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Women In Applied Science And Engineering: How Diversified Programming Increases Participation

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Retention: Keeping the Women Students

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1324.1 - 7.1324.9



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Paper Authors

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Shawna Fletcher

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Dana Newell

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Mary Anderson-Rowland

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

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Session 1392

The Women in Applied Science and Engineering Program: How Diversified Programming Increases Participation

Dana C. Newell, Shawna L. Fletcher, Mary R. Anderson-Rowland

Arizona State University


Over the past seven years, the Women in Applied Sciences and Engineering (WISE) Program in the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS) at Arizona State University (ASU) has developed successful retention programs increasing one-year retention rates by more than 8% since 1993. However, in the fall of 2000, only 113 of the 880 female undergraduate students were actively involved in WISE programs. By the fall of 2001, over 400 female students were actively involved, an increase of 254%! The drastic improvement in student involvement can be directly attributed to a diversity of programming provided for the first time since the WISE program’s inception. This vision was actualized by the hard work of a dedicated staff that has a goal of reaching 50% of all the undergraduate wo men in the CEAS at ASU by fall 2002, approximately 470-500 students. In addition, the student SWE organization sponsors activities for its membership.

The paper describes programs utilized prior to the fall of 2001 and the new programs added in fall 2001 which include: Wise Match, a program designed to pair lower division engineering students with upper division engineering students with a twist: activities such as scuba diving are linked to engineering; Study Groups facilitated by WISE staff members; the Women’s Wellness Series consisting of three workshops per semester and supported by the Southwest Institute of Healing; Community Service Programs including a Walk for Hope and a program in collaboration with Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Central Arizona; ArtVentures in Engineering, a collaborative partnership between the WISE Program and the Katherine K. Herberger College of Fine Arts at ASU; and WISE Engineering Residence Hall events.

By expanding the retention programs to include activities that involve engineering and are female focused, WISE has been able to increase participation dramatically.

I. Introduction

According to recent studies, female students encounter such barriers as lack of self-confidence, ineffective learning environments, lack of female role models in science-related fields, and Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright © 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

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Fletcher, S., & Newell, D., & Anderson-Rowland, M. (2002, June), Women In Applied Science And Engineering: How Diversified Programming Increases Participation Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11225

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