New Orleans, Louisiana
June 26, 2016
June 26, 2016
August 28, 2016
Minorities in Engineering and Women in Engineering
ASEE Diversity Committee
The Women Undergraduates in Electrical and Computer Engineering (WIECE) Summer Research Program was an intensive eight-week research program for women undergraduates in Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). Our goal was to build distinctive experiences that can propel female undergraduate students to enter graduate school.
1. Motivation. ECE is one of the largest engineering disciplines and it is also one of the oldest engineering disciplines dating back to the 1880s. ECE graduates make vital contributions to modern society through their work in various areas such as computer systems, medical imaging, robotics, and wireless communications.
There have been many efforts over the last three decades to draw more women into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. While impressive gains have been made in mathematics, statistics, biology, and chemistry, the participation of women in ECE graduate programs has historically been low. According to a 2012 study conducted by the American Society for Engineering Education, the percentages of master’s and doctoral degrees awarded to women in ECE are, respectively, 19.2% and 17.7%. At the author’s department, currently 4 out of 26 (15%) of master’s students and 6 out of 43 (14%) of doctoral students in are women. One out of eighteen faculty members in the department is women who is the author of this abstract. Therefore, the author organized WIECE attract more women into ECE graduate programs, thereby developing a more diverse science and engineering workforce.
2. Program Activities and Evaluation Two female undergraduate students in ECE were selected to participate in WIECE program. We carried on the following research activities, professional development activities, and well-around activities: (1) research activities: each WIECE student was associated with a specific research project and she performed research directly supervised by the author. The students attended weekly research meetings with author’s graduate students and attended research discussions and presentations; (2) professional development activities: the WIECE students were engaged in many aspects of professional development, including preparing for graduate school application, paper reading skills, professional writing skills, and presentation skills; (3) meeting ECE female graduate students: to encourage WIECE students to pursue graduate study, we organized a meeting to enable the participates to learn the climate in graduate school. During the meeting, they discussed important issues with current female graduate students in ECE, including, how to balance the life and graduate school? How to succeed in graduate school? Where do graduates go after they complete their degrees? (4) touring ECE research laboratories and facilities: to present various information on our graduate program in ECE, we organized a tour for WIECE students to visit various ECE research laboratories and facilities. For example, they visited the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering (CNSE) and worked there on Integrated Circuits (IC) chip packaging and testing with the author’s graduate students. Student surveys were conducted at the end of the program. The participants rated the WIECE favorably. They both agreed that WIECE helped them have a better understanding of what graduate school entails, strengthen their academic confidence and interest in graduate study.
Wang, J., & Gong, N. (2016, June), WIECE: Women Undergraduates in Electrical and Computer Engineering Summer Research Program Paper presented at 2016 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, New Orleans, Louisiana. 10.18260/p.27204
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