Crystal City, Virginia
April 29, 2018
April 29, 2018
May 2, 2018
Diversity and Gender
There is an increasing need for more STEM graduates in the United States. It has been shown that the dearth of women majoring in engineering fields has much to do with female students feeling out of place in the male-dominated field. Building a community where female engineering majors can come together may be a way to alleviate some of those feelings. This paper highlights some of the strengths and opportunities for improvement in a living-learning community (LLC) at a State University. The Women in Science and Engineering Residence (WISER) program is an LLC for female, sophomore engineering majors. Aside from a common residence hall, this program also offers tutoring, community service events, leadership opportunities, and social activities. Five students were interviewed and asked questions about their experiences in WISER. Four major themes were identified. The first theme was Social Engagement. Though the students do appreciate the social events offered to them by their departments and through WISER, they would like more events that are exclusively for WISER students. The next theme was Mentoring. The WISER team members have been available for their students’ personal, professional, and emotional needs. Professional Development was the third theme. The students feel that professional development workshops and informational sessions have prepared them for their personal, professional, and academic goals. The last theme addressed was Difficulties of Being a Gender Minority. Many of the issues that women in this program face stem from not being heard or feeling like their opinions are not valued. This paper will also present suggestions for improving the experiences of female engineering students based on our findings.
Rucks, M., & Orr, M. K. (2018, April), The WISER Experience: Supports and Opportunities for Improvement Perceived by Female Engineering Students in a Living-learning Community Paper presented at 2018 CoNECD - The Collaborative Network for Engineering and Computing Diversity Conference, Crystal City, Virginia. https://peer.asee.org/29586
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