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Recruiting and Retaining Women Engineers: An Analysis of a Successful College Program

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2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Seattle, Washington

Publication Date

June 14, 2015

Start Date

June 14, 2015

End Date

June 17, 2015





Conference Session

Civil Engineering Division Technical Session 8

Tagged Division

Civil Engineering

Tagged Topic


Page Count


Page Numbers

26.1315.1 - 26.1315.14



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Paper Authors


Andrea L. Welker Villanova University

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Dr. Andrea L. Welker, PE, is a professor in the department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Villanova University. Dr. Welker teaches a variety of geotechnical undergraduate and graduate classes, including soil mechanics, foundation design, geoenvironmental engineering, and geosynthetics. Her research focuses on the geotechnical aspects of stormwater control measures and the use of recycled materials in plastic pipes. In addition to teaching and performing research, she is the assessment chair and study abroad advisor for her department, the freshman director of the Civil Engineering Division for ASEE, and is the chair of the Continuing Education Committee for the Geo-Institute.

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Kathleen Louise Nazar


Paul Bonfanti Villanova University

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Paul Bonfanti is the Director of Planning and Policy Analysis for Villanova University. In that capacity, he performs quantitative and qualitative research and analysis for the University to inform policy and support strategic decision making. He also serves as an adjunct faculty member in the University's Department of Public Administration, teaching Non Profit Management and Research and Analysis.

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Recruiting  and  Retaining  Women  Engineers:  An  Analysis  of  a  Successful  College   Program  AbstractIn recent years, the percentage of women graduating nationally with a Bachelor of Science inCivil Engineering (BSCE) has been about 20% to 25%; however, there is a huge disparity in thepercentage of women graduating from school to school. At ___ University, the number ofwomen graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering has been 33% over the pastthree years, which is above the national average. This paper seeks to explore why thisdepartment has been successful in recruiting and retaining women by analyzing the New StudentSurvey data collected by the University. Answers that were shown to be statistically significantfor women will be examined in detail. A preliminary analysis revealed that women, more so thanmen, were drawn to the opportunity to study abroad and become involved in service activities.Women were also drawn to the library facilities and suburban location of the campus. In additionto analyzing survey data, focus group discussions with women within the program will be usedto obtain more in depth information on why women selected and remained in the program. All ofthe results will be placed into the context of the existing literature on recruiting and retainingwomen in engineering majors.  

Welker, A. L., & Nazar, K. L., & Bonfanti, P. (2015, June), Recruiting and Retaining Women Engineers: An Analysis of a Successful College Program Paper presented at 2015 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Seattle, Washington. 10.18260/p.24652

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