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Retention Analysis of Women Engineering Students

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2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


San Antonio, Texas

Publication Date

June 10, 2012

Start Date

June 10, 2012

End Date

June 13, 2012



Conference Session

Retention of Women Students

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

25.1128.1 - 25.1128.16



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Paper Authors


Ann M. Blasick Georgia Institute of Technology

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Ann Blasick earned her B.S. in mechanical engineering from Wilkes University and M.S. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Tech. After working in industry for Lucent Technologies and Nortel Networks, as well as in the non-profit arena for several years, she returned to Georgia Tech in 2005 as an Assistant Director in the Division of Professional Practice, advising co-op and internship students. In August 2011, she transitioned to her position as Associate Director of the Women in Engineering Program within the Georgia Tech College of Engineering.

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Christine Valle Georgia Institute of Technology


John D. Leonard II Georgia Institute of Technology

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John Leonard is Associate Dean in the College of Engineering and Associate Professor in civil and environmental engineering at Georgia Tech.

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Retention Analysis of Women Engineering StudentsThere has been recent attention given to the issues of retention of women and under-represented minorities in engineering. Most analyses are based on data collected atmultiple institutions and seek to derive general conclusions across a very diverseselection of universities and student population, without ‘drilling in’ with much depthregarding what mechanisms may be at play from year to year when students decide toleave engineering altogether. One interesting result of such surveys that hasn’t beenexplored in much depth is the fact that most engineering students take 5 years tograduate, even though the curriculum is based on 4 years to graduation.In contrast, this study seeks to analyze retention rates at a single institution, the GeorgiaInstitute of Technology, from year to year. Georgia Tech (GT) graduates more engineersand more women engineers than any other institution in the United States, so the numbersthere are large enough to provide meaningful data. Also, the College of Engineering atGT is currently rated 5th in the nation, and therefore quite selective. Yet, the dataindicates GT is more successful at retaining engineering students than the nationalaverage – though similar to the national studies, most GT engineering students take 5years to graduate. This study aims to determine whether this extra year is due to workexperience (co-op, internships) or living abroad experience (study or work), gained whileat school – all unquestionably valuable experiences that make for a better roundedengineer – rather than because the curriculum is too difficult for students to successfullynavigate in 4 years.

Blasick, A. M., & Valle, C., & Leonard, J. D. (2012, June), Retention Analysis of Women Engineering Students Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--21885

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