2014. She is a co-editor for the ASQ Certified Quality Improvement Associate Handbook (2020), and the ASQ Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence Handbook (2020).

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Many female undergraduate Engineering students struggle during their first and second years of college with finding their place and questioning whether they belong in Engineering. It has been shown that mentoring programs can help encourage women to stay in STEM. The purpose of this study is to implement a women in science and engineering mentoring program within the STEM disciplines at the university. The focus of the initial pilot mentoring program includes: 1) orientation to the program, networking, community building and defining the program’s goals; 2) understanding the imposter syndrome and strategies for dealing with it; 3) networking with female STEM faculty; and 4) professional advice and career paths. The initial mentoring program design was developed through two Lean Six Sigma projects, where they collected voice of the customer (mentors and mentees) data, and designed the program. The program was piloted in Fall 2019, spearheaded by the Women Engineering Program in the School of Engineering, the director and a student graduate assistant. The success of the pilot program was assessed in three ways: 1) number of mentor/mentee pairs starting the program, compared to the initial number interested; 2) retention of women in engineering and science during the program periods; and 3) through mentor and mentee reflections. In the initial voice of customer data collection, we identified 14 possible mentors, and in the pilot program, we had over 40 mentor/mentees pairs for the program. This program will provide mentorship to women engineers throughout their college career as well as support them for a career in engineering in the workplace.

Hart, E., & Mott, A., & Furterer, S. L. (2020, June), Piloting an Undergraduate Engineering Mentoring Program to Enhance Gender Diversity Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--35058

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