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Strengthening The Engineering Pipeline One Field And One Woman At A Time: The Role Of Single Discipline, Single Sex Engineering Camps In The U.S

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2010 Annual Conference & Exposition


Louisville, Kentucky

Publication Date

June 20, 2010

Start Date

June 20, 2010

End Date

June 23, 2010



Conference Session

Women in K-12 Engineeering & Outreach Programs

Tagged Division

K-12 & Pre-College Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

15.1102.1 - 15.1102.19



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Paper Authors


Sharnnia Artis The Ohio State University

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Sharnnia Artis is a Post Doctoral Researcher in the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University (OSU) where she conducts research in engineering education with a focus on engaging women and under-represented populations. Prior to joining OSU, Dr. Artis worked as a Human Factors Engineer in the private sector. She received a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech.

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Ruth Friedman The Ohio State University

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Ruth E. Friedman is the Assistant Director for Outreach with the Women in Engineering (WiE) program at The Ohio State University. Prior to joining WiE, she was the editorial associate for the peer-reviewed journal Reading Research Quarterly. In addition, she has worked as a grants writer for the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and as an assistant coordinator for Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. Ms. Friedman has a B.A. and M.A. in English from Wellesley College and Northwestern University, respectively.

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Glenda LaRue The Ohio State University

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Glenda P. La Rue is the Director of the Women in Engineering program at The Ohio State University (OSU) where she oversees programs to recruit and retain women engineering students and also outreach to K-12 students to introduce them to the exciting career opportunities in engineering. Ms. LaRue joined OSU in 2003 after working over ten years as a water resources engineer. She received a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Virginia Tech and is a licensed Professional Engineer in the State of Ohio.

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Strengthening the Engineering Pipeline One Field and One Woman at a Time: The Role of a Single-Discipline, Single-Sex Engineering Camp


The shortage of women in technology-related education programs has led to a national shortage of workers, costing the high tech industry an estimated $4 billion a year (CCAWMSETD, 2000). Consequently, the field of chemical engineering parallels this trend. In 2002, 16.5% of chemical engineers in the workplace were women (U.S. Department of Labor, 2002). In light of the escalating need to increase the number of women in chemical engineering, The Ohio State University’s Women in Engineering program (WiE) offered its first single-discipline pre-college summer program, CheME & YOU @ OSU.

CheME & YOU @ OSU is a six-day, residential camp for rising ninth-grade girls designed to introduce young women to chemical engineering. By focusing specifically on the need for more women in the chemical engineering pipeline, CheME & YOU @ OSU moved away from the traditional multi-discipline engineering camp to a single-discipline camp. As a result, the focal point of this paper is the development and assessment of a single-discipline engineering camp. First, the authors discuss the content, goals, and structure of a single-discipline engineering camp and the need for assessment tools that collect immediately useful data as well as data to produce meaningful program evaluations over the long term. Next, the paper provides a summary of the development and implementation of the four assessment tools (i.e., pre-camp student questionnaire, activity evaluation cards, post-camp student questionnaire, and post-camp parent/guardian questionnaire) used for the camp. Drawing on the data collected during Year 1 of CheME & YOU @ OSU, this paper reports results on attitudes toward and awareness about chemical engineering. Lastly, the paper concludes with a discussion of the prevalence of single- discipline engineering pre-college summer programs and the role that this type of program currently plays in the growth and development of the engineering pipeline at the authors’ home institution.


In the U.S., the economic growth, military capabilities, and living standards depend heavily on innovation, science, and technology1. To advance further in these areas and to thrive in a global economy, the U.S. will have to rely on engineers and companies to develop innovative and high value-added products and services, as well as improve productivity through the use of technology-based tools. While other countries such as China, India, and Singapore produce twice as many engineers as the U.S., there are currently over 300,000+ U.S. technology-related jobs that remain vacant due to the lack of qualified workers. This discrepancy highlights the country’s urgent need for a stronger engineering pipeline if the U.S. is to remain competitive in the global markets.

Given that engineering jobs are among the hardest to fill in the U.S., the demand for qualified engineers far exceeds supply2. To address this shortage, many educators, researchers, and

Artis, S., & Friedman, R., & LaRue, G. (2010, June), Strengthening The Engineering Pipeline One Field And One Woman At A Time: The Role Of Single Discipline, Single Sex Engineering Camps In The U.S Paper presented at 2010 Annual Conference & Exposition, Louisville, Kentucky. 10.18260/1-2--16469

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