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Undergraduate Women in Science and Engineering Mentoring Program to Enhance Gender Diversity Demonstrates Success During the COVID Pandemic

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2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual Conference

Publication Date

July 26, 2021

Start Date

July 26, 2021

End Date

July 19, 2022

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 1

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors

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Lauren Drankoff University of Dayton


Sandra L. Furterer University of Dayton

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Dr. Sandy Furterer is an Associate Professor and Department Chair at the University of Dayton, in the Department of Engineering Management, Systems and Technology. She has applied Lean Six Sigma, Systems Engineering, and Engineering Management tools in healthcare, banking, retail, higher education and other service industries, and achieved the level of Vice President in several banking institutions. She previously managed the Enterprise Performance Excellence center in a healthcare system.

Dr. Furterer received her Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering with a specialization in Quality Engineering from the University of Central Florida in 2004. She received an MBA from Xavier University, and a Bachelor and Master of Science in Industrial and Systems Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Dr. Furterer has over 25 years of experience in business process and quality improvements. She is an ASQ Certified Six Sigma Black Belt, an ASQ Certified Quality Engineer, an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality/Organizational Excellence, an ASQ fellow, and a certified Master Black Belt. Dr. Furterer is the Vice Chair of publications and editor of the ASQ Quality Management Division Forum.

Dr. Furterer is an author or co-author of several academic journal articles, conference proceedings and 4 reference textbooks on Lean Six Sigma, Design for Six Sigma and Lean Systems, Lean Six Sigma Case Studies in the Healthcare Enterprise. She is a co-editor for the ASQ Certified Quality Improvement Associate Handbook (2020), and the ASQ Certified Manager of Quality / Organizational Excellence Handbook (2020).

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Elizabeth Hart University of Dayton

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Beth Hart is a Lecturer for the University of Dayton School of Engineering Dean’s Office. She received her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Dayton, both in Chemical Engineering. She currently teaches engineering design and oversees the Women Engineering Program, part of the Diversity in Engineering Center.

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Many female undergraduate Engineering students struggle during their first and second years of college with finding their place and questioning whether they belong in Engineering. It has been shown that mentoring programs can help encourage women to stay in engineering fields. The University started a Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) mentoring program in Fall 2019, and continued it through the pandemic, during the Spring and Fall 2020 terms. The purpose of this study was to assess the impact of the first three semesters of the WISE mentoring program on engagement and satisfaction, as well as retention and GPA of women within the program, compared to a control group of women who did not go through the program. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the success of the program was also assessed. The program was designed to implement one-on-one peer mentoring within the WISE program, incorporate mentoring cohort activities, and provide networking opportunities with faculty and students in engineering and science disciplines. Virtual mentoring activities were also incorporated during the pandemic. The program was facilitated by a graduate student in engineering. The initial cohort in Fall 2019 had a total of 44 pairs of women consisting of freshmen mentees paired with upper class mentors within the WISE program. Despite the pandemic and incorporating virtual mentoring meetings, 50 pairs of students joined the mentoring program in Fall 2020, an increase of nearly 14%. Most of the women (82.5%) who were part of the mentoring program rated their partnership as a 3 out of 5 or better. The GPAs of the women in the mentoring program, and those who were not were not significantly different.

Drankoff, L., & Furterer, S. L., & Hart, E. (2021, July), Undergraduate Women in Science and Engineering Mentoring Program to Enhance Gender Diversity Demonstrates Success During the COVID Pandemic Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference.

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