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Women Engineers in Entrepreneurship: An Alternative Pathway

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2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Columbus, Ohio

Publication Date

June 24, 2017

Start Date

June 24, 2017

End Date

June 28, 2017

Conference Session

Women in Engineering Division Technical Session 7

Tagged Division

Women in Engineering

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Paper Authors


Lesley Cremeans Texas Tech University

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PhD student in Higher Education Research and instructor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy at Texas Tech University.

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Audra N. Morse P.E. Texas Tech University

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Dr. Audra Morse, P.E., is a Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering at Texas Tech University. Her professional experience is focused on water and wastewater treatment, specifically water reclamation systems, membrane filtration and the fate of personal products in treatment systems. However, she has a passion to tackle diversity and inclusion issues for students and faculty in institutions of higher education.

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Women represent 50.2% of the US resident population and represent 12.9% of the Engineering workforce (NSF, NCSES, 2015). The underrepresentation of women in traditionally male-dominated academic programs and professions urge scholars to investigate strategies to attract, develop, and retain more females for future innovation and discovery (Balakrishnan & Low, 2016). The purpose of the Women Engineers in Entrepreneurship (WE²) program is to create an alternative industry pathway for females in engineering and computer science (CS) academic degree programs through entrepreneurship. The National Science Foundation recognizes the importance of developing entrepreneurial skills and knowledge in the new generation of scientists and engineers, and the skill set required to succeed are different from the skills needed for basic research (NSF, I-Corps, 2012). Entrepreneurship education and mentoring activities will provide scaffolding for the participants in terms of social capital in the field, self-confidence, and entrepreneurship identity formation. Engineering is constructed as masculine, and women must create an identity independent from the gender frames that construct engineering as belonging to men. The paper will explore the literature on identity formation of female students in engineering and summarize external data on the impacts of entrepreneurship education and real-world application on identity formation.

Cremeans, L., & Morse, A. N. (2017, June), Women Engineers in Entrepreneurship: An Alternative Pathway Paper presented at 2017 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Columbus, Ohio. 10.18260/1-2--29136

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