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Towards a Global Virtual Community of Female Engineering Students and Professionals: II. Overview of Leadership Camp for Liberian Undergraduate Women Studying Engineering

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2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


New Orleans, Louisiana

Publication Date

June 26, 2016

Start Date

June 26, 2016

End Date

August 28, 2016





Conference Session

International Division Technical Session 6

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Sara P Rimer University of Michigan

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Sara P. Rimer is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. She works with Professor Nikolaos Katopodes in the area of computational modeling and control of fluid flow in civil infrastructure systems. She is also pursuing a Certificate in Engineering Education Research and a Certificate in Computational Discovery and Engineering from the University of Michigan Rackham Graduate School. She received her B.S. in mechanical engineering and mathematics from Central Michigan University in 2010. She is supported by a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a University of Michigan Rackham Merit Fellowship, and a Michigan Institute for Computational Discovery and Engineering Fellowship.

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Sahithya Reddivari University of Michigan

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Sahithya is a Ph.D. candidate in environmental Engineering at the University of Michigan. Sahithya’s research focuses on modelling chemical reactions that cause capacity loss in lithium ion batteries. Sahithya graduated from Manipal University, India in 2010 and received her master’s degree from the University of Michigan in 2012. Outside of research, she enjoys teaching, traveling and desserts. She has been teaching the fluid mechanics lab for the past year and loves working in the lab, troubleshooting experiments and working with students. Sahithya is also working as an Engineering Teaching Consultant for CRLT Engin. She is an active member of GradSWE and has developed a number of STEM outreach programs in elementary schools around Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, as a member of the GradSWE officer board.
Sahithya presently works with female engineering students in Liberia, helping them start a Society of Women Engineers student chapter in Liberia, West Africa (Blog). She is developing a leadership camp for female engineering students from the University of Liberia and the University of Michigan in collaboration with the Society of Women Engineers and the University of Michigan. She is also working on an engineering education research project – Towards a global network of women engineers, as part of her endeavors in Liberia.

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Aline Cotel University of Michigan


Elizabeth Frances Cloos Dreyer University of Michigan

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Elizabeth Dreyer is a 4th year Electrical Engineering – Optics doctoral student at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, MI. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering in 2012 from Michigan Technological University in Houghton, MI. She is particularly interested in Optics & Photonics and the expanding applications of such in industry. In general, she wishes to change the world through thoughtful application of photonic technology and human connection. Her current goals include obtaining a PhD in the optics field, traveling the world, and helping optics become a core industry of the State of Michigan.

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A two-week residential leadership camp was carried out in Liberia this past August by five U.S. graduate students for thirty Liberian and give U.S. female undergraduate engineering student participants. The goals of this leadership camp were twofold: (i) to empower the Liberian and U.S. women engineers with the skills, support, and inspiration necessary to becoming successful and well-rounded engineering professionals; and (ii) to strengthen the community of female engineers in Liberia by building cross-cultural partnerships among female engineering students resulting in a global network of women engineers. The leadership camp was developed based on continued collaboration between the U.S. and Liberian Society of Women Engineers groups; their identification of specific Liberian engineering undergraduate women’s educational needs; and studies emphasizing and elucidating needs specific to female undergraduates in Liberia, and moreover, undergraduate students in war-torn countries. This paper will present a programmatic overview of this camp. Additionally, this paper will present preliminary data gathered by semi-structured interviews and focus groups with Liberian undergraduate engineering women on the need for and benefit of such an international community.

Rimer, S. P., & Reddivari, S., & Cotel, A., & Dreyer, E. F. C. (2016, June), Towards a Global Virtual Community of Female Engineering Students and Professionals: II. Overview of Leadership Camp for Liberian Undergraduate Women Studying Engineering Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27063

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