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Engineering School Enrolls Highest Number of Women Yet

Engineering School Enrolls Highest Number of Women Yet

When the Women in Engineering Program (WEP) first began at UT in 1991, the goal was to recruit and retain more female engineers. Twenty-two years later, the University’s mission to increase women’s enrollment in engineering with engagement initiatives remains a top priority. And according to the latest Cockrell School of Engineering enrollment statistics, it’s working.

Out of the fall 2013 class, 29 percent of the Cockrell School’s 1,161 students are female, which represents a record high. Female enrollment has seen a steady increase over recent years. The Cockrell School of Engineering reported 23 percent of undergraduates were female in 2012 and 2011, while 22 percent were in 2010 and 2009.

“We know that the more diversity there is in the [engineering] workforce, the more the solutions there are,” says Tricia Berry, director of the WEP. “We want to ensure such diversity in the student body as well.”

Initiatives at the Cockrell School to increase gender diversity include a mentorship program, precollege outreach programs, and numerous student organizations. Berry believes these efforts have been successful because they increase excitement and connection for students.

No other college in Texas has an organization equivalent to WEP. And of the 80 engineering student organizations on UT’s campus, 35 have female presidents.

“We are changing the stereotype,” Berry says. “This changes the thinking of who can be a good engineer and scientist. It embraces creativity of all kinds. Without diversity, we’re not going to have solutions that we need out there.”

Photo courtesy Dave Wilson via Flickr Creative Commons.

 

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