June 28, 1998
June 28, 1998
July 1, 1998
3.635.1 - 3.635.4
Women in Engineering Scholars Program
Mary Aleta White, Stephanie Blaisdell, Mary Anderson-Rowland Arizona State University
Introduction Women continue to be seriously underrepresented in engineering graduate programs. In Fall, 1996, women accounted for only 19.2% of the masters students and 16.2% of the doctoral students enrolled in engineering programs (Engineering Workforce Commission, 1997). A recent survey found that only 44% of students majoring in engineering their freshman year were still in engineering their senior year. Women and minority students were more likely to switch out of engineering than men and majority students (Astin, 1996). Additionally, the transition from undergraduate to graduate programs is one of three critical points in a woman’s engineering education (Betz, 1994).
While many programs seek to facilitate women’s entry into engineering there are few programs which encourage women to pursue graduate degrees in engineering. Programs are needed to bridge existing retention programs for undergraduate women with retention programs for graduate women in engineering. These efforts are likely to strengthen the pipeline of women entering academia.
By increasing the number of women obtaining graduate degrees in engineering, the number of available role models for women considering engineering will increase. Also, given that engineers with graduate degrees tend to exert more power and influence in industry, increasing the number of women with such degrees will help to create a more gender-inclusive environment. Finally, because some individuals earning graduate degrees in engineering remain in academia, increasing the number of women earning such degrees with help to create a more gender-inclusive environment in engineering, especially in graduate programs.
Women in Engineering Scholars Program The National Science Foundation-funded Women in Engineering Scholars program is designed to encourage more women to pursue graduate degrees in engineering. The Scholars Program is administered through the Women in Applied Science and Engineering (WISE) Program, in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) at Arizona State University.
The Scholars program aims to increase participants' self-efficacy for attending graduate programs in engineering and to increase the visibility of women in graduate programs, thereby helping to create a more gender-friendly environment. Self-efficacy is defined as one's belief about how well she or he can perform a given task or behavior (Bandura, 1977). The Scholars
White, M. A., & Blaisdell, S. L., & Anderson-Rowland, M. (1998, June), Women In Engineering Scholars Program Paper presented at 1998 Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington. https://peer.asee.org/7532
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